Steve Bullin

For those of you who didn’t know, The Powerpuff Girls was a Hanna-Barbera animated series that ran from 1998 to 2005. This brings up the inherit issue of translating television to your classic cinema, which while it might not seem as big a stretch as comics or games to cinema, still has a pretty significant difference in narrative style. Where television series have an ongoing or segmented narrative style, film is constructed to be a single coherent piece. Television series are the epitome of the hard boiled narrative, everything has to be conveyed acknowledging that the audience has roughly a five minute attention span. The dialog and character designs have to instantly and clearly convey intention without becoming insulting or overly telling.

On top of that, The Powerpuff Girls Movie is an expansion on the simple origins story played out at the beginning of each episode, so it is easy to understand how many critics saw the film as a stretched out version of any non-particular episode from the series. In their defense, it’s not until the last ten minutes of the film that the girls actually realize they could use their super powers to beat up villains. And while it is true the straight forward and clear intention of the characters make the film rather predictable, that argument could basically be applied to every children’s animated film- from the award winning to the ones on the five dollar rack in your local grocer. The defining features are in the quality of the material, production and more-over the accuracy in representing realistically dynamic characters. Characters that get angry or sad and respond to the situations in ways that we -as feeling beings- can understand. While we might have never been a door knob or a china doll through an accurate representation these characters still come across as dynamic and believable as relatable individuals to us.

Through this I believe The Powerpuff Girls Movie is actually strongest with it’s full length, even drawn-out, narrative. It gives us the time to see the full story and conflicts in this new and unpredictable scenario of having spontaneously created super-powered children you suddenly have to parent, and spontaneously coming into existence with only a naive understanding of the world around you; while also conveniently being born with a basic mastery of the English language. But hey, it’s kid’s scifi, it makes its own sense.

I’d even go so far to say this is one of the best superhero origin stories on film simply because the film doesn’t force itself to jump into the superhero fighting action prematurely and allows for the heroines to naturally come to their true calling. While the girls are predictably good and we can tell their individual characters right off-the-bat, we still get the time to watch their development within the world. And it does this while still presenting enough fun fast paced super power action -superhero games of tag- to keep from dragging. The animation is surprisingly fantastic, the colors and attention to detail in sound are just outstanding. This is honestly just a masterfully well done, fun, and honest little film that deserved to do a lot better than it did. Unfortunately it came out on the same day as Men In Black II and Like Mike, both of which in comparison -or alone- were not worth seeing on the big screen. Wish I had gone to see this instead. You can’t really blame me though, the trailer does nothing to show off the film. Until next time, this was Steve Bullin with the B-list, happy movie going everyone.   

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