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Powerpuff Girls: Meet the Beat-Alls, The

Warner Bros. // Unrated // October 23, 2001
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Adam Tyner | posted November 4, 2001 | E-mail the Author
Sugar...spice...and everything nice. These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect little girl. But Professor Utonium accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concoction -- Chemical X. Thus, the Powerpuff Girls were born! Using their ultra superpowers, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup have dedicated their lives to fighting crime and the forces of evil!

Meet The Beat-Alls is the fourth DVD released by Warner in the past year compiling episodes of the Cartoon Network original series. The wacky misadventures on this volume include:
  • Meet the Beat-Alls: The featured episode is fat-packed with clumsy Beatles references as Mojo Jojo, Him, Princess, and Fuzzy Lumpkins use their combined forces as the Beat-Alls to thwart the girls and grab Townsville by the jugular.
  • Jewel of the Aisle: A jewelry heist gone awry leads to a massive diamond winding up in a box of the Powerpuff Girls' favorite cereal, Lucky Captain Rabbit King Nuggets. To get it back, the not-particularly-clever robber takes the mantle of the Lucky Captain Rabbit King and sets out to trick the girls into giving up part of their complete balanced breakfast.
  • Equal Fights: Misandrist supervillain Femme Fatale dupes the girls into shirking their duties, convincing them that they're being exploited as women. It's up to Miss Bellum and the remaining female role models of Townsville to steer the Powerpuff Girls towards reason.
  • Bubblevision: Bubbles' near-blindness makes it exceedingly difficult to help her sisters duke it out with a gigantic ant. The Professor cobbles together a pair of glasses to correct her vision, but is the solution worse than the problem?
  • Collect Her: The world's foremost collector of Powerpuff Girls merchandise has finally gotten the last few remaining items, leaving his life empty and meaningless. To help fill that void, he moves away from phone cozies and gravy boats towards the girls themselves.
  • Buttercrunch: Buttercup develops a crush on Ace, the slimy leader of the Gangreen Gang, which he quickly uses to try to wipe out Bubbles and Blossom for good.
  • Bought & Scold: After the Mayor gives up Townsville for a roomful of Turkish delights, crime is legalized, putting a significant damper on the girls' heroic activities.
Like the previous three collections, there's not a clunker in the lot. (That is, if you don't count the 'bonus' episodes on The Mane Event.) Choosing "Meet The Beat-Alls" as the title episode is curious. Though it's not a bad episode, the forced, stilted quoting of Beatles lyrics throughout will confuse the majority of kids and leave most die-hard fans of the Fab Four groaning on their couches. A cute experiment, but the weakest of the seven episodes on this disc doesn't really warrant this sort of marquee attention. Some of these episodes lose their luster after the first viewing as well. I can't remember ever laughing harder at a cartoon, even during the nearly eleven years I've been watching the Simpsons, than when I first caught "Jewel of the Aisle" on the Cartoon Network. The second this disc arrived in the mail, I tore open the shrink wrap and immediately watched "Jewel", only to find myself staring blankly at my set, unamused. Meet The Beat-Alls isn't quite as strong as the previous Powerpuff Girls DVD collections, due in part to having fewer episodes than any of the other releases. The first two sets had ten episodes each (along with a bonus unrelated cartoon), and The Mane Event had eight, along with the McCracken's original Whoopass Stew short. With just seven episodes, even a couple of slightly disappointing 'toons makes a collection seem significantly less special, and I hope this isn't indicative of what to expect from Warner's family division in the future. Though this is the least recommended starting point for a budding Powerpuff Girls collector, it's still a solid set and well worth the asking price of $15 at most stores.

Video: The series' distinctively clean, deceptively simple style of animation is flawlessly reproduced on this disc, appearing noticeably crisper and clearer than the somewhat soft image I'm used to seeing piped to my TV courtesy of my substandard cable provider. Colors in the full-frame presentation are bold and rich, though some episodes seem to veer off-model a bit. Compression artifacts and other assorted nasties aren't really an issue, though large patches of red occasionally appear splotchy. Most of the episodes look excellent, though there are several moments in "Meet The Beat-Alls" where I was surprised by some of the minor flaws that creeped in. I haven't seen that particular adventure outside of this disc, so I can't really say with any authority if it's representative of cable airings or not. Overall, though, this is the best these episodes have ever looked and likely ever will.

Audio: The stereo surround audio is solid, certainly louder than what I've grown accustomed to hearing from the Cartoon Network. I almost never adjust the volume on my receiver, but there were a couple of episodes where I fumbled for my remote in the dark to turn it down a couple of notches. Surrounds are rarely active, and then only to accentuate the keyboard-dominated score. I noticed my subwoofer rumbling a bit more than it does during broadcasts. Of course, it's hardly damning to note in a review that a presentation of a television show doesn't sound terribly different from its original broadcasts. The stereo audio is also available in Spanish and French.

Supplements: By far my favorite extra on Meet The Beat-Alls is Wil Vinton's music video for the Apples In Stereo's infectiously catchy "Signal In The Sky", accompanied by a behind the scenes featurette on the video's production. A second featurette, running just shy of five minutes in length, focuses on the feature film slated to hit theaters nationwide next summer. Though the EPK-style look at pre-production seems more heavily geared towards people unfamiliar with the series, the footage of Cathy Cavadini, Tara Strong, and Elizabeth Daily voicing the three Powerpuff Girls is an absolute and fairly creepy must-see.

As with The Mane Event, Mojo Jojo and the Mayor contribute mildly amusing in-character commentary tracks to two episodes. Mojo rails against the girls in "Meet The Beat-Alls", while the Mayor rambles incoherently over "Bought and Scold", despite appearing in the episode for just a few brief moments. This isn't the last you'll see of these characters among the extras, as they pop up briefly in three strictly promotional but still entertaining "Powerspots" for the show.

There's also some DVD-ROM stuff that I didn't bother to give a look. I almost never take a look at ROM supplements, but the news that this pressing of the disc is tainted with the FunLove virus further dampered my near-total lack of enthusiasm. Corrected discs should be in stores by the time you read this, so worry not.

Conclusion: Available for as low as $10 online, Powerpuff Girls completists will have a tough time trying to justify passing up this fourth compilation of episodes. Despite containing fewer episodes than previous collections and not even as much in the way of supplemental material as The Mane Event, I still feel that Meet The Beat-Alls is well worth a purchase, though first-time Powerpuff purchasers should set their sights elsewhere. Recommended.
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