26 December 2006

Ink Blots XLIV - Cats Don't Dance

In Cats Don't Dance, surprisingly, there are dancing cats. Unfortunately, when the film came out in 1997, not many people saw them. Cats Don't Dance was a product of Turner Entertainment Animation in conjunction with Warner Brothers. Like Warner's other 90's animated products The Iron Giant, and Quest for Camelot, Cats was a flop, earning a dismal $3.5 million.

Danny is a kitty from Kokomo Indiana with big dreams. In 1939, he heads to Hollywood to become a movie star. He lands a role right away in a film called Lil Ark Angel - an adaptation of the Noah's ark story - but his only line is the stereotypical "Meow." Animals in Hollywood are having their dreams dashed left and right as they are never given a chance to shine. You see, in Hollywood, cats don't dance... people do. Danny takes on the Ark Angels' child star Darla Dimple to establish real roles for the animals in Hollywood whose talent is all going to waste.

There are a couple of funny cameos by famous animal stars of the time King Kong and The Wizard of Oz's Toto. In fact, there are quite a few funny bits in the film. The sinister character of Darla Dimple was a lot of fun, and while she was probably inspired (at least in look) by Shirley Temple, she reminded me a lot of the villain Baby Doll from Batman: The Animated Series.

Danny is voiced by Scott Bakula and the female cat, Sawyer, is lent the vocal talents of Natalie Cole who does well with the 30's style musical songs. The animation style, reminiscent of Warner's old Loony Tunes animation, brings a classic feel to this relatively new and brightly colored film. I really see no reason for this film to have done as poorly as it did. It is a nice little movie that most people would enjoy. The theme of discrimination in Hollywood comes off as a bit silly as it sort of makes light of the real issue, but I guess its at a good level for kids. In spite of the huge number of cat and dog cartoons out there, this one brings its own sense of innocence and excitement that doesn't reek of corporate tampering. Cats Don't Dance didn't blow me away, but it was much better than a description of the plot would have led me to believe. The film could have benefited from a few more character moments to get me to care more about Danny, but I still enjoyed watching that little fur ball never giving up his dreams. While fans of golden age films like Singin' in the Rain (the film was dedicated to the late Gene Kelly who choreographed some of the musical numbers) would probably adore this film, for me it was worthy of a B+.


toast said...

I watched this movie based on this review and really liked it! Katie watched a clip from it in a character design class and she wanted to see it too. So we watched it and had a good time. Thanks for the review!

Chip Chief said...

Glad to be of service!

Bethany said...

It really should have done better. Is there any way for it to be re-introduced to theaters? Or maybe on DVD? I think it would do a lot better today if some scenes were left out, maybe some editing done. Do you know anyone to contact in order for this to happen? I really think it should have a second chance!

Bethany said...

Contact me at shinyegg56@yahoo.com

Bethany said...

...if you have any information. Thanks!