I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

The Powerpuff Girls

What this is about is hard to explain. It’s a cartoon about a professor who creates these three little girls. They have super powers to fly and shoot lasers out of their eyes and basically anything that pussy Superman can do. Only they have big round heads, giant eyes, and no fingers. And the professor is all made out of squares. At the same time he creates them in a laboratory accident he doesn’t know he also gives his pet monkey a giant brain. The monkey goes off to live in exile, plotting his revenge which involves monkeys and robots. Then there is fighting.

The Powerpuff GirlsYou can tell this is one of those cartoons that’s made by animators. I mean I guess by definition all cartoons are made by animators but give me a fuckin minute here man, jesus. I can explain. No need to get all worked up there bud. Give me the benefit of the doubt. etc. What I mean by that is, this is not a cartoon like “doug” or “arnold” or “thornberry movie” or “rugrats” or “stuart little” or “etc.” where they get a deal to make a movie, they don’t really know what they want exactly but they make some storyboards and then the animators are hired and they are happy to have a job on this as a stepping stone to actually getting a good job some day. The creative visions behind this are obviously full of passion and ingenuity and are clever artists, so most of the humor comes out of really good stylish drawings and ridiculous images like giant baboon robots shooting bombs out of their asses, or three cute little girls destroying the entire city while playing tag.

This is a cartoon style I have never seen in a movie before, very angular, cute designs with big thick outlines, and then it is incredibly violent so it borrows japanese anime techniques to pump up the adrenaline. I guess the tv show is what they call “the limited animation” invented as a deliberate stylistic device by the United Something that stars with P Animation company long ago and then given a bad reputation when it was taken on by Hanna Barbera as a lazy way to make tv shows. The movie uses that style to full advantage but also adds in shit I’m sure they don’t do in the tv like dramatic pans through the city, some fancy special effects and ridiculously detailed scenes like where hundreds of limp monkeys rain out of the sky. There are lots of monkeys in this picture which should help make it popular. Young people think monkeys are funny for some reason.

I believe this is a movie made for the little kids who say the names of all the characters when they come on the screen, for college kids and for the adults who come in by themselves, like me, and somebody thinks what is that guy doing here, is he a child molester. I’m not sure if it’s for the parents though because they mean it when they say it is “rated PG for non-stop kinetic cartoon action” and I’m not sure if most moms and dads will be happy that they solve all their problems by brutally killing hundreds, maybe thousands of monkeys, some of them cute. Although to be fair this probaly is not something most kids have the chance to re-enact. Except maybe Michael Jackson’s kids could do a smaller, more intimate version of some of the scenes, substituting a llama for the gorilla.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 4th, 2002 at 11:58 am and is filed under Action, Cartoons and Shit, Comedy/Laffs, Family, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

11 Responses to “The Powerpuff Girls”

  1. First of all, we should all take a second to acknowledge this review exists. From 2002 Vern no less.

    I didn’t watch the show regularly because I lived with Grandparents (as well as my mum), and wan’t really secure or confident enough at the time to explain to people who’d survived evacuation why their 12+ grandson was watching a show where a trio of cutsey flying toddlers punched Satan’s tooth out. But I always liked what I saw, and now I live on my own I can watch THE POWERPUFF GIRLS MOVIE at my leisure, and isn’t that what being an adult is all about?

    Anyway I did, and I’m glad. Funny, charming and violent; my kind of movie! Maybe if he hadn’t reviewed it in 2002 this would have been a Summer Fling, and it would have been a good one because in many ways this feels like it fits in more in 2017 than it surely could have then. Aside from the zeitgeisty aspect of a female superhero film, the sequences of the girls destroying the city, which unfortunately came a little too close after 9/11 for some then, feel now like a presumptuous parody of MAN OF STEEL, THE AVENGERS etc, and the consequences, fallout etc are addressed with far more wit than BATMAN V SUPERMAN attempted. In fact if you showed this to someone who had never heard of the characters before, there’s a pretty good chance they would think it was made as a parody of the MCU and DCU.

    Two thumb-free-hands up!

  2. I remember doing a double-feature of this one and REIGN OF FIRE at the moving picture show.

    I learned to appreciate this one. When I first saw it I didn’t care for it as I felt it ditched too much of the comedy in favor of action/drama. I was surprised to learn on the 10th Anniversary documentary that McCrakken feels the same.* He said at the time he felt Cartoon Network was aiming the show too much towards girls, especially the merchandise, and he was getting aggravated with it because he felt it was a ‘for everyone’ show and decided to make the movie more a more ‘boy-centric’ taste. He doesn’t disown it or anything but he definitely feels they could have and should have done better. By the time I finally saw that documentary I had already learned to like the movie on it’s own divorced from the TV show. In that it is a pretty unique (animated) movie especially coming from a big studio in America.

    Also I never thought about it in regards to post-MCU/DCEU and I gotta say I agree with Pacman2.0. It really does seem like it was made post both and it’s just McKrakken and his animators taking a piss out of the both of them!

    *Funnily same thing happened to me with NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND. When I first saw it I thought it was only okay and thought the ending was a cop-out. Years later I was reading ‘Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation’ by Helen McCarthy and learned that Miyazaki hated the ending he came up with for the movie (his comic was still going on at the time and thus it has a different ending). I later later learned to like/love that one as well, helped when you finally watch the original uncut version and not the cut poorly dubbed version from the ’80s.

