The Powerpuff Girls - PG
Best for: Kids 7 to 10 and teens/adults.
The plot: Professor Utonium (voice of Tom Kane) realizes crime and apathy have hurt his hometown of Townsville, so he decides to invent three sweet little girls to make the town a better place to live. As Blossom (voice of Catherine Cavadini), Bubbles (voice of Tara Strong) and Buttercup (voice of E.G. Daily) are created, an outside component (Chemical X) accidentally spills into the mix, giving the three little girls huge heads, enormous eyes (that shoot lasers) and the ability to fly. At first the town welcomes the girls, but a destructive game of tag angers the people, leading to the professor's arrest for the girl's behavior. In an effort to repair the damage, the girls are duped into helping Jojo (voice of Roger L. Jackson) build a "Help the Town and Make It a Better Place" machine, which he promises will win the favor of the townspeople. But Jojo turns out to be an escaped primate from the professor's lab who wants to give the local zoo's primates superpowers. Once the girls realize their plan has backfired, they decide to destroy the power-hungry and newly named "Mojo," saving the professor and the city.
The good: It seems more and more television networks are promoting their shows in feature films (MTV, Nickelodeon and Disney have found great success in doing this). Now Cartoon Network has joined in with its feature length version of the animated TV show Powerpuff Girls and another short titled Chicken Scratch, based on the Cartoon Network show Dexter's Laboratory (Dexter wakes up with chicken pox and is told that if he scratches, he'll turn into a chicken.)
The bad: I'm not a fan of the Powerpuff Girls TV show, but I was hoping this movie would at least capture my attention. It didn't. Among the many things that annoyed or disappointed me were the '60s animation look, with its minimal visual appeal; the non-stop frenetic animated action; the annoying emotional outbursts from Bubbles and the disrespectful behavior and comments from Buttercup; a power-hungry Mojo/Jojo who turns out to be as irritating as he is menacing; an abundance of crude language, crude humor and disrespectful attitudes; and cartoon violence that I wouldn't choose to "entertain" my pre-schooler or younger child with.
I was surprised at how violent this cartoon movie turned out to be. The parental figure, Professor Utonium, has a good heart but, in my opinion, remains a sort of weird father figure. It's also interesting that there's no attempt to explain why there's no mother figure in their lives.
Offensive language and behavior: The language in this movie is a parent's worst nightmare. It's hard to believe that a kids' cartoon would have characters (especially little girls) saying things like, "God dang it," "Stupid," "I'm so hot," "You're a big, fat, dumb, jerk," "I'll kick your butt," "You darn dirty ape," and "Shut up." My sister would wash her kid's mouth out with soap if they repeated half of those things. Even in Chicken Scratch we see the character's backside and various crude behaviors.
Sexual situations: None, but the animated characters' tight-fitting outfits show thighs, a little bit of cleavage and several human and ape buttocks.
Violence: Lots of violent behavior and characters who get punched and pushed around. Mojo is scary looking and violent (his brain grows to an enormous size, he has a booming voice and large pointed teeth) as are the other primates that escape from the zoo and terrorize the town. There's lots of hitting, laser zapping, and adults and kids being terrorized and attacked by primates. Mojo/Jojo becomes enormous after injecting himself with Chemical X, and the girls attack him and repeatedly hit him as he tries to hit them back. He shoots spike-like objects at them and shoots fire down onto them.
Parental guidance: Even though this movie tries to teach a few lessons, they're overshadowed by the extreme amount of violence and the intense story. I don't recommend this movie for toddlers or preschoolers because of the loud and scary characters.
It's a wrap: Needless to say, I don't recommend this movie because of the violent themes, unattractive animation and unappealing characters. There were several teenagers and adults (without kids) watching this movie at the screening, but I can't for the life of me understand why anyone over 10 would find this movie entertaining or interesting. There are better ways to spend your time and money and better movies to see with your kids than this weak attempt to capitalize on a successful television series.
The Powerpuff Girls - PG