Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Feline felony


Remember when animation involved rooms full of artists spending insane amounts of energy, time, and skill, to produce works of film that dazzled imagination...?

Okay, yes. I know it has been a while. 

There is a magic about those days and the films they've created that allows them to stand the test of time. Films that still sell out from shelves on re-releases, and special editions. Films that parents will go out and find for their children because they remember the feelings they had as a child, eyes wide with wonder. 

Now, ok, before I go too mushy-mush here... I want to make it very clear, I have a strong love of all things animation. In no way am I bashing the current state that is CGI animation. Anyone who knows me knows I love me some Kung Fu Panda. And the things that Pixar has done with the form in terms of story with Wall-E, and Up, are just amazing. However, there was a warmth, a movement to the film that gave it a different life when it was by pencil stroke alone... Anyone that has seen Fantasia, The Rescuers, An American Tail, and the list goes on, looks back on them with a fondness that doesn't seem to fade. 

There have been a few here and there over the last couple of decades that definitely hold their own... The Iron Giant, Balto, (the phenomenally pretty) Thief and the Cobbler, but the style and form has faded as CGI rules the cinemas. Add the advantages of CGI 3D and well, the pencil may not be mightier than the CGI sword. 

Ok. Yes. That was a rant. But, it served a purpose. 

A Cat in Paris, in a return to that classic feel of animation. It moves, breaths as you watch it on screen. And, as is sometimes the case with the most visually original, at times, perhaps the majority, the art is more the reason to watch than the story. 

So your plot. 
Young girl has a cat, Dino. Dino stays with her during the day and leaves at night to pursue his second life; an assistant to a very talented "Cat" burglar. The young girl is often left alone with her Nanny, as her Mother (a detective) is kept very busy. One night the young girl follows the cat to see where he goes... and a wonderfully brisk, and surprisingly serious adventure takes place. 

If you dig art, and animation as art, this is for you. At a run time of just over an hour this is hardly a plot heavy piece. In fact, you might miss some lines here and there just absorbing the style of the film. From the smooth jazz melting over each vibrant colour, to watching a small yapping dog be smushed by a flying sandal... twice... to a very cool lights out scene in which the characters are drawn in white lines. Colours are fun aren't they? That's the feelings I had on it. Is the story amazing, not so much (follow cat and sprinkle in a fast moving subplot about the killer the mother is hunting). It works though. If the story had been too deep, or lengthy, or focused on humour you would lose time doing what you wanna do... Watch.

The voice acting in the English release is top notch. So no worries about having to track down the original French version to avoid what I call "Toon Air eating" haha (yes, it is oh so very possible to badly dub an animated film)

This is not a film for everyone. In fact, as a film, it is not the best of the genre I have seen. Not even close. But as art, as a reminder that pencil to page can still mind bend your eyeballs... (that um is the best I can currently come up with to describe, so ya... I'm rollin with it) it is something you should see. Maybe with a couple them young folks curled up on the couch with ya... 

Movie scale 2.5 our of 5 stars
Animated movie scale 3.5 out 5 stars. 

Chucky B saying he hopes to see him some more of the old skool. 

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