You’re the top!/ You’re an arrow collar /You’re the top! /You’re a Coolidge dollar,You’re the nimble tread / Of the feet of Fred Astaire/You’re an O’Neill drama…
Well then. Fred Astaire starred in Top Hat whereas Top Cat, a flash animated feature reboot of one of the world’s best loved TV cartoon series from HANNA BARBARA, doesn’t recall Eugene O’Neill, but it does, as scripted by Kevin Seccia and Timothy McKeon, take a socio-political spin in showing viewers how a gang of stray cats get the better of the corrupt corporate-cop nexus.
Top Cat purrs into Indian widescreens in 3D and 2D. I watched it in the latter format at a press preview in the Eros mini which brought back memories of shows at other single screen theatres in the city and in Goa and our parish hall on Sundays when the parish priest would screen cartoons (Tom and Jerry) musicals ( Seven Brides for Seven Brothers ) and Bible-based dramas ( The Robe, Samson & Delilah ) from a noisy old hand-cranked projector. Psst, the film under review is devoid of CGI-heavy visuals, and the 2D version might entertain old timers with a sci-fi thriller plot in which TC and the Gang of Four terminate holograms ( a bit like those in The 6th Day )
Directed by Alberto Mar for Spanish speaking viewers and dubbed to English for a wider audience, Top Cat: The Movie sees the return of a host of lovable characters from the original cartoon, including the hot tempered dog, Griswald and the wealthy and generous to fault, Maharaja of Pookajee. Now, Top Cat and his street smart buddies Benny, Brains, Chooch and Fancy face a new menace in the form of a tech-savvy fiend who wants to turn the town into a police state controlled by a robot army.
Compared to this evil man, TC’s old nemesis, the neighbourhood cop, Dibble is a saint. Still, both want to evict the felines from their much-loved gully. But then Officer Dibble is framed by the new police chief whose Girl Friday, Trixie just happens to be TC’s love interest. Trixie is in cahoots with the Nasty Fraud but later, sees the light and even helps the feisty felines to outwit and outsmart the despot. Purrr.
Jason Harris voices most of the characters who mostly speak in silly one-liners. Sorry, Top Cat’s not in the same league as Winnie The Pooh, not to speak of Magadascar or Ice Age. But, it’s the only child-friendly film in this festive season.