The Powerpuff Girls Movie was the first film to be released in theaters produced by Cartoon Network. It was released on July 3, 2002 with the Dexter's Laboratory short "Chicken Scratch". The movie stated how the Powerpuff Girls were created, and together they have caused havoc and destruction over Townsville after playing a game of tag. Soon, they realize that their powers are the only ones that can stop the villains and bad guys from their hometown.
Despite the little critical "success", the film performed poorly at the box office, and grossed very low revenue. The movie had caused a financial issue that had caused the TV series to collapse and end ultimately in early 2005. However, it is considered the biggest adventure of the Powerpuff Girls. It has been directed by Craig McCracken.
Plot (may contain spoilers)
Townsville has been terrorized by villains and criminals. One day, Professor Utonium buys sugar, spice, and everything nice at the Mall, just until Fuzzy Lumpkins robs the mall. Before driving back home, he is assaulted by the Gangreen Gang leader Ace when he punched him in the face. Then, his lab assistant Jojo is running around his laboratory destroying equipment as the opening credits roll, and Professor Utonium mixes the ingredients he bought at the store. However, Jojo pushes his master, causing him to break the Chemical X bowl by accident with his mixing stick. As the bowl reacts by chemicals, Utonium runs away from the bowl while Jojo is peaking at the bowl. The explosion had threw Jojo into the window, and now he has developed a giant brain.
Utonium comes to look at the bowl result of what Jojo and he created, which turns out to be three girls with different colors, but the same basic shirt and shoes pattern. The first one is blue shirt with yellow hair. Another one has a pink shirt with orange hair and a hairclip with bows on top of the head. The last one is green with black hair in organic shape. The scientist gives their names as Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, in the order of how they are arranged in the table.
Speechful and shocked, Utonium rushes to buy the girls presents for their official birthday, age Zero. However, he trips over, but Blossom catches him. Each get what they decide is best, and Bubbles soon calls Utonium Dad. After a fun day after the night they were created over Peanut-Butter & Jelly Sandwich lunch, watching TV, drawing, painting the house, they finally go to school. The next day, Utonium sends the girls to Kindergarten Pokey Oaks School, where Miss Keane introduces what they do. At recess, Utonium comes to see if the girls are doing fine.
Buttercup later learns the game of tag from a boy whom Mitch Mitchson. Buttercup later tries to tag Bubbles, succeeding into destroying the school building, causing a giant hole in the grounds, and flying over causing more destruction outside the school. Professor chases them in his white sedan while the Girls are destroying certain structures all over Townsville. Later, we see the Mayor of Townsville, watching the Girls destroy buildings as he goes down the Hall to buy a pickle. Then, the Girls have now argue who is now it. They each combine and then smash the Mayor while he was about to eat a pickle at the Townsville Hall, killing the Pickle-Seller and wounding Miss Bellum with other candidates and politicians.
Later, Utonium is afraid that he will face illegal criminal consequences for what the Girls have done. Jojo reads the newspaper of the topic for the Girls' game of tag, called "Freakish Bug-Eyed Girls Destroy Townsville". The Girls are later faced to the extremely-loud construction working by the building employees to fix the school. At home, Utonium is confronted by Mayor of Townsville, accusing the scientist for destroying pickles, hundreds of politicians arguing angry at him, Miss Bellum showing him that he is put in jail-consequences for creating the Powerpuff Girls. Soon, he is arrested by the police.
Since Utonium is arrested, the Girls are abandoned, and he warns the people who are angry over the destruction that they are too scared to use their powers and fly back home. Soon, rain starts to happen. Bubbles starts to cry, while Blossom reaches for box shelter at a abandoned alley, but are attacked by the Gangreen Gang. However, Jojo in homeless clothes smacks each of the Gang with his trash-can hat. Jojo and the Girls start to communicate, with Jojo claiming that he needs help to make his dream true.
The Girls join Jojo for unknown reasons, and activate a machine into the volcano in the middle of Townsville Park. Then, the Girls fly all over the world globally to find the equipment in building a lair, as Jojo instructs them, and orders Chemical X in the middle towards controlling storage rooms. As a reward, Jojo takes the Girls to the Zoo, where he only takes pictures of monkeys, and we see in a large shot that each of the monkeys now have teleported telepathy devices in their skin. The Girls return home using their powers, until Professor Utonium is released from jail after he was probably confirmed that he is on parole.
At night, Jojo teleports all the monkeys from the Townsville Zoo each into one glass storage. Each monkey is brainwashed with the Chemical X powers, making their brain grow out of their heads to enormous size and later have humanoid functions. The next day, all the monkeys are activated now with evil personalities. The girls fly Professor Utonium as they claim they have helped one monkey have his dream: to make Townsville a better place come true. During their explanation to Utonium, the monkeys rampage through Townsville as the new Jojo kidnaps the Mayor of Townsville and uses him as a Standing-Rock.
When the Girls see the rampaging monkeys, the three are later claimed that they are the cause of the disaster, and all of the citizens in Townsville blame them all over again for being evil while Jojo later then calls himself as Mojo Jojo. The Professor is heartbroken of what his daughters did, and the three dejected fly to the Asteroid Belt. While Mojo Jojo is doing his speech of being powerful enough to take over the world with his army (referencing Julius Caesar), he is interrupted by the monkeys who claim they wish to be the ruler of the world as well. All the monkeys rebel against each other, causing Mojo Jojo to lose his power and control of the army. He yells at his henchmen that they will obey him.
