Better than the 2011 Top Cat movie, but not much....
It's been nearly a year since I wrote a critique of the 2011 film adaptation of Top Cat. I said it was mediocre but I felt there was SOME respect for the original source material... but I'd have to actually go into detail if I wanted to describe how different it was.
Being made by the makers of the original show, you'd expect it to be SOMEWHAT better than the aforementioned film, but not by much.
To start off, the film had better jokes than the 2011 adaptation. At least they kept the quick and witty dialogue aspect of the original series, and I did find myself laughing far more than the OTHER film.
I said before that the 2011 film's story was passable, but now that I think about it, it was actually not that great. Sure, you can argue that Top Cat had stories that were basically repetitive and predictable, but there was at least SOME charm to it, the 2011 film had barely any of that.
Here, though, the plot is basically a rehash of "The Missing Heir" and if you've seen that episode, you can easily tell how it's going to end. But it's like I just said, the show's episodes were often repetitive and predictable... or as Top Cat put it when trying to get Benny down with a trampoline, "This is getting repetitious." Fortunately, the twist ending in this is different than the one in the episode... *SPOILER ALERT!* The lady who wrote the will was not actually dead! *SPOILER ALERT!* Also, I like Top Cat actually teaching kids good morals in that friendship and making someone happy are more important than money... because it totally fits Top Cat's antihero personality and respect (although not a big facet of his personality) for his friends.
...But here's where I think the flaws REALLY show... For example, the film uses pop culture references of the 1980's (when it came out) such as mentioning of Rambo and Magic Johnson. Actually, this is understandable because 1960's humour obviously would've (and still does) meant nothing to kids of the time period. I just felt that it was out of place, but now it doesn't seem so bad.
And then there's the cat-related jokes... sure Top Cat and his friends are obviously cats, but there were virtually no such jokes on the original show. It's also out of place because the original show treated cats as if they were humans and equal to them, almost to the point of not even acknowledging it, the only such cat joke being T.C. and company crowding Dibble out of his bed in the episode "The Long Hot Winter" giving him little place else to sleep, which is often a complaint among cat owners.
Here, they even ACKNOWLEDGE they are cats by going as far as Benny's riddle of "what has four paws, and a tail, and goes meow?"... I know they ARE cats and I know WHAT cats are and stuff... but if the show could treat them like equals to humans without question, why couldn't this? And then there's Kitty Glitter... a lame pun that you can easily assume might lead to a "saying the name wrong" pun, but fortunately, it's only used once by Brain, because he's already dim-witted and it makes perfect sense. Anyways, I found her annoying because she barely did squat compared to anyone else in the film and she has that annoying voice... and on top of that, she's not really worth much anyway.
Oh yeah, and T.C. and his gang rapping actually got on my nerves. I know I said before that modernizing it for the 80's made more sense and that the show itself is already dated, but they didn't have to do that... I found the rap and accompanying visuals practically hard to stomach because I just cannot see one of my favourite cartoon characters doing that... but the 2011 film adaptation did have cellphones, ticket reservations and rude humour unlike this, so it could've been worse.
However, I find the animation to be a somewhat bigger leap from the show's original animation. Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the studio's early years ARE known for their technique of limited animation and their abstract style, which I find appealing even if it's not as detailed as Disney animation. I feel that both the nostalgia factor and the charm and humour of the cartoons were the REAL light at the end of the tunnel. During the 1980's, their animation looked less like it was done in-house on a shoestring budget and more like it was outsourced to parts of Asia and done with more talented animators.
Here, I like the animation because it is fluid and colourful, and clearly showed more movement and personality than in the original, although it is forgivable. Being a TV movie, the animation quality is ALSO excusable.
So... all its flaws aside, it's not a very bad Top Cat film, but not a very good one either, so-so at best, but it's still better than the other Top Cat film by a long shot.
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