Cats Don't Dance

Posted by: |

To head off any commentary:

I like animated movies, and I am 27 years old. I too thought this was some stupid-looking knockoff when I first became aware of it.

On with the review. My friend Tom, who is an animator by trade, recommended this movie to me, and I generally trust his movie-going instincts. Now, it’s no Toy Story, nor is it Meet The Feebles, but it is actually quite entertaining, very well executed, and interesting.

On some scenes I thought, “There is no way a kid could catch all these jokes” – there are scads of adult jokes and plenty of kid friendly ones too, but nothing so lame as anything in the ABC prime time lineup. The music (by Randy Newman, the man who ruined Toy Story for me) was nice and toe-tapping, the artwork was really very interesting – if you suffered through Space Jam, you HAVE to see this movie just to restore your faith in animated physical comedy. What Warner Brothers *used* to be, in their finest moments, Cats Don’t Dance comes close enough.

It’s about a tabby named Danny (voiced by Scott Bakula – oh boy. But he can sing!) who comes to Hollywood in the 40’s with a dream to be in the movies – only Hollywood would never let an animal perform song and dance. He meets up with a bunch of other animals who tell him to give up, and basically talks them out of their bad attitude and everybody’s happy.

One of the best parts of the film is the villain, a Shirley Temple-meets-Joan Crawford child star with a giant ape of a manservant, Max – who is really really really funny. She is everything bad about Hollywood and she’s great.

It’s really very true to the old school of Warner Toons (it’s a Warner Picture, as well!) and for all you out there in the dark who are still mad at how Bugs Bunny has ruined his formerly cool image, I think you will appreciate it. I did. The kids in the audience really liked it too – they were quiet, but I heard one say, “Can we see it again!!!!!” and another clapped and clapped. For you fuddy duddies out there who think cartoons are for kids, I don’t know when the last time you saw a cartoon was, but movie cartoons have never been for kids. Classic Bugs Bunny shorts were made for adults and the 90’s wave of Disney treasures, while marketed for kids, are definitely adult-savvy. Drop your “I’m too old for this nonsense” façade and go enjoy yourself. Movie musicals are practically dead except in animated form, and really, after all the live-action dreck that passes for cinema these days, you will appreciate the thought, planning and care that goes into these films. Animation is not just Scooby Doo! Space Jam is a painful exception, made by fuddy duddies who think animation is for kids. Do NOT see Space Jam. I would be overjoyed to make you a list of the good ones.

MPAA Rating G
Release date 5/19/1997
Time in minutes 76
Director Warner Bros.
Studio Mark Dindal