Monty is a young cute rat in a rat world living beneath the streeets of Manhattan. When exterminator Dollart gets a new lethal spray to kill all the rodents, Monty, his friend Isabella and ... See full summary »
Monty is a young cute rat in a rat world living beneath the streeets of Manhattan. When exterminator Dollart gets a new lethal spray to kill all the rodents, Monty, his friend Isabella and Jean-Paul Canalligator have to travel to magic land to make things right. Written by
Die Story von Monty Spinnerratz, or A Rat's Tale as it is named in English, is a strangely naive, unpretentious German puppet movie featuring some known American actors in minor parts. The production is in many ways extremely simple, on par with TV programs for very young children. No attempt at all has been made to camouflage the strings that move the puppets; while they could easily have been made of fine transparent nylon, they are in fact plain, black thread that stands out against the background. The puppets themselves, while individually designed, have a single, fixed facial expression and look exactly like the scruffy plush toys they are, and the "Canalligator" looks as if it is made of painted cardboard, which it probably is. One gets the impression that this reflects a conscious decision by the film makers to dispense with any attempt at illusion, rather than ineptitude. Especially as there are a few competently done and rather pretty optical effects in the humanly acted scenes, showing that the film wasn't made entirely on a shoestring. The plot matches the production, being a rather simplistic story about love, courage, kindness and freedom from prejudice - among rats, and to some extent also alligators and men. A story fit for small children, with a moral that it takes no subtlety to comprehend. Yet there is something likable about the film, something that can appeal to adults as well. Perhaps I admire the stubbornness and courage it must have taken to produce and market a film like this, or maybe I like to occasionally see simple storytelling without a multi-million dollar budget squandered on special effects and exotic locations. Perhaps I just sympathise with the idea that there is a place for films that aren't cool and hip and controversial and spectacular, but just nice in a very modest and subdued way. In any case I'm glad, and somewhat surprised, that utterly unlikely films like this can be made in our time and day.
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