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  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    English, English - Hearing Impaired
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Featurette - Dexter's Laboratory - Chicken Scratch
  • Animated menus
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Interviews

The Powerpuff Girls Movie

Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . COLOR . 71 mins . PG . PAL


With a trio of leading lassies as utterly adorable as Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup, The Powerpuff Girls couldn’t fail. Shooming to great popularity seemingly within nanoseconds of hitting the Cartoon Network, the inevitability of a movie-length series of exploits was seemingly ensured – and sure enough, here it is.

Rather than being an elongated, standard episode of the cartoon series, The Powerpuff Girls Movie takes the opportunity to let us into the beginnings of this fabulous threesome of perfect little girls – acting as almost a prequel of sorts to all which has ensued. We get to witness how Blossom – the smart, but not boring, brains of the outfit redhead who is by far the acest (hey, us carrot tops have to stick together!) – Bubbles, the cutie-pie blonde who’s more hardcore than you may think and Buttercup, the brunette with ‘tude to spare – entered the world, all thanks to the somewhat blockheaded (that’s physically, not mentally) Professor Utonium (a forward thinking man who looks back) and his recipe of sugar, spice, everything nice – and a touch of Chemical X thanks to a somewhat klutzy simian lab assistant.

Meanwhile, the city of Townsville is in a dilly of a pickle. With crime running rampant its inhabitants have lost all hope, unless, of course, they can find a true hero. But who can save their bacon (and assorted other perishables for that matter)? Well “duh!” say the masses, The Powerpuff Girls! Ah, but this is a prequel, remember?

So, meanwhile our three gorgeous little tykes learn the joys of kindie, where they also discover the sheer heaven of the game of tag. Unfortunately their array of superpowers – the ability to fly (leaving gorgeous pink, blue and green vapour trails in their wakes), hyper-strength, ultra-biffoness – you know the stuff – leads to them getting somewhat carried away, and after tearing up the town leaving a wake of unintentional but devastating devastation they are shunned by society as a whole – despite their utter cuteness! The Professor is locked up, and the girls are left to fend for themselves. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, what are they going to do?


After being hoodwinked by new big bad on the block Mojo Jojo (remember that simian assistant of the Professor?), as a trio of kindred spirit outcasts the girls unwittingly help the ape with the rather chunkified brain set things up for his typically predictable bad-guy attempt at world domination. But when all manner of monkeyfied hell is set loose on the hapless city of Townville - powered-up primates, super-simians, maniacal monkeys, amplified apes, chunked-up chimps, gargantuan gorillas, over-blown orang-utans... you get the deal – our threesome of gorgeous heroines realise they have an opportunity to prove to their town’s denizens that they’re really good widdle girls. Ah, but can they defeat the mighty Mojo Jojo, who, with thanks to an OD of Chemical X, has pumped himself up to a size which would have Arnie whimpering in the corner vowing never to be back? Will they gain the towns-folks’ trust? And will they be home in time for beddy-bobos?

Unlike the majority of kiddie fodder cartoons which pollute the airwaves nowadays, The Powerpuff Girls is one of those rare little beauties which offers up just as much for adults to enjoy as the kids. After all, for starters how many children’s toons nowadays can boast references to W.C. Fields and Planet of the Apes? With an eye to style ranging from simply gorgeous character design – three big-eyed little cherubs with sausage-like limbs and melon-like heads – to stunning art-deco inspired backgrounds and a general melange of classic animation styles dating back to the ‘20s, The Powerpuff Girls Movie oozes a certain care in its creation that’s sadly lacking in most all of its contemporaries – and, despite its surprisingly brief sub-71 minute running time, delivers more characterisation, sometimes alarmingly superb artistry and engrossing good-versus-evil, outcasts make-good-storyline than many supposedly more worthy offerings given primo screen-time in our cinemas in recent years.


