A review of “The Powerpuff Girls Movie” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ** 1/2

Rating: PG for mildly intense action

Run Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

 

 

Sugar and spice and everything nice, plus a tincture of Chemical X, is the recipe for an exuberant, but ultimately aimless, Powerpuff Girls extravaganza.

The Powerpuff Girls – Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles – are the criminal guardians of the mythical City of Townsville.  How were these popular legends born? At the hands of Professor Utonium, of course, whose magical touch with chemical compounds results in three, adorable kindergartners with less-than-lovable super-powers.

Eagerly soaring, swooping, and utilizing their laser beam eyes for a spirited game of airborne tag, the playful Powerpuffs unintentionally wreak havoc in sleepy Townsville. Quick as a blink, the newest city members are transformed into a trio non grata. Despondent over their newfound reputation, the girls take matters into their own hands by joining forces with the evil, mutant-money genius Mojo Jojo (formerly Professor U’s lab assistant, the boho known as Jojo).  Naturally trusting, the girls fall for Mojo’s community-friendly plan of creating a super-machine that will “help the town and make it a better place”.

Not so quick, girls.  The dastardly Mojo enlists the Powerpuffs’ help for his own nefarious purposes, a master plan that will rain hurt and harm down on the innocent folks of Townsville.  Will the Powerpuffs come to their senses in time to save a city in peril?  Will their beloved Professor survive the devastation?

Based on the popular cartoon series of the same name, The Powerpuff Girls have a built-in fan base. The Powerpuffs themselves are animated classics – fetching little munchkins with enormous eyes lifted straight from a Margaret Keane painting. The misunderstandings that result from their mischievous antics are vastly affecting because of their sincere desperation to be liked. Indeed, it’s difficult to stay mad at the tiny darlings, even when they’re trashing everything in sight for the good of saving the world (before bedtime!).

First half of the film is a delightful tell-all about the origins of these sweet little beasts, complete with itsy-bitsy Puff-wear and charming domestic foibles.  Story loses its focus with the over-the-top antics of a manic primate rebellion that’s neither interesting nor appealing.  Cubist line drawings have a decidedly Japanese animation influence, and the futuristic landscape projects a hip, stylish feel.  For Powerpuff aficionados and virgins alike.