The Powerpuff Girls Movie (2002) — Because we were all kindergarten superheroes once

“You’re not evil, you’re just really dirty.”

Justin’s rating: Having an external brain is always off-putting to the ladies, no matter what you might have heard.

Justin’s review: As if I didn’t fear kindergarteners enough, now they’ve got super powers and flipper hands to mock me with.

I’ve got this funky relationship with the Powerpuff Girls. While I’ve only seen maybe three episodes, tops, it amused me (and fed my bite-sized entertainment gland with their little 10-minute stories). And in my quest to like every single thing in this world that is considered geeky and lame, I’ve been a consumer supporter of the show. I like using Powerpuff Girls stickers on correspondence: “Dear Tim’s Parents, I regret to inform you of your son’s untimely decapitation, but in sympathy, here’s a sticker of Bubbles using her crayons.” Also, I have Powerpuff Girls pillow covers, which confuses even my dog, who has long since been desensitized by my oddness.

I almost dragged myself to the theater on the opening day of The Powerpuff Girls Movie. Almost. While that might have been the single uncoolest thing I could’ve aspired to in this lifetime, I had visions of my cackling presence terrifying hordes of toddlers into colicky fits. So I meekly restrained myself to a rental, which still had my wife calling me a “weird fella” for doing so.

The Powerpuff Girls consist of Bubbles (the blonde, babyish one), Blossom (the fiery redhead), and Buttercup (the brunette rebel). In a freakish attempt to spawn asexually, a bachelor professor cooks these kids up in a cauldron, accidentally exposing them to CHEMICAL X in the process. Thus, this trilogy of tots emerge with no fingers or toes, eyes the size of dinner plates, and several superpowers that rival Superman. Or maybe duplicate his. I’m not sure what the copyright laws have to say about similar superpowers.

There’s an intrinsic level of sugary cuteness to the whole production, which is at best “aww”-inducing and at worst downright diabetic, particularly when the movie stalls to establish their feelings and relationships and all that. But seriously, when this movie kicks into high gear with its action sequences, you become a kid again, vicariously living through their kinetic rampage of glee and heroic desires.

No superhero is worth his or her salt weight in kryptonite without a decent supervillain to oppose all that nutritious goodness. Batman had the Joker, Yogi had the park ranger, the Trix bunny rabbit had those devil children, and the Powerpuff Girls have a monkey with an oversized exposed brain. Mojo Jojo is his name, and there is no monkey eviler. By tricking the girls, Mojo uses their help to devise a machine to take over Townsville by making more mutant monkeys. Four-word alliteration! That’s, what, 85 Scrabble points?

If you put up with the sometimes-plodding plot and origin stories, you’ll be repaid in spades once you get to the monkey hordes. Not content to just have Mojo and a flock of henchmonkeys, each of the mutant monkeys becomes a supervillain in their own right… and they endlessly list of each of them with their various powers. You got spitting monkeys, monkeys in a barrel, mecha-monkeys, bomb-flinging baboons, banana peel-placing apes, and so on. It’s chaos on a mass scale that hasn’t been rivaled since Gremlins 2! Once the girls decide to take no guff from a simian, the battle ensues.

It’s this battle that makes me, most of all, recommend this film to you. The hallmark of the Powerpuff Girls has always been gleeful mass destruction, and the whole shebang gels together perfectly. There’s even a hapless little dog that needs rescuing again… and again… and again. Buildings fall, people are flung like fleas abandoning a hairy mutt, and there is so many gratuitous explosions that it made me want to fall to my knees and weep in joy that I am alive to witness this pastel carnage.


So why not swallow your pride, march boldly down the children’s video aisle, brashly grab a copy of The Powerpuff Girls Movie, and then ask a loved one to check it out for you so that you might retain a shred of your dignity? Nothing’s stopping you, I say!

Didja notice?

  • The rating that popped on the screen at the beginning of the DVD said this film was rated “PG” for “Non-Stop Frenetic Animated Action”. I’m honestly not sure if the MPAA is being serious or joking here. I mean, “frenetic”?
  • Mojo was a cute monkey… before he became an evil monkey. Or maybe he was always evil?
  • Watching the car approaching the window (in mid-air) while the guy brags about it to a girl is worth a rewind-repeat
  • Monkeys don’t like having their picture taken, but do it for fun anyway
  • Baboon bombs
  • The dog peeing on the mechanical monkey hand
  • When Bubbles hugs a cute monkey to death
  • The newspaper reporting the girls “tag” disaster has a picture of Powerpuff creator and director Craig McCracken in the top corner.
  • The television scene which Mojo Jojo punches during the opening credit sequence displays an image from Craig McCracken’s student film Whoopass Stew!, which was the basis of the original The Powerpuff Girls series.
  • The date on the town’s newspaper is Wednesday July 3, 2002, the day that the movie opened in the USA.
  • Flying monkeys in the film resemble the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz. Also, one of the monkeys sings The Wicked Witch’s Theme (Played while the witch is riding the bicycle).
  • When giant Mojo Jojo rips open the side of the building he’s climbing with the Powerpuff Girls in tow, it shows the interior of the second floor of Cartoon Network studios with caricatures of the actual employees.
  • Look for the Sesame Street News logo (“News Flash” with cloud and thunderbolts) during the TV sequence.

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