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In the city of Townsville, the frustrated Professor Utonium is gathering all the ingredients to make a perfect little girl (sugar, spice, and everything nice). But when his lab assitant, a monkey named Jojo, causes the accidental addition of Chemical X to the mix, the Professor ends up with not one but 3 perfect, powerful little girls. It soon becomes obvious that Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup are not normal girls, they have superpowers and have not yet learned to control. The girls are treated like outcasts because they have inadvertently wrecked Townsville in a superpowered game of tag. To win the hearts of the people of Townsville, the girls are tricked into making a deal with Jojo who plans to take over Townsville. As the girls foil this threat and defeat an army of superpowered monkeys, the Powerpuff Girls learn that with great power comes great responsibility. Written by
Amidst a year of big eye candy live action movies that will make a ton of money and lame teen comedies that everybody but me seems to find funny, a movie like The Powerpuff Girls isn't likely to stand out. However, this fresh little charmer should be given more than just a fair shot. Sour disappointments like Attack of the Clones and Undercover Brother pale in comparison in many themes and elements to this bouncy, giddy movie.
Last year was a very good year for computer generated animated movies. For me, though, only Shrek wowed me. Monsters, Inc. was a good if fluffy entry from Pixar. Ice Age was also amusing but left a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth. And I don't even want to know about Final Fantasy. This year, it seems that low budget traditionally animated movie reign supreme. Two appear to be duds. Hey Arnold the Movie looks like very cheap, rank garbage. I'll reserve judgement on Spirit, but needless to say I won't be rushing out to see it until it's available for rent at a video store. Then along came Lilo and Stitch, and I was overjoyed. Never before have I felt so alive watching an animated movie. Now add this movie to the "good" pile. It's not Lilo and Stitch, but anybody who thinks that it's trying to be needs to have their brain re-wired.
Granted, you need to be a fan of the series to enjoy the movie. Or at the very least, you have to be open-minded and willing to check out what all the fuss is about. No doubt many critics will pick at the movie's "cheap animation". If you're looking for Disney style brilliance, watch another movie. The Powerpuff Girls has its own brand of style that I still find to be superior to flatly drawn, pandering animated movies like much of Don Bluth and fare like Ferngully. Unlike all of the other cartoons-turned-big-screen movies, The Powerpuff Girls is actually fun to look at. Many scenes are positively magical, some where the animation becomes more fluid than usual to suit the need, others that are a dizzying array of exciting camera angles and colors. In fact this movie is so hyperactive, you'll either go "WOW!" or "What?"
The scripting is a hundred times more well thought out than any of its "cartoon based movies" counterparts that came before, whether it's Transformers, Pokemon, or Winnie the Pooh with The Tigger Movie. The Powerpuff Girls is smooth and clean and never overstays its welcome. There are no cliches, no plot points that seem weird, no sudden changes in pacing and direction that plague many animated and live action movies. The characters are oddly endearing, and there are many moments of warmth and just feeling good. The relationship between the professor and the girls is strangely touching. Other moments are genuinely shocking, heartbreaking, and dramatic in a light kind of way. The climax is suitably ridiculous, with bad puns galore, but there is no shortage of excitement. There is also a running gag in this movie that is quite unexpected. Yet ultimately what makes this movie shine is what's buried beneath this cream puff movie, a message about accepting the gifts that make one special and unique as well as the importance of showing love to those that are shunned and deemed "freaks".
Fans of the series will notice that this movie is not as zany as most of the series' episodes or many of Disney's movies. Yet The Powerpuff Girls was a welcome surprise that I was initially wary of. It is a fresh, light-hearted, bouncy break from the mess that is 2002 and is quite the refreshing change from modern Disney. Go ahead and see Men in Black 2 if you want, but I, personally, would wait until Two Towers came out and skip everything else in favor of Lilo and Stitch and this movie. No, The Powerpuff Girls isn't going to floor you. But if Lilo and Stitch is this year's filet mignon, then The Powerpuff Girls is this year's peanut butter and jelly sandwich--simple, sometimes hard to swallow, but ultimately delicious.
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