Fritz the Cat may have lost one of his lives in the comics, but in his new movie, he has eight more lives left to go! While his wife screams at him, Fritz lights up a joint and reminiscences about what could have been.
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Fritz, now married and with a son, is desperate to escape from the domestic hell he now finds himself in. Lighting up a joint, he begins to dream about his eight other lives, hoping to find one that will provide a pleasant distraction. The drug-induced journeys he takes include spells as an astronaut, Hitler's psychiatrist, a courier travelling in hostile territory during a race war, and as a pupil of an Indian guru living in the sewers of New York. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If you know me at all, you'll know that I was not a fan of Ralph Bakshi's FRITZ THE CAT. So imagine my horror when I found out there was a sequel! Well, I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to see THE NINE LIVES OF FRITZ THE CAT. By some stroke of good luck or divine intervention, it happens to be better than the original.
The film, made without Bakshi's involvement, (who was knee deep in the controversy stemming from COONSKIN) begins by finding our hero in a slum, living on welfare with a wife and child. The wife is pretty abusive (although she does have a point-you'll understand when you see the film. Fritz smokes pot to escape and imagines himself in nine other lives (hence the title)
It's actually a pretty good film. The film is less raunchy and vulgar than the first, but I know some people out there will still be offended. The film is a scathing look at society in the 70's and doesn't have the dated feel the first did. Drugs and street language are present, but it's used much more successfully here
There is one sequence that is some kind of masterpiece. A white military leader and a black militant are perched on two opposing mountains and they take turns attacking one another. Live action footage and stills run in the background. In just five minutes, they've managed to convey exactly what the racial unrest of the 70s was.
There are some flaws. The film doesn't have a very satisfying ending and the score is a little too upbeat for a film laden with such stinging social commentary. But I applaud THE NINE LIVES OF FRITZ THE CAT for taking chances; it could have been more of the same, but instead strives to be better. It's not a perfect film, but it's a good one.
*** out of four stars
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