Top Cat: The Movie Movie Review

Produced in Mexico and Argentina because of Latin America's obsession with Don Gato, this revival of the Hanna Barbera cartoon maintains the wacky tone even if there's nothing clever or particularly skilled in the script or animation.

At least it's nutty, nostalgic fun.

Top Cat (voiced by Harris) is the con-artist leader of a New York alley-cat gang that's relentlessy pursued by nice-guy Officer Dibble (Lobely). But just as "TC" meets the purring Trixie (Disney), the even more ambitious conman Strickland (also Harris) takes over as police chief, converting the force to robots who do his bidding while he watches on a network of invasive surveillance cameras. He also manages to send TC to Dog Prison, forcing the gang to work out a rescue plan without their leader.

OK, the plot is gibberish. The whole point of these characters is their snappy wit or lack thereof: TC is a good-hearted grifter leading a pack of idiots. And the film focusses a lot more on numbskull stupidity than clever jokes.

Fortunately for anyone in the audience with a brain, there is a very light dusting of smart humour throughout the film, with a few funny punchlines and some amusing visual gags. But most of the film is pretty ridiculous.

It doesn't help that the animation is adequate at best. Instead of punching images into three-dimensional figures (putting adding the 3D), the characters are still flat cutouts, with only some cursory added shading. Oddly, it's rather refreshing to see something that looks so strikingly different, even if it's sometimes very ropey (some of the 3D makes our heads hurt). But it's at least colourful and busy, and is much closer to that classic Hanna Barbera look than the Scooby-Doo or Yogi Bear movies.

Even so, the film's underwritten script and dated message (Strickand's obsession with technology is his downfall) leave us uninterested and uninvolved. And the kids will get rather restless too, since everything is so pointless and predictable. But there are moment when you see the rather enjoyable film that could have been made with this character. So at least the movie doesn't destroy all hope. And our memories remain intact.

Cast & Crew

Director : Alberto Mar

Producer : Fernando de Fuentes, Jose C. Garcia de Letona

Starring : Jason Harris, Bill Lobely, Chris Edgerly, , , Matthew Piazzi


Top Cat: The Movie Rating

" Grim "

Rating: U, 2011


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