While the Girls argue about their actions and how they live on the Asteroid from their life now, they hear thousands and thousands of panic screams from Townsville calling for help. As Mojo Jojo is frustrated his plan fails, he decides to kill his master Utonium. As Professor yells out of being captured by the antagonistic ape, the Girls try to rescue all the citizens, but they find it useless because there are too many monkeys. While Buttercup rescues a dog three times, she gives Blossom back an inspiration to use their powers again. Quickly in hours, the Girls defeat all of the monkeys, but find none of them to have kidnapped Professor Utonium, but haven't found Mojo Jojo.
The Girls argue to Mojo Jojo that it was all wrong to take over the world. Before they can rescue their father, Mojo implants the remainder of Chemical X all into his brain, turning him into a 50-feet tall gorilla monster. Utonium tries to the three girls to a safer city to live in. However, the Girls protest they must stop Mojo Jojo, and start to fight him. However, he is proven powerful for the three, and the dog with lack of attention forces the Girls to rescue him from Mojo's fingernail-attack, (a spoof of Mechagodzilla), and he finally knocks down the three, climbing the skyscraper building near them (parodying King Kong obviously), and he tells the Girls to join him. The three arise, shouting out in energy again that they will never join him because they must protect Townsville from him, and push him off the skyscraper with full power.
Utonium nearly becomes killed when Mojo Jojo falls into the spot he is on, and drops the Chemical X on the ground. Mojo later is shrunken back to normal size in change reverse. The girls also wanted to have their powers removed, feeling guilty about the damage they caused, but not before the citizens of Townsville praise the girls for saving the town from the war. The Mayor of Townsville also apologizes for the earlier events that they were just a few days old for the game of tag, and Miss Bellum cancels the criminal accusation to Utonium. The girls are confirmed as now the protectors of Townsville. Mojo Jojo is arrested and thrown in jail along with the Gangreen Gang and Fuzzy Lumpkins in the same cell.
At the ending, the same manner style of each average episode with heart patterns over the screen, the Girls stand in their real position, and the narrator gives them their official name that they were never called in the film: the Powerpuff Girls. The ending credits roll, and a more hard rock version of the Powerpuff Girls Theme Song plays.
- While Mojo Jojo, Gangreen Gang, and Fuzzy Lumpkins appeared in the film, Him, Princess Morbucks, and Amoeba Boys, the other primary villains in the TV series, did not appear in the film at all.
- The Powerpuff Girls have the singular protagonist's role in the film.
- There was never a monster that attacked the city, the most recent recurring gag in the show (although it's not a humor gag).
- The immature drawing that barely resembles the Powerpuff Girls and Utonium but represents them that is drawn by Bubbles was not drawn by the cast, but by a fan of the show, and the picture Ms. Bellum showed to Professor Utonium that they are wanted was also drawn by a fan. These were made for a contest.
- The film's release date was originally going to be August 1, 2002, but was changed to July 3, 2002 for uncertain reasons. Several references, including the blueprints for Mojo Jojo's "help-the-town-and-make-it-a-better-place" machine which have the serial number "PPG-801".
- This was the first time that the Powerpuff Girls received new looks (bigger heads and eyes, smaller bodies) and the logo received a shiny, metallic new look as well. Other characters such as Mojo Jojo and Professor received newer looks as well.
- The film explains the "origin" of the Powerpuff Girls and that Mojo Jojo was their very first villain that they defeated, but the first villains that they defeated were Fuzzy Lumpkins and The Amoeba Boys in the two pilot episodes, which aired on the What A Cartoon! show.
- This may have been due to lack of continuity, though, as many Cartoon Network programs are inconsistent from time to time.
- Had the movie been more successful, other theatrical films based on Cartoon Network's original shows may have been made.
- After the movie, The Powerpuff Girls Movie Premiere Weekend, from May 23rd to 26th, 2003.
The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 63% of critics gave the film a positive review, with the critical consensus: "It plays like an extended episode, but The Powerpuff Girls Movie is still lots of fun". On Metacritic, the film currently has a rating of 65 out of 100, indicating "Generally favorable reviews". Bob Longino of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution praised the film, writing, "The intricate drawings emanate 1950s futuristic pizazz like a David Hockney scenescape. 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."
Despite the critical success, however, the film was also received negatively by some critics, remarking that it was too extreme and highly inappropriate for a family-oriented film. The most negative review came from the show Ebert and Roeper, who gave the film a two thumbs down, criticizing that the film was too violent. Roger Ebert said it was upsetting to watch after the 9/11 attacks, and Richard Roeper called it a "freaky and annoying little film". The film opened on July 3, 2002 and was a box office failure due to poor marketing and publicity, competition with Scooby-Doo, Spider-Man, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Disney's Lilo & Stitch, and even Nickelodeon’s Hey Arnold The Movie (which was also a box office failure) in addition to opening week competition with Men In Black II and Like Mike, and the fact that the show lost much of its popularity. With a budget of $11 million, the Powerpuff Girls Movie grossed $11 million domestically, and grossed $5 million internationally in other countries, ending in a total of $16 million, making the film becoming one of the worst-grossing wide films of 2002, along with other flops such as The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Treasure Planet. The budget and revenue were very similar, only the international revenue to add $5 million additional to the revenue. This put Cartoon Network, especially creator Craig McCracken, in a serious financial issue, and it took over 3 years for Craig to make up the failure of the film.