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The Powerpuff Girls, the Movie

I Saw The Powerpuff Girls Movie and All I Got Was This Lousy Epileptic Seizure

Two or three years ago, as the Girls were still emerging onto the pop culture scene, I was holding my breath for their first movie. I used to sit in my office humming the theme song to myself all day; I even had a little chair dance I would do in front of my computer. I was obsessed with these three girls. They were everything good and cool about TV.

But I had to stop holing my breath eventually (even film critics, despite their superhuman wits, have limits). And now the Girls are rolling onto the scene amid the fourth Pokemon Movie (Pokemon 4 ever! who would have thunk it?) and God only knows how many from Nickelodeon (it's up around a dozen I think). And while the competition is paltry at best, The Powerpuff Girls don't quite punch it up enough.

Sigh!


The Pros:
The sound track is cool and pumping, they have re-vamped almost every original PPG tune into something a little more clubby, which works well with the theater's surround sound. The action is hard and fast, just as in the show, only with a feature format you can spend as much time as you want showing an ass whupping, so the fight and action scenes are longer, cooler, and more campy. The girls are as giggly and bubbly as ever; Mojo Jo-Jo is conniving and evil, and well deserving of the cum-uppens that you just know he's gonna get. It's almost exactly what you'd expect from a show like The Powerpuff Girls.

The movie is derived from a thoroughly charming show, with some of the best, most clever writing in cartoons today (trust me, I've been keeping tabs). Some of that wit has carried over to the movie, no small feat as, even with the best of them, a cartoon movie based on a show usually manages to be either totally for kids, or a tad too adult, and entertaining for very few. But the writers of the movie have stayed true to form in timing and absurdity. I don't know why but I'm still cracking up at the idea that there's a company called Olive Corp (the world largest Olive manufacturer, of course) which has a sky scraper in Townsville topped by a gigantic metal olive with a cocktail spear running through it.

Or the headline in the paper, after the girls have played a particularly energetic game of tag: "Freaky Bug Eyed Weirdo Girls Broke Everything." Or Buttercup's beautifully delivered 'At least I have a bed' speech. Or the idea of having a point in the movie where it will rain dead monkeys. Call me hopelessly immature, but the humor in the movie, much like with the show, is terrific.


The Cons:
Unfortunately there isn't nearly enough of it. The movie basically ends up as nothing more than an 85-minute long episode. Which would be fine if it was one of the really, really good episodes. Instead it's one of the kinda-sorta-clever episodes. This is a let down to those of us who like the show, but for those of us dragged there unwittingly it may be interminable (Michael, I'm so sorry).

My one big issue with the movie, the thing that let me down the most, is that none of the girls' characters are explored all that well. Anyone who watches the show knows that these three girls have individual personalities that can be quite deep and thoughtful at times. The ways they interact with each other, and with the professor, their different methods of battling monsters, the fact that Bubbles speaks Spanish. All of these are subtle nuances that the writers of the show have been adding deftly over the years. Unfortunately very little of their personalities make it across to the big screen, and we see nothing more that the basic personality stereotypes: The Cute One, The Bossy One, and The Lesbian.


Ratings:

Cuteness: Four Care-Bears: Cheer Bear, Funshine Bear, Hugs Cub, and Share Bear (does it get any cuter?)
No one can ever deny how cute the Powerpuff Girls are. Especially Bubbles. Especially when she's drawing with crayons or hugging that damn octopus, or saying 'bunny!' So Cute!

Action: Three Schwarzeneggers
Much like the TV show, the action scenes are quick-fire and rapid-paced. There was even an "Epileptics Beware!" sign as I came up the escalator. It's not that violent (apart from the rain of dead monkeys), but there's a whole lot of ass kicking. And the tag scene is really cool.

Re-watchability: 2 ½ Frankenfurters
There is a good chance that this movie might achieve cult status, it's bad enough, but good enough at the same time. More importantly, most of the humor happens so quickly that it will probably take two or three viewing to actually see it all.

Overall: 2 ½ Freaky Bug Eyed Weirdo Girls
Parents and children may have a different take on the movie, but die hard fans who are looking for something to rival watching Mojo-Jo Jo eat breakfast or Buttercup refuse to take a bath are going to be fairly disappointed, not totally disappointed, just a little bit. However, that doesn't mean they shouldn't see it anyway. I mean, if you're choices are this or Mr. Deeds, that is no hard call.


Wr. Charlie Bean, Lauren Faust, Paul Rudish, Don Shank
Dr. Craig McCracken
Str. Cathy Cavadini, Tara Strong, Elizabeth Daily, Roger L. Jackson, Tom KaneNow Playing Everywhere… but only before bedtime (seriously, no shows after 8 PM)

-- Carter Edwards



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