Felix the Cat: The Movie
Felix the Cat: The Movie is a 1988/1989/1991 animated fantasy film directed by Tibor Hernádi and based on the cartoon and comic strip character of the same name. It was made in Europe during 1986 and 1987, but was not officially released in the United States until 1991.
This film was original meant to serve as a pilot film for the new Felix the Cat series, but due to the film's poor reception, it was canceled.
In another dimension, the villainous scientist Duke of Zill, with the help of his mechanical, geometric army, takes over the Land of Oriana, prompting Princess Oriana to send a distress signal to another dimension for help. This is picked up by Felix the Cat who must save the kingdom and restore order once again.
Why It Doesn't Make Felix Come Back
- The idea of making a film based upon the most iconic cartoon character, while interesting, was not a great idea, considering that the character hasn't been popular since the 50s, making the film feel dated.
- Compared to the smooth and detailed animation from the 1920s and 30s shorts, this film has stilted, downgraded and jumpy animation, with an oversaturation of bright colors and unnecessary fast movements.
- The plot is so confusing that it can be hard for kids and even teenagers and adults to understand what's going on. After Felix gets kidnapped, Pim hops on one of the robots in a very odd matter, and Poindexter pays the ticket vendor with wrenches to capture Felix.
- While Princess Oriana's character is shown to be "kind and sweet", there are many incidents where she shows her meaner and darker side in the film, such as how she pushes Felix aside when Felix tells her that he can help her get out of the circus (twice), and even told a story of how her father banished the Duke of Zill after a tragic accident.
- On the subject of Princess Oriana and Duke of Zill, the film's art direction also received mixed reactions from fans since the more realistic people and settings like Princess Oriana and the Duke of Zill (before being in his armor after the tragic accident) clash with Felix and the company's more cartoony aesthetics. It's very inconsistent, and while Felix The Cat (as in the original 1920s and 30s cartoon show) also had human characters, those shows at least had the human characters have cartoony appearances. In this film however, it is very glaring with its mediocre models and more realistic environments, with Princess Oriana in particular looking more like rejected Scooby-Doo, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, He-Man/She-Ra and Jem and the Hologram character, and even the Duke in his armor looks like a rejected Mysterio from Marvel Spider-Man.
- False advertising: While Felix the Cat is the main protagonist of the film and gets a fair amount of screen time, the movie focuses more on Princess Oriana, the Professor, and Poindexter.
- Forgettable and sometimes unnecessary music, most infamously the "Sly as a Fox" song, you can remove this song entirely from the film and it would change nothing.
- The intro to the film feels more like something out of Dungeons & Dragons
- Shows no respect or faithfulness to the original Felix the Cat cartoons.
- There is an inappropriate moment after a song where a baby fox tries to urinate on Felix's magic bag.
- One particularly sadistic scene where Felix is both laughing and making faces at dead bodies.
- Questionable sound mixing where music and sound effects are so loud, that it is often impossible to hear what the characters are saying. A perfect example of this is when Princess Oriana is walking with two robots, but you can't hear what she’s saying to herself over the loud pounding sound from the robots.
- It doesn't explain the origin of Felix's bag, which just shows up with no logic or reasoning. It would have been nice to have it come with an explanation about where it came from and how Felix obtained it (this also implies in the older cartoons).
- Poor editing. One example is when Oriana's servant is warning about the robot attack, the sound of the robots marching scene plays before she finishes.
- A very poorly piloted climax where Felix kills the main villain by... literally throwing a book at him.
- A CGI version of Felix's head appears at the beginning of the movie, and it is creepy, pointless, and awfully animated. Not to mention it even reappears in the credits!
- Bad lip-syncing. Grumper doesn't even close his mouth when he is talking in the beginning.
- As with Doogal and The Magic Voyage, the American dub was handled by someone who thinks children have a 1-second attention span, and so characters constantly talk even when they did not in the original script and there is nothing for them to say.
- When Felix makes his debut at Wack's circus, there is a short shot of Wack speaking with a different voice and not in English.
- Many animation errors. While in the hair forest after escaping Wack's circus, the princess is overtaken by a Headhunter. She falls and Felix asks if she is all right. In the first frame of her kneeling, she has blood on the shoulder on the left of the screen, but the next frame of her, her dress is white again.
- The movie has its own problem with its continuity during the "Who is the Boss?" music number. When the Mizards are seen climbing inside a pipe, the purple Mizard was seen going in the opening of the pipe first. In the next shot, the pink Mizard who was following the purple Mizard was changed to the purple Mizard. The following shot then corrects the color of the pink Mizard into his correct color.
- Felix's dialogue can be pretty annoying sometimes.
- While not as good as the original cartoons, there are some good funny moments here and there.
- There are great songs such as "Face to the Wind" and "Who Is the Boss" (If you take away the annoying sound of the Audience in the latter song).
- Felix's design is accurate to the 1920s cartoon.
- Two of Felix's puns: "I think I'm starting to fall for you." and "Zil Pickle".
- While very out of place in terms of design, Princess Oriana's design is also passable, beautiful, and okay.
- At least this movie is not worse than the bootleg game.
- In a way, it did warrant Felix The Cat a return in the form of The Twisted Tales Of Felix The Cat despite how bad this was
In the United States, this movie was originally slated to be released at Thanksgiving Day of 1988, but when the movie finally did make it in 1991, it was released around the same time as Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Universal/Amblin's An American Tail: Fievel Goes West and Don Bluth's Rock-A-Doodle were in theaters, and as a result, quickly bombed at the box office, earning $1,964,253 out of its estimated budget of $9 million.
It was widely panned by critics, fans, and audiences alike upon its release. The staff of Halliwell's Film Guide called it a "laboured attempt to update the classic cartoon figure." Philip Strick of MFB commented that it was "more likely to bury the ingratiating Felix beyond revival than to stimulate fresh legions of fans".
The Movie is also Doug Walker´s choice as the Fourth Worst Movie he reviewed as the Nostalgia Critic.