Monday, April 29, 2013

A Cat in Paris

I finally caught up with this film on DVD and I'd say it's a mixed bag.  The best thing about it is the design, which seems influenced by Lorenzo Mattotti.  It's a relief to see a drawn feature that isn't imitating a too-familiar animation style.

The next best thing is the direction, which is taut.  The suspense works well and the chase scenes are exciting.

The story, however, is typical of a TV cop show.  It's literally cops and robbers stuff.  The only ambiguity is the cat burglar, whose personality is never developed well enough to explain why he's stealing in the first place or why a child's welfare is enough to cause him to change his plans.  The real villain, Costa, is pure cardboard.  He's exactly the kind of villain that animation too often falls back on: someone who is nasty with no explanation and surrounds himself with incompetent, comedy-relief henchmen.

The woman police officer is the only character who is really motivated.  Besides needing to catch criminals for her job, she has a personal stake in catching Costa, who murdered her husband.

If all the characters had been developed to the same level, the film would be more interesting.  The graphics, direction and pacing certainly make watching it a pleasant experience and Europe continues to show that drawn animation has possibilities that North America has ignored.  But the film itself doesn't live up to its design.

This is the directors' first feature.  Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol are currently working on Phantom Boy, due for release in 2015.  While the story is another cops and robbers tale, there's enough promise in A Cat in Paris that I'm looking forward to it. 

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