Bursting forth with glorious colours of both the pastel and day-glo varieties, The Powerpuff Girls Movie comes up a veritable treat on DVD. Slightly cropped to 1.78:1 from its cinematic ratio of 1.85:1 (note to distributors – STOP DOING THIS OR WE’LL LET LOOSE A WHOPPEROUS CAN OF WHOOP-ASS ON YOU!), apparently taken directly from computer to master things are pretty much as pristine as you would hope with this 16:9 enhanced transfer, leaving us with only a couple of slight whines. Whilst detail is superb, including within the film’s darker moments (remember, this isn’t simple primary coloured kiddie fodder), there are odd examples of haloing as well as that dreaded juddering on pans at times. Still, these are minor quibbles in what otherwise is a pretty fine, artefact-free effort. Elsewhere, seeing as the main presentation is so gosh darned brief, there’s no layer change to get hot and bothered about, so in all on a scale from Limp to Totally Hardcore, this scores a Quasi-Hardcore.


The Powerpuff Girls in Dolby Digital 5.1 – kick ass! And, indeed, this mix certainly does. With super use of the rears for everything from ambience to in-your-face effects, and a subwoofwoof which kicks in with great eagerness on many an occasion, this is how a production like this was made to be heard. What more can be said? Well, if you really wish to be a stickler then you may be keen to know that the usual caveats for cartoons apply synch-wise – however most of us will just go “duh!” and move on...

...to the soundtrack. James L. Venable provides a wonderful score; using the orchestra at his disposal to great effect for everything from ominous chords to beautifully orchestrated musical support, then chucking in a touch of hyper-frenetic drum’n’bass styled electronica to keep things interesting. Add to this the wonderful end credits tune from sadly defunct Scottish squeaky-popsters Bis, plus an outing for one Mr Frank Black (once of The almighty Pixies) and there’s much more than your average kiddie-fodder, soundtrack CD-pushing load of pseudo-musical cack at play here. The soundtrack rating? Totally Hardcore!


A fabulous animated introduction leads to menus which see Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup shooming about until a selection is made. If that selection happens to be 'Special Features' then a few enticing extras are on offer...

First up are cast interviews (9:38 in all), which see our three favourite gals plus Mojo Jojo and the Mayor pulling up comfy armchairs for a spot of interrogation. The girls get to speak of their inspirations (well, perhaps that should be singular?), exploits and even romantic interests, whilst the big bad MJ proves a bit of a difficult interview. The Mayor, meanwhile, is his usual absent-minded self, speaking of the joys of mayoring and pickles before giving way to some screen time for Extra Guy. It’s all done with a languid tongue planted firmly in cheek, and is all the more entertaining for it.

Behind the scenes gives us a disappointingly brief (like a mere 4:06) peek you know where, featuring interview snippets with series creator Craig McCracken, composer James L. Venable and a selection of the voice talent. Flashing briefly between the story, voices, music and the actual movie, we are treated to some bona fide glimpses at what goes on to bring a cartoon to the big screen, including a bravura performance from Roger L. Jackson, voice of Mojo Jojo.

Next up is a feature which can claim its only real link to The Powerpuff Girls as being a shared home at the Cartoon Network. An episode of the somewhat Ren & Stimpy-like Dexter’s Laboratory entitled Chicken Scratch (6:13, 1.78:1 enhanced, DD 5.1 sound) sees the rather voluble Dexter at the mercy of strange protrusions that us more normal folks know as chicken pox. Can he stop scratching before turning into a skanky evil chooken?

Rounding out the somewhat meagre selection of extras is a theatrical trailer, which clocks in at a trifling one minute (1.78:1, Dolby Digital stereo), but does entertain, featuring the dulcet tones of The Guy Who Does Trailers with a fun take on the whole cartoon-hits-the-big-screen thing.

And that’s it – how non, non, non, non, non- well, kind of a little teensy bit Hardcore.


If you’re looking for a kiddie distraction that won’t have you smothering yourself in a cushion or clambering for the liquor cabinet then rejoice – you can now stop looking as the anti-Disney is here. Despite its brief running time, The Powerpuff Girls Movie is an absolute animated gem deserving of a darned sight more respect than it has been given, ‘cos it rocks so hard – and if you don’t agree then tag, you’re it! (BWAH-HA-HA!)

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      And I quote...
    "This is HARDCORE!!!"
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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