Genre: Animated feature
Opens: July 3
The Pitch: The Cartoon Network's triumvirate of kindergarten kick-ass comes to the big screen. When Professor Utonium sets out to create the perfect little girl, he accidentally mixes Chemical X in with sugar, spice and everything nice, creating three charismatic cuties blessed with astounding super powers but lacking discernable fingers.
Tag Line: Saving the world before bed time.
Money shots: The girls learn to play Tag in a high-energy tumble through Townsville, perhaps the most fun we've had watching a city's destruction since Independence Day.
Selling points: The movie, like the TV series, does a fine job parodying Saturday-morning superheroes and Japanese anime, while simultaneously paying tribute to both genres.
Fashion statements: The title heroines never stray from their understated, color-coded A-line dresses. While homeless, diabolical monkey Mojo Jojo sports brown paper sacks.
Product placement: Given the glut of Girl-powered tchotchkes already on the market, a cynical viewer might see the movie as one big commercial.
Celebrity Voices: None. Unlike your standard Disney knock-off, this caper sticks to the TV show vocalists and spares us another Michael J. Fox gig.
Hit Single: None. Again, the Cartoon Network jettisons the worn-out musical format and lets the drum 'n' bass battle music speak for itself.
Topical commentary: After the girls accidentally trash Townsville, a hilarious sequence features TV pundits venting on the issue, with one Bill O'Reilly-type asking: "Should the manufacture of super-powered girls be illegal?"
Best Line: Supervillain Mojo Jojo, on his plan to take revenge on mankind for its subjugation of lower primates: "The time has come to oppose that thumb!"
Worst line: The Mayor of Townsville, on the destruction of his favorite pickle cart: "This isn't kosher!"
Pop culture references: Once Mojo Jojo's true intentions come to light, the chimp jokes fly fast and free. Sit back and enjoy surprisingly funny allusions to barreled monkeys, King Kong, "Grape Ape" and Planet of the Apes (including Buttercup's command to Mojo: "Get your hands off him, you darn dirty ape!")
The Bottom Line: Though The Powerpuff Girls zigzags between saccharine and sarcasm, the movie's dynamic animation, deliciously retro environments and snappy dialogue make it a better than average cartoon Puff piece.
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