The Powerpuff Girls Movie (titled onscreen as The Powerpuff Girls) is a 2002 American animated superhero action-adventure comedy film based on the Cartoon Network animated television series of the same name. It is produced by Cartoon Network Studios and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film debuted in the United States on July 3, 2002. It is a prequel to the series, telling the origin story of how the Powerpuff Girls were created and how they came to be the defenders of Townsville.
In theaters, a Dexter's Laboratory short entitled Chicken Scratch was shown prior to the film, which later aired as part of the series' fourth season. It received mixed to positive reviews from critics, but performed poorly in domestic sales, earning only $11.4 million at the box office on its $11 million budget. It fared better overseas, however, with a total worldwide gross of $16.4 million. The film made its television debut on Cartoon Network on May 23, 2003.
(In Ideas) The Film Have Re-Release in theaters on November 14, 2008, making it the first installment of the Cartoon Network Cinematic Universe, and extended $25.7 million marking the 8th highest grossing animated films of 2002, with two sequels The Powerpuff Girls: Dance Pantsed and The Powerpuff Girls: Into the Puff-Verse were released in 2014 and 2020.
Professor Utonium creates a mixture of sugar, spice and everything nice in hope of producing the perfect little girl to improve Townsville, a fictional city plagued by crime. He is shoved by his laboratory assistant, the destructive chimpanzee Jojo, causing him to accidentally break a flask of a mysterious substance called Chemical X, which spills into the mixture and explodes in Jojo's face. The experiment is successful, producing three little girls whom the Professor names Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup. He discovers that the girls also have superpowers from the added Chemical X. Despite the girls' recklessness with their powers, they all immediately grow to love each other as a family.
During their first day of school, the girls learn about the game tag and begin to play among themselves, which quickly grows destructive once they use their powers. The girls take their game downtown, accidentally causing massive damage to the city until the Professor calms them down. The next day, the girls are treated as outcasts by the citizens of Townville as a result of the destruction they have caused, and the Professor is arrested for creating the girls. Realizing that using their powers again will only anger the townspeople more, the girls try to make their way home from school on foot. They become lost in an alleyway and are ambushed by the Gangreen Gang, only to be rescued by Jojo, whose brain has been mutated by the Chemical X explosion, giving him superintelligence.
Planning control of the city, Jojo gains the girls' sympathy by saying he is also hated for his powers. Jojo convinces the girls to help him build a laboratory and Chemical X-empowered machine over a volcano in the middle of town, which he claims will gain them the affections of the city. Jojo rewards the girls with a trip to the local zoo, where he secretly implants small transportation devices on all the primates there. That night, Jojo transports the primates into his volcano lab and uses his new machine to inject them with Chemical X, turning them into evil mutant primates like himself. The next morning, after the Professor is released from prison, the girls show him all the "good" they have done, only to discover the city is being attacked by the primates. Jojo, renaming himself Mojo Jojo, publicly announces the girls as his assistants, turning everyone—including the distraught Professor—against them. Dejected, the girls exile themselves to an asteroid in outer space.
Mojo Jojo announces his intentions to rule the planet, but becomes frustrated when his minions begin concocting their own plans to terrorize the people of Townsville. Overhearing the turmoil from space, the girls return to Earth and rescue the citizens, realizing they can use their powers to fight the primates. With his army defeated, Mojo injects himself with Chemical X and grows into a giant monster, overpowering the girls after an intense battle. Rejecting his offer to join him against the people who have shunned them, the girls push him off a decrepit skyscraper as the Professor arrives with a newly developed antidote for Chemical X to help the girls. Mojo lands on the antidote, which shrinks him down to his original size, battered and defeated.
The girls consider using the Antidote X to erase their powers, thinking they would be accepted as ordinary girls. The people of Townsville protest, apologizing for misjudging the girls and thanking them for their heroic deeds. At the insistence of the Mayor, the girls agree to use their powers to defend Townsville with the Professor's blessing, thus becoming the city's beloved crime-fighting superhero team: the Powerpuff Girls.
(In Ideas) In a Post-Credit scene, After the event of the final episode, Nigel Uno visits the Girls at home, telling them that there not "the only heroes in the world", and explaining that they want to discuss the "Toonvengers Initiatve".
- Cathy Cavadini as Blossom, the intelligent and dutiful leader of the Powerpuff Girls
- Tara Strong as Bubbles, the sweet and cheerful member of the Powerpuff Girls
- E.G. Daily as Buttercup, the tough and brash member of the Powerpuff Girls
- Roger L. Jackson as Mojo Jojo, a chimpanzee mutated by Chemical X who becomes the Powerpuff Girls' archenemy
- Tom Kane as Professor Utonium, the Powerpuff Girls' creator and surrogate father; and the Talking Dog
- Tom Kenny as the Mayor of Townsville; the Narrator; Mitch Mitchelson, the Powerpuff Girls' classmate; and Gangreen Gang members Snake and Lil' Arturo
- Jennifer Hale as Ms. Keane, the Powerpuff Girls' school teacher
- Jennifer Martin as Ms. Sarah Bellum, the Mayor's secretary
- Jeff Bennett as Gangreen Gang members Ace, Big Billy, and Grubber
- Grey DeLisle and Phil LaMarr as additional character voices
- Rob Paulsen, Kevin Michael Richardson, and Frank Welker as various evil primates
Benjamin Diskin made the uncredited voice role of Nigel Uno (Numbuh 1) in the post-credit scene.
The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Based on 100 reviews, the film has received a 63% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with its consensus reading, "It plays like an extended episode, but The Powerpuff Girls Movie is still lots of fun". On Metacritic, the film achieved a rating of 65 out of 100, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". Bob Longino of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution praised the film, writing, "The intricate drawings emanate 1950s futuristic pizazz like a David Hockneyscenescape. The inspired script is both sinfully cynical and aw-shucks sweet". He also called it "one of the few American creations that is both gleeful pop culture and exquisite high art." Nell Minow of Common Sense Media posted a review of The Powerpuff Girls Movie on CommonSenseMedia.org. The review describes that the movie "may be a treat for the fans of the show, but its non-stop excitement and sense of humor is going to win over just about anyone", and proceeded to give the movie four stars out of five. However, the film received some mild criticism for some of its violence, which many felt was too extreme for a family-oriented film.
Craig McCracken himself has come out with his own thoughts on the movie. In the documentary The Powerpuff Girls: Who, What Where, How, Why... Who Cares?, he says: "In hindsight, maybe I wish it was a little sillier, a little more lighter, a little more... not so heavy the whole time." In 2016, he brought up on Tumblr that due to the film's production, he has no interest in making theatrical films.
Box office performance
The film earned $3.5 million and ninth place in its opening weekend, and had ultimately grossed $16 million worldwide against its $11 million budget.
Home video media
The film was released on Region 1 DVD and VHS on November 5, 2002 in America. The DVD included extras such as deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, commentaries and more. Despite being filmed in 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the DVD and VHS are in fullscreen only, just like the original television show. The Region 2 DVD release presents the film in its original widescreen aspect ratio, but omits the audio commentary and deleted scenes bonus features.
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