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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Nov 29: A Cat in Paris


Nov 29: A Cat in Paris

"In Paris, a cat who lives a secret life as a cat burglar's aide must come to the rescue of Zoe, the little girl he lives with, after she falls into a gangster's clutches."
Directed by: Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol, Rated: PG, 70 minutes

Last year, A Cat in Paris was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature of the Year. While it's competition wasn't the greatest of films, the movie definitely was able to stand on its own amid the mix as a little French flick with stellar hand-drawn animation and a jazzy score that makes you move. It's visually engaging and really makes you appreciate its style, but the film does get a bit boring after a bit. Luckily, the visuals keep things interesting and leave you more overwhelmed with nostalgia than anything else.

It's pretty... pretty. 

Zoe, a little girl in Paris, hasn't said a word since her father died at the hands of the gangster Victor Costa. Her mother, Jeanne (Marcia Gay Harden) is a cop who's obsessed with getting her vengeance for her husband's death but also has to deal with a cat burglar, Nico, who's stealing precious jewels and artifacts all around the city. Zoe's cat, Dino, seems to be the only joy in the little girl's life at the time and he continually brings her home little treats (dead lizards, diamond bracelets). Little does Zoe know, Dino is actually an accomplice to the burglar, helping him get through alarms and warning him when someone is near. After Zoe is kidnapped by Costa, Dino finds a way to get Nico to help save her, and must figure out a way to get the aid of Jeanne as well, even though he's one of her prime targets.

It plays out a lot like a children's book you'd find in the corner of the kids section at the library. 

A Cat in Paris' animation style is beautiful. Hand drawn with paint and ink, you're left in awe thinking you're watching something from the days of the past. The movement and color is both vibrant and full of energy and the music that accompanies it gives the movie a feeling of being cool. The jazz music that dances with the visuals only adds to the mood and you're left with a laid back, easy-listening vibe. It's certainly the biggest strength for the film and you really could watch it all day. The movie is certainly for kids (with only a couple of moments for adults) and the style reminds of you something you'd watch on PBS growing up. It's sophisticated on its own level and is a valuable piece of cinema that calls back to the past.

Nico moves like a dancer in the dark, stretching and swimming through the rooftops at night. 

Even though A Cat in Paris has moments that leave you a bit bored, the visuals are a masterpiece of its own kind. I would definitely recommend watching the movie for the animation alone and if you're a fan of anything of the past or the classic in the genre, you're in for a treat. Beautiful on levels you haven't seen for years, A Cat in Paris is the perfect remedy to the countless 3D CGI animated movies that litter the theaters these days. It's a work of art that needs to be watched, and even if you get bored, it is only 71 minutes. But I think then, even after it's over, you'll know that you've watched something special. 

The Good:
incredible animation, hand-drawn and painted that leaves you all sorts of amazed
The Bad:
moments of the story drag on a bit and leave you a little bored
The Ugly:
wondering why there are not more movies like this made these days and if old style animation is really dead

Overall: 7.5/10

Discussion Question: 
What recent movies remind of you animation styles of the past? Is the art dead or just buried in the ground, sleeping for awhile?


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At November 30, 2012 at 9:41 AM , OpenID said...

I was really keen to see this but it dropped off my radar. Definitely want to give this a go though at some point though. Frankenweenie reminded me somewhat of yesteryear with its stop-motion, it's not something that's done a huge amount anymore.

At November 30, 2012 at 10:18 AM , Blogger Nick said...

It's on Netflix instant!

At November 30, 2012 at 10:46 AM , Blogger Shane said...

One of the big ones that comes to mind was The Princess and the Frog, but you're talking that was 2009. Nothing too great recently.


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