Power Puff Girls


Gen X review powerpuff girlsMy name is Randy and I’m...

Work your way through it. You can do it.

That is, I like...

That’s it. Slowly. We’re here for you.

I like the Power Puff Girls!

But it wasn’t always like this, he adds hastily. My wife started me on the habit by turning the show on while I was reading The Horse magazine.

I’d catch a glimpse of Bubbles eating cereal or Blossom working on a coloring book while glancing over a full-spread centerfold shovelhead Harley or righteously butchered Triumph. I’d grunt disgustedly and return to my magazine. Some guy called Nails had chopped a mean-looking Bonnie and --

I glanced up at the television and saw a gleeful, evil little monkey in a cape. The thing smiled, tossed back its head and cackled: “It was I who did it -- Me! I am the one and no one else but me! I am the responsible party! Me, MOJO JOJO! Bwahahahahaha!”

That’s when Mojo Jojo entered my life. Mojo is the sinister monkey counterpart to the Power Puff Girls, a fantastic combination of Fu Manchu and Gleek from the Super Friends. I have always had a thing for evil little monkeys, as my poor nephews and nieces can attest to, and Mojo Jojo is the best evil little monkey in the world, bar none.

I was fascinated by Mojo and slowly drawn into the series. The art isn’t primitive so much as elemental. Like The Simpsons and Ren and Stimpy, the humor works on many levels and there’s actually a pretty sophisticated cultural critique running along the peripherals. Somehow edgy without resorting to fart humor or overt “hip” cultural references, the Power Puff Girls  are smart, sweet and marvelously retro.

An so it was that I dragged my wife to the opening of the new Power Puff Girls movie.

The movie retells the origin of the America’s favorite riot girrls and the Power Puff Girls have lost none of their cute appeal in the journey onto the big screen. When a lonely professor decides to make three sweet, little girls he forgets about the test monkey in his lab. As he adds the last ingredient to the mix -- which is comprised of sugar, spice and everything nice -- the monkey shatters a beaker of Chemical X and the laboratory explodes.

When the dust clears, Professor Utoniam discovers that he has succeeded in creating the girls and they are the gosh darn cutest little things... He names them Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup. Blossom is the unofficial leader of the group; Bubbles is the youngest, sweetest girl; and Buttercup is the feisty, dark-haired one.

The girls are everything the professor has dreamed of and more: The mysteriousChemical X has imbued them with strange and wonderful powers. They can fly, shoot laser beams from their eyes and are amazingly quick and agile.

However the experiment has also created the strange, super-intelligent Mojo Jojo. When the monkey was caught in the blast he too gained super powers! Yes, Mojo Jojo himself was caught in the explosion. It was he who was the one and he too then had super powers!

Ahem, yes, well...


Despite the fact that it was way cool to see my favorite evil monkey looming 50 feet tall, I was a little disappointed in the Power Puff movie. It simply wasn’t as funny, cute or charming as the best episode of the series. There are so few real funny moments that I won’t spoil them by recounting them here and although the girls have made the transition onto the big screen without so much as mussing their hair, there is a distinctive “small box” feel to the film.

Colorful, blocky characters look no more impressive on the big screen than on TV, so don’t expect any but the youngest children to be awestruck by the film. The action scenes are full of pizzazz, but very few people will marvel at this level of animation. The quaintness of artwork is what wins folks over, but projected onto a big screen it appears somehow manipulative, almost -- dare I say? -- kitschy.

Nothing new emerges from the film: No startling new information, no new enemies, and not a single novel idea. Mojo is very cool, of course, but the poor little guy can’t carry the film on his hairy shoulders.

For those who presume to be experts on the series -- which I’m definitely not, he adds, sounding just a little defensive -- the movie will seem rote and unexciting. Those who want to sample the girls would do better just to buy one of the many video tapes on the market or simply watch the show on Cartoon Network.

Sometimes sugar, spice and everything nice isn’t enough. Next time how about a feature-length biography on Mojo Jojo, eh?


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