The Powerpuff Girls Movie
4 1/2 stars
starring Blossom, Buttercup, Bubbles, Prof. Utonium and Mojo Jojo

Well, of *course* the Powerpuff Girls Movie is awesome. How could it not be?

Powerpuff fans know all about how Professor Utonium used sugar, spice, and everything nice to create the perfect little girls, and they know how he accidentally added an extra ingredient: Chemical X. Thus, the Powerpuff Girls were born, and with them, some of the coolest, fastest, smartest animation in the known universe.

They look Japanese, with their too-huge eyes and penchant for fighting only the very biggest monsters, but The Powerpuff Girls are 100% American made. After 3 seasons and 73 episodes on the Cartoon Network, the PPG have dished out more lightning-fast action and sly humor than, well, pretty much anybody else. Sure, it's a kids' show, and you're likely to see those huge eyes beaming at you from a lunch box or dangling from a 6-year-old's backpack, but make no mistake: the Powerpuff Girls are lightning fun for everybody who speaks English.

Logically enough, the Movie tackles their origins, the nitty details of how they came to be and how their superhero-ness was forged. The girls emerge, personalities fully formed, from the concoction --flighty blue Bubbles, smart pink Blossom, and grumpy green Buttercup-- and they spend the rest of the movie grappling with the existential verities, learning how to be who they are. On the side of evil, ready to forge their souls under the hammer of his mighty will, is their arch-enemy Mojo Jojo, a lab monkey given super-intelligence in the same accident that created the girls.

Sounds silly, and it is, deliriously silly, awesome fun. The stark, simple designs of the Powerpuff world blow up huge on the big screen, finally giving the girls room to really fly. On TV they zip, they zap, they move in straight lines, but here they've got the space to spiral and spin, loop and zoop, leaving their trademark fly-blur in Tron-like beams behind them. There's an awesome, toweringly destructive game of tag, with blur-fast Powerpuff point-of-view flying and computer-assisted zipping. Mojo's huge and diabolical machine is huge, diabolical, the dream-form for all monster gadgets. And if you like apes, you like monkeys, you like primates of any kind, then put your hands together and offer thanks, weep in happiness, cuz they're all in there.

It's a hell of a challenge to inflate a 12-minute show into a 75-minute feature, but the trademark blistering PPG pace doesn't flag, moving zap-zap-zap bam-bam-bam through the story. Snazzy lines, clever dialogue keeps you grinning, and my "awwww-so cute" muscles were sore after 10 minutes.

If there's any complaint, it's that no particular element of the movie is quite as good as the very best of the episodes. So, there's delirious, spinning action, but nothing quite as brain-pounding as the "Uh-Oh, Dynamo" or "Bubblevicious" episodes. Mojo is funny, but not quite as funny as in "Just Another Manic Mojo". There are lots of "Oh-my-God-did-they-really-make-that-joke?" jokes, but none as filthy and sly as in "Cat Man Do." So what? When you're done seeing the movie, rent or buy the videos or DVD, but first, most importantly, seethemovie seethemovie SEETHEMOVIE!