  3. I liked the POWERPUFF GIRLS cartoon as a kid, but by the time this came out I felt like I was too old and didn’t see it in theaters, which looking back I regret as I still have never seen it.

    What I liked about POWERPUFF GIRLS was it did indeed feel like a ‘for everyone’ show.

    I wonder, was this the only Cartoon Network show to get a theatrical movie? I wonder if STEVEN UNIVERSE will get one.

  4. Griff: If you want to see the movie in it’s original aspect ratio you have to import the Australian DVD as our DVD is full-screen only (originally there were going to be two DVDs released: one for kids and one for ‘fans’ but after the movie tanked those plans where dropped and they dropped the for-fans special features in favor of the kid special features. Still has the audio commentary though).

    Also yes, this is the only Cartoon Network Studios movie to make it to theaters. They were actively developing a SAMURAI JACK movie (along with a live action one that Brett Ratner was attached to) but those plans were dropped after this one tanked (live action one just got stuck in development hell). The plot for the cartoon JACK movie got expanded and tweaked and turned into the season 5 that aired on Adult Swim earlier this year.

    Please note, Warner Bros did this one no favors. They skimped on the advertising and released it right in the middle of a busy summer schedule (also opened it opposite MEN IN BLACK II) so it seems it was destined to failed. There supposedly were still guys behind the scenes at Warner Bros. who still didn’t think they should be releasing cartoon movies (one of the reasons, supposedly, IRON GIANT was sent to die in theaters).

    As cartoons continue to be a major force at the box office WB may feel the urge to pump out movies based on current CN movies. Especially because all their in house movies bomb and only THE LEGO MOVIE did really good/up to expectation. I remember them announcing an ADVENTURE TIME movie for theaters but I haven’t heard anything on it in a while. They actually just announced a TEEN TITANS GO! movie a few days ago. So we may be seeing a STEVEN UNIVERSE movie actually. GUMBALL is still going. WB might be waiting to see how those string of Nikelodeon-based movies announced go before they pull the trigger on their CN movies.

  5. A theatrical STEVEN UNIVERSE movie would be fucking amazing.

    STEVEN UNIVERSE also has that POWERPUFF GIRLS thing going where it appeals to both boys and girls equally, it’s clever when a show is able to pull that off.

  6. I don’t know why I never saw the movie. I was a huge fan of the show during its original run. It was one of the earliest crossover hits, that appealed to little girls, grown up animation lovers, “serious” critics and stoners. (Not saying there wasn’t anything like that before, since for example PINKY & THE BRAIN was also a hit with different demographics of all ages.)

    That new show that they did a while ago? I never saw a full episode, it’s not nearly as good as the original, but I gotta give credit to the people responsible for the German dub, because they used the original voice actresses, instead of new ones.

  7. There’s going to be a theatrically released TEEN TITANS GO! movie next summer and I am totally excited about that, despite not getting particularly excited about movies anymore!

  8. Griff: I really liked STEVEN UNIVERSE. I wouldn’t say no to a movie version.

    CJ: I went into the new one with an open mind or at least as much I could and it’s just lol random dreck trying to be TEEN TITANS GO! 2.0. #notmyppg Way to go for you Germans on getting the OG actors for the girls though. I don’t mind the new actors and I don’t think it’s right to hold anything against them but it is shitty of the producers wanting to save a few bucks or whatever their reasons for not going with the OG actors.

    Romans: TEEN TITANS GO! is such an odd beast. I should hate it as some one who grew up with NEW TEEN TITANS and even enjoyed the prior cartoon. I don’t. I mean I think it’s horrible 90% of the time, 9% it’s at least trying to be clever, then there’s that 1% of the time where they are actually really good (the one where they become serious and the one with the clown from their childhoods). So I don’t know. I’m past bitching about a new version of something from my childhood not being like “mine” so clearly little kids are enjoying it and good for them! If we refuse to give them any art that’s new at least they can have their own wildly different take on our hand-me-downs.

    Please note all the above is going off IF I were one to watch cartoons, which I clearly am not as I am a cool dude and such.

  9. geoffreyjar; I don’t think the UK DVD has the commentary :( I quite enjoyed the “For Kids” extras though, especially the “interview” with Blossom where she says “I take inspiration from all the female superheroes like Wonder Woman, and She-Hulk, and, err… Wonder Woman”. It’s a shame the reboot really does seem so lame, it is a concept and series that seems it would suit the times perfectly.

    Another amusing bit I forgot to mention; there’s one bit I’m pretty sure is a parody of the Schumacher Batman “gearing up” sequences!

  10. Pacman: As far as I know ONLY the US DVD (which again is full screen 1.33) has the audio commentary track.

    I forgot about the cast interviews, yeah the Bubbles one where she is accidentally exposing how female superheroes are slim pickings was funny.

  11. I feel like the audience being catered to by the makers of Teen Titans GO! is somehow specifically me. Whoever I am, I am their target demographic. Maybe I just like superheroes with!s in their name, but it’s the funniest thing since Freakazoid! for me.

Leave a Reply





XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <img src=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <b> <i> <strike> <em> <strong>