The Powerpuff Girls Movie
The Powerpuff Girls Movie 2002
As Father’s Day was winding down, I decided that I wanted to watch a movie with my daughter that we could both enjoy. I’m sure most people who grew up in the 90’s remember Cartoon Network’s lineup including Genndy Tartakovsky’s Dexter’s Laboratory and Craig McCracken’s Powerpuff Girls. What you may not know is that in 2002 they went back and created an origin story which they showed in theaters. It’s not too surprising as it came out the same day as Men in Black II and was largely forgotten, though it has often been shown on the channel since then. It’s sugar, spice, and everything nice, with a little dash of Mojo Jojo mixed in for good measure. It’s a lot of fun, and irreverent even though there’s not a whole lot of depth to it.
If you somehow have never heard of the Powerpuff girls, it’s three kindergartners who have superpowers but at the same time are still little girls being taken care of by their surrogate father slash creator Professor Utonium. This movie also includes the origin of one of the girls’ most popular villain, the giant brained monkey Mojo Jojo. I didn’t realize it before I watched this movie but I had seen it before many years ago on TV, and I have seen most of the episodes of Powerpuff Girls so I’m quite familiar with the format and the movie sticks to it fairly closely, albeit with a larger budget, something I really only noticed when it came to the giant reflective globe in the middle of town which comes into play a couple different times.
As far as the comedy goes, it helps that it comes from several different avenues. There’s obviously just the basic concept of these tiny, young girls having such enormous power, while at the same time still being little girls. For example the epic game of tag. It’s such a simple idea that nearly everyone has played at one point in their lives, but when it’s played by three naive, superpowered girls, it results in massive destruction on a Man of Steel level, but at the same time there’s also the completely relatable moments like “no tag-backs!” There’s also the pop culture humor, which my favorite is after Mojo Jojo’s plan of creating dozens of superpowered, superintelligent simians results in a town full of megalomaniacal apes with their own plans for domination, Buttercup at one point loses it and yells out “Get your hands off me you darn, dirty, apes!” There’s also some other more subtle references that comes with some of the Mojo apes.
Aside from the humor and action beats, there is an actual plot which goes in some slightly unexpected places if you’re a fan of the series to begin with. Mojo Jojo’s origin turns out that he was the professor’s lab assistant and instigated the accident which created both the Powerpuff Girls and himself as he is now. The girls are rejected by the town after their destructive game of tag and are fooled into helping Mojo Jojo and end up in a brief self-imposed exile before eventually returning to save the day. While it never goes very deep, it’s more than just a surface story. And while it does have some somber moments, it never really comes close to tugging on the heartstrings like Up or even the Lego Movie is able to do.
What this movie does get right is the action scenes, both the epic game of tag and the final battle with the dozens of monkeys and apes are a real treat to watch. Mojo Jojo was always my favorite villain from the show and this is a great showcase for his brand of theatricality. Whether he’s being one-upped by his own army of monkey minions or destroying the town as a giant King Kong sized monkey he is always a treat on screen. I have a hard time trying to think of a better way to spend Father’s Day myself than watching this movie, though I do have to admit that unless you were a fan of the show, or you have a kid of your own to watch it with, there’s not a whole lot to dig into as an adult. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.