Blos­som, Bub­bles and But­ter­cup Fly Again!

Car­toon Net­work serves up a Cg-an­i­mated spe­cial fea­tur­ing the beloved, saucer-eyed crime­busters known as the Pow­er­puff Girls. by Ramin Za­hed

Animation Magazine - - Content -

Car­toon Net­work serves up a CG-an­i­mated spe­cial fea­tur­ing the beloved, saucer-eyed crime­busters known as the Pow­er­puff Girls. by Ramin Za­hed

It’s tough to be­lieve that it’s been 15 years since Craig McCracken’s pop­u­lar an­i­mated hero­ines, the Pow­er­puff Girls, de­buted on Car­toon Net­work. This month, the cabler is pay­ing ho­mage to Blos­som, Bub­bles and But­ter­cup in a shiny, new CG-an­i­mated spe­cial, which re­unites the orig­i­nal voice-over stars and also packs in a spe­cial guest ap­pear­ance by none other than Bea­tles drum­mer Ringo Starr.

The spe­cial, which is called Dance Pantsed, finds the girls try­ing to solve the mys­tery of why Mojo Jojo is kid­nap­ping a math­e­ma­ti­cian, an opera singer and a badger (to steal Chem­i­cal X and take over Townsville!). The halfhour fea­tures Cather­ine Cava­dini as Blos­som, Tara Strong as Bub­bles, E.G. Daily as But­ter­cup, Roger L. Jack­son as Mojo Jojo, Tom Kane as The Pro­fes­sor and Tom Kenny as The Mayor.

“Car­toon Net­work’s Rob Sorcher and Brian Miller had this great idea to do a Pow­er­puff Girls spe­cial and were kind enough to ask me to par­tic­i­pate,” says the project’s di­rec­tor Dave Smith, who was part of the se­ries’ orig­i­nal pro­duc­tion team. “There were a cou­ple of us who had worked on the show dur­ing its orig­i­nal run, and we knew the show back­wards and for­wards, so it was a real thrill to be asked to par­tic­i­pate. We were also very lucky to have Kevin Dart [ Steven Universe] as art di­rec­tor for this spe­cial, who helped us with the show’s won­der­ful, new graphic look.”

Smith says the cre­ative team knew from the be­gin­ning that they didn’t want to change any of the char­ac­ters or con­cepts, but they thought it would be in­ter­est­ing to reimag­ine the de­sign and see how they could up­date the show in CG. “I orig­i­nally had some reser­va­tions about go­ing CG be­cause the orig­i­nal show was so graphic, flat and joy­ous in 2D,” he ad­mits. “But we wanted to take that back­bone of ex­plo­ration and in­no­va­tion and see how we could de­liver that spirit in CG. Kevin [Dart] has such a great, graphic and ap­peal­ing ap­proach to de­sign and is able to trans­late his vi­sion to CG ef­fort­lessly.” Help­ing re­al­ize Smith and Dart’s vi­sions for the spe­cial were the team at Pas­sion Pic­tures’ Paris stu­dio, who worked closely with Smith and Dart, as well as French shops Je Suis Bien Con­tent and PlanK­toon.

While show cre­ator McCracken was too busy with his new baby, Dis­ney Chan­nel’s Wan­der Over Yon­der, to over­see the spe­cial, Smith hopes that he will en­joy this 15th birth­day ho­mage. “Craig is such a ge­nius, so pas­sion­ate and sin­cere about his cre­ation,” says Smith. “I re­mem­ber back when the show first de­buted, no­body knew that it was go­ing to be such a huge hit. Luck­ily there was great sup­port from Car­toon Net­work and Hanna-Bar­bera Stu­dio at the time. Ev­ery­one got along so well on that show…and ev­ery­thing just clicked to­gether.”

For Smith, one of the coolest as­pects of this spe­cial was that he got to work with one of his life­long idols, Ringo Starr, who voices a very flam­boy­ant math­e­ma­ti­cian named Fi­bonacci Se­quins in the spe­cial. Starr, who de­cided to par­tic­i­pate in the spe­cial af­ter re­ceiv­ing a deeply per­sonal plea from the di­rec­tor, also per­forms an orig­i­nal mu­sic video and song es­pe­cially writ­ten for him by Smith called “I Wish I was a Pow­er­puff Girl.” “I told him how much I had ad­mired him in the movie Cave­man, and he was taken by my love for his movie and found time to par­tic­i­pate,” says Smith. “You can say it’s a crown jewel in my achieve­ments.”

Smith hopes ev­ery­one en­joys this new CG up­date of the beloved char­ac­ters. “Back when we started out, we ended up hav­ing the best time be­cause we ended up mak­ing a car­toon that we liked,” he notes. “We were lucky to work with th­ese hugely en­dear­ing char­ac­ters with truly de­fined per­son­al­i­ties and a won­der­ful con­cept that was ahead of its time with th­ese in­cred­i­ble fe­male leads. Even our vil­lains had th­ese very de­fined, spe­cific per­son­al­i­ties. So it was just won­der­ful to see th­ese char­ac­ters come alive again. The fact that ev­ery­one worked so hard, pas­sion­ately and sin­cerely on this project just makes the candy that much sweeter.” The new Pow­er­puff Girls spe­cial, Dance Pantsed, pre­mieres on Car­toon Net­work on Jan­uary 20 at 7:30 p.m. Car­toon Net­work will also show­case 10 clas­sic Pow­er­puff Girls episodes dur­ing a five-hour marathon on Sun­day, Jan­uary 19, be­gin­ning at noon. Also launch­ing this month is a new Pow­er­puff Girls mo­bile game.

Dave Smith

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