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  The Powerpuff Girls Movie  
  Warner Brothers  
  Craig McCracken  
Animation Director:
  Genndy Tartakovsky  
  Cathy Cavadini, Tara Charendoff, E.G. Daly, Tom Kenny, Roger L. Jackson, Tom Kane  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:



It’s been a long road for the Craig McCracken/Genndy Tartakovsky team, starting out with a few cartoon one-offs about a silly girl who loves to dance and generally annoy her brainy little brother, and another about a freakish backwoods monster who goes berserk when his meat jam fails to win over the judges at a crafts fair. Over the years, they have learned to refine the art of cartooning, plumbing the depths of the cartoons they love, to extract the best elements to "homage", and playing with those elements in a new form. Take the newest creation, Samurai Jack, on the Cartoon Network, a real gem of an animated feature. Or, take their latest offering, The Powerpuff Girls Movie.

The look and feel of the movie is definitely steps beyond what they felt comfortable with on the small screen. While they still keep the basic elements that give The Powerpuff Girls its own unique style, they are able to take the highlights of these elements and extend them out into something truly spectacular and enjoyable to watch. The story itself doesn’t try to be an epic or anything; it basically covers the first few days of the Powerpuff Girls existence, how Mojo Jojo got his volcano-top observatory, and the first time the Girls discover that they can be heroes with their powers.

But the movie really shines when it just lets itself go and lets the flow of the action direct the movie. For instance, one of the earlier sequences follows the girls during an out-of-control game of tag. During this whole scene, which itself is actually quite long, I was really into it, probably as much as I was during some of the dogfight scenes in Star Wars. The swooping and the colors and the expressions of the girls and the hapless citizens of Townsville really made this into something fun. The animation itself, at once a tribute to Japanese anime style and simplicity, takes the clean lines and stylization to a truly technically refined place, and lets the basic ideas shine in a way that might be tough to capture on the small screen. This might be a place for the people who watch the TV show who ask, “Why do they draw it that way?” to understand the real beauty of what the artists were trying to accomplish.

One nice thing about this movie is it doesn’t try to “work on two levels”. I think during the entire ninety minutes of the movie, there were maybe three or four jokes or references that you wouldn’t expect little kids to get. But for the most part, the things I thought were funny were the same things my ten-year-old fellow attendees thought were funny; the same things I thought were touching, they thought were touching; the same things I thought were cool, they thought were cool. It really shows what can be done with a simple approach to cartooning. It doesn’t try to out-Shrek Shrek or anything, and that’s nice. I can understand adult parents not wanting to watch an hour and a half of Happy Little Elves or something, but if you’re an adult and you don’t enjoy what a fun movie this is, you really take life too seriously. It’s okay if you don’t want to admit to other adults that you enjoyed this movie, just so long as somewhere inside of you, some part of your psyche is going “Swoosh! Swoosh! Pow!” And if you want to do that on the outside, around the parking lot after the movie lets out, well, that’s perfectly understandable too.

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