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01/15/2003 Archived Entry: "werpuff Gir"
Posted by CKL @ 11:11 AM PST

On Monday, I finally watched The Powerpuff Girls Movie on DVD. Imagine my horror when I saw this title card displayed before the DVD menus: "This film has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fit your screen." I'm something of a purist for film presentation, so this both annoyed and confused me. The former because clips from the movie were shown letterboxed in some of the special features; the latter because Craig McCracken and company seem like the kind of movie nuts (in a good way) who would demand an uncompromised video release of their movie.

Even if I hadn't seen the evil "formatted to fit your screen" title card, I think I would have noticed the cropping of the image. There were scenes in which I definitely saw oddities-- Mojo Jojo's hands being cut off as he made a grand gesture, backgrounds obscured to the detriment of a sight gag. Maybe the target audience of pre-pubescent girls doesn't notice, but I know a lot of grown-up PPG fans, too, and they're the ones with actual money to spend.

Of course, Warner Brothers (excuse me, AOL Time Warner) owns the property, and they get to decide what kind of DVD to release-- but they spent a pretty penny on tons of special features, including commentaries and "character interviews," and the trailer itself was in anamorphic widescreen! I've heard rumors that Cartoon Network is planning to do their own widescreen DVD release of the movie next year, and if that's true, maybe it's all just political, but it still sucks for the consumer.

Regardless, I did enjoy the movie. It wasn't the best PPG I've ever seen, but it wasn't the worst, either. I do think the producers went a little overboard with amping up the already-frenetic animation, writing in Big Action Scenes(TM) when they could have done wittier, less in-your-face stuff. But that's a minor complaint. If nothing else, the battles showed off some great animation, as good as any live-action superhero flick in recent memory-- better, in some cases. Cartoons specialize in exaggeration, and what better arena for exaggeration than super-powered heroes and villains throwing down?

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