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Top Cat: The Movie - Review

Top Cat: The Movie

Review by Jason Palmer

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

TO describe Top Cat‘s big screen debut as unexpected is certainly an understatement. The popular Hanna Barbera cartoon series from 1961 only ran for a deceptively short 30 episodes but through the wonders of syndication he became famous throughout the world.

This time around we have Mexico to thank for the resurrection of TC and his alley cat buddies who are still hugely popular out there (which is both bizarre and sweet in equal measure).

The film has been made entirely with a South American workforce too and has been dubbed into English for the western market, presumably to provide a cheap slot-in for Warner Bros’ summer release schedule.

The film achieves an odd mix of classic-looking 2D animation blanketed in a 3D city. The plot is very simple too so everyone should be able to follow it regardless of age.

A corrupt police official decides to clean up the city and cut expenditure using technology to replace the police workforce. This doesn’t bode well for Officer Dibble or Top Cat and his crew who are slowly disbanded and driven out of their beloved alleyway.

The film plays out like an extended episode and really doesn’t have anything that warrants its release on the big screen. The 3D feels more like cut-scenes used in video games and the plot really hasn’t changed from the 1960’s.

Top Cat and his wiseguy gangster crew will certainly seem outdated to some. The film is amusing for an older generation who remember all this but is perplexing to a younger target audience – which ultimately renders this movie as a bit pointless.

For the generation that grew up with him, Top Cat: The Movie delivers for a fun and amusing trip down memory lane. Kids who have no emotional attachment will go down one of two roads.

They’ll either love the simple hijinks of a street-smart cat or, more likely, they’ll get distracted by products more in tune with modern trends – something more colourful, loud and epilepsy-inducing.

So, Top Cat: The Movie is a fun watch that sadly has arrived about 20 years too late. Times have changed and while his adventures are certainly entertaining they don’t warrant the big screen treatment anymore, which is sad in a way.

Cliched though it may be, it really was a simpler time back then with audiences more receptive to this kind of comedy. The 3D element looks pretty but is ultimately fruitless – all it does is date the concept even more.

Top Cat would have suited ‘straight to DVD’ much more comfortably over here but if you wish to show your kids just how good, old-fashioned cartoons used to be made, check this out. Or perhaps relocate to South America.

Certificate: U
Running time: 90mins
UK Release Date: June 1, 2012