I found the first DVD of the new Powerpuff Girls revival to be more polished and less quirky than the original series, finally coming to question the value of this new reboot if even its best efforts fall short in comparison to the original. Unfortunately, the second DVD The Last Donnycorn seems even less willing to take risks, with whatever quirky weirdness in the first disc largely gone despite the frantic activity that happens on-screen. It’s a show that feels like it should be a lot more entertaining than it is.
The title episode of the disc is a half-hour season 2 premiere, in which Donny the Unicorn thoroughly outstays his welcome in a story that mostly coasts on pop culture references (mostly centering on The Terminator). The remaining 11 episodes are culled mostly from season 1 with a few season 2 episodes mixed in. Overall, they rely too much on tried and true cliches. In “The Wrinklegruff Girls,” the Powerpuffs get turned into senior citizens so they can reiterate old people jokes that weren’t that fresh when Teen Titans Go! played that game in “Salty Codgers.” “Once Upon a Townsville” hitches a ride on the Disney Princess train, turning out to be a cut-rate remake of Enchanted but without the same wit and light touch. Too many of the other episodes just make no impression at all, requiring one to look up a title to remember what they were about even a half-hour after watching them.
The animation also seems to have taken a hit in the episodes collected on this disc. There are a more than a few moments when comic exaggeration of the girls strays a bit too far into making them look off-model. However, like the jokes and the humor, most of the time the animation doesn’t manage to make much of an impression, either good or bad. The voice actors do the best they can with the material, but they can’t manage to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.
The DVD presentation is fine, with all the episodes getting a quality video presentation and a decent stereo sound mix. There are enough chapter stops in the disc to let you skip opening and closing credits for each episode. This new disc includes 5 micro-shorts that were released to promote the new series (some of which end up being funnier than the actual show, if only because they don’t overstay their welcome).
Unfortunately, this new Powerpuff Girls series feels like a cartoon that’s probably more fun to work on than to watch — a category which I’d probably include late-season SpongeBob SquarePants and any number of other recent cartoons on a few different networks. The original show was a blast of fresh air for gleefully subverting expectations; this new one feels stale for playing it entirely too safe.