Powerpuff Girls, The
The Powerpuff Girls Movie tells the story of how three little girls, literally created of sugar, spice and everything nice--and a little ''Chemical X'' for good measure--go from virtually destroying the city of Townsville during a game of tag to saving it from an evil cadre of large-brained mutant monkeys.
When Professor Utonium (voiced by Tom Kane) creates Bubbles (voiced by Tara Strong), Blossom (voiced by Cathy Cavadini) and Buttercup (voiced by E. G. Daily), he's as excited and proud as any new parent. Then they start to fly around the room. From there, we're treated to several scenes of ''growing up Powerpuff,'' from their first peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (crusts cut off using infrared vision) to their first day at the Pokey Oats School (they learn to play tag and destroy the town doing it). When the townspeople see the destruction the girls have wrought, they imprison the professor, print nasty newspaper headlines (''Freaky Bug-Eyed Weirdo Girls Broke Everything'') and vow to get those pesky kids. Disillusioned and depressed, the outcast girls find solace and sympathy in an alley with a hobo named Jojo (voiced by Roger L. Jackson), who assures them in no uncertain terms that he is in the same boat. ''Alas, little ones,'' he says, ''I do not rock.'' But Jojo does have a plan: With a little help from the girls, he'll build a machine that will make everything better--and the townspeople will like them again. In a life lesson on why you shouldn't talk to strangers, the girls believe him, and so they end up using their powers to help him achieve what is actually a diabolical goal--to take over Townsville using an army of mutant simians. Once the girls realize the error of their ways, they battle Jojo (who's now calling himself ''Mojo Jojo'') and his army of monkeys, attempting to save the world before bedtime--and to earn the trust of the townspeople.
The squeaky-clean voices of actors playing the Powerpuff Girls seem perfectly suited to the bug-eyed, fin-fingered creatures; they're somehow innocent and experienced at the same time, especially Daily's Buttercup. Strong's Bubbles certainly does bubble, and Cavadini's Blossom imparts the steely resolve that makes her the leader of the pack. For comic punch, though, the monkeys really steal the show--Jackson's Jojo is supreme evil animated, and he lets you know it. Kane's ability to perfectly capture the tone of a 1950s elementary school documentary voiceover should not go unnoticed, either.
When Professor Utonium set out to create some little girls, he didn't mean for them to have super powers. It just kind of happened when a little ''Chemical X'' got thrown into the mix. The same could be said of director/screenwriter Craig McCracken's final product: It's not a great film--even by kids' film standards--especially compared to the original TV show. It's slow in key places (the game of tag is interminable, and the monkey battles go on and on), and kids will probably lose interest quickly as a result. But there are a few ''X'' factors that make it interesting for both kids and grownups, as long as they can be persuaded to keep watching. First, monkey jokes. The monkey army that Mojo Jojo attempts to lead is full of sneaky tricks for obliterating the town and wresting control from Jojo, including baboon butt bombs, the ''sauce of chaos'' and a barrel that rolls over things in the street, including people and a dog that looks suspiciously like Snoopy. Second, Planet of the Apes references. Buttercup rails at one of the chimps to ''get your hands off him, you darn dirty ape!'' Third, a mayor with an obsession for large green pickles sold from a cart: he's bizarre and slightly disturbing, but nonetheless entertaining.
The Powerpuff Girls Movie will entertain the kids who already love the original Cartoon Network television show, but anyone else will be more restless than a barrel of monkeys.