The Powerpuff Girls Movie

2002, Movie, PG, 90 mins

Review

POWERPUFF GIRLS MOVIE, THE
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The popular Cartoon Network series gets the big screen treatment, following in the lucrative little footsteps of HEY ARNOLD! THE MOVIE and the RUGRATS films. While some adaptations don't capture the charm of the small-screen originals, the film's screenwriters — including series creator Craig McCracken — opt for a prequel approach. It details the history of the Powerpuffs' creation and rocky road to becoming the cutest crime fighters in the known universe, rather than concocting a 90-minute mega-episode pitting pint-sized superheroines Bubbles (voice of Catherine Cavadini), Blossom (Tara Strong) and Buttercup (E.G. Daily) against villains galore. A downtrodden Professor Utonium (Tom Kane) is fed up with the miscreants who run rampant in Townsville. He decides that by combining the classic ingredients sugar, spice and everything nice, he'll create little girls whom he can teach the difference between right and wrong. But an accident occurs and a dash of toxic "Chemical X" gets into the mix. Instead of sweet, normal girls, Professor Utonium finds himself raising feisty grrrlz with laser-beam eyes and the ability to fly. The lasses emerge fully formed, with distinct personalities: Blossom is the outspoken, red-headed leader; blonde, blue-eyed Bubbles goes from giggles to tears at the drop of a hairclip; and green-clad Buttercup, the brunette, has anger management issues. In an attempt to raise his special daughters normally, the Professor enrolls them in Pokey Oaks kindergarten, where they wreak havoc during a schoolyard game of tag and leave mass destruction in their wake. Townsville's citizens are dismayed. The girls befriend fellow outcast JoJo (Roger L. Jackson), a monkey whose open cranium and exposed gray matter make him a pariah, but the diabolical ape tricks them into using their superpowers to further his evil plot to take over Townsville. An entertaining romp that stays true to the material's television roots, this film is a good starting point for viewers unfamiliar with the series. The action sequences are so franticly dizzying that they make RUN LOLA RUN look as though it unfolds in slow motion, and the simian puns (including the inevitable PLANET OF THE APES reference) fly fast and furious — adults will groan, and most kids in the movie's target age group won't even notice. The film is preceded by "Chicken Scratch," a new Dexter's Laboratory short (like the Powerpuffs, Dexter is a Cartoon Channel property) that brings a "Ren and Stimpy" sensibility to the subject of chicken pox. leave a comment --Angel Cohn

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