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Top Cat: The Movie

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Top Cat: The Movie
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The cat is back. And he’s not looking so tip-top.
Directed By: Alberto Mar
Produced By: Fernando de Fuentes
Jose C. Garcia de Letona
José Luis Massa
Written By: Tim Mckeon
Kevin Seccia
Based On: Top Cat
Starring: Jason Harris
Chris Edgerly
Matt Piazzi
Bill Lobley
Benjamin Diskin
Danny Trejo (U.S. version)
Rob Schneider (U.S. version only)
Cinematography: Color
Distributed By: Warner Bros. Pictures (UK/Mexico)
Vertigo Films (UK)
Viva Pictures (U.S.)
Release Date: September 16, 2011 (Mexico)
June 1, 2012 (United Kingdom)
August 2, 2013 (United States)
Runtime: 91 minutes
Country: Mexico
United States
Language: English
Spanish
Box Office: MX$112.25 ($14.7 million)
Franchise: Top Cat
Prequel: Top Cat Begins (chronologically)
Sequel: Top Cat Begins (release date)


Top Cat: The Movie (known in Spanish as Don Gato y su Pandilla, translates to Top Cat and his Gang) is a 2011 Mexican animated film based on Top Cat, a Hanna-Barbera cartoon from 1961 to 1962 of the same name. Animated by Ánima Estudios and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It was first released on September 16, 2011 in Mexico, followed by a release in the United Kingdom on June 1, 2012, and a North American release on August 2, 2013 on both select cinemas and VOD, which is being distributed by Viva Pictures.

This article will focus on the English dub, as the Mexican/Spanish dub of the film is considered much better than the English dub.

Plot

A new police officer called Lou Strickland is hired due to Dibble's poor performance with his attempt to prevent Top Cat's schemes. So Strickland replaces the employees with robots and puts up to new strict laws, and frames Top Cat for a crime he didn’t commit, which is stealing money from an orphanage, so it's to Top Cat and his Gang, with Dibble, to clear TC's name and stop Strickland from taking over the city.

Why The Cat Shouldn't Come Back

  1. The animation looks pretty terrible, even for foreign film standards, with most of the animations/characters' movements looking awkward looking and not that smooth. Just by looking at the art style, this may confuse some people into thinking this film was hand-drawn or Toon Boom-animated when in reality, the film actually uses Adobe Flash for 2D animation, which isn't suitable for a theatrical animated movie. The CGI backgrounds are even worse than the Flash animation, with them looking like something from a Dreamcast game than a 2011 animated movie, not to mention, they are very dull and gloomy for the most part, which kinda clashes poorly with the colorful designs of the characters.
  2. Dreadful humor, with a big example being the schemes, which are heavily downgraded from the show because they aren't clever or funny, and that for the scheme to work, the movie has to treat the victims like idiots with a low IQ, such as Top Cat telling Griswald that he is actually a cat and not a dog, to which Griswald immediately believes him for some reason without thinking twice.
    • The other humor isn't much better and is mostly predictable, such as when Top Cat is running from Griswald, Griswald says “I really hate birds!” for no reason, then he covers in cement later, and guess what happens? Birds then go on Griswald. Not only was it a very forced joke, but it makes no sense why Griswald would say he hates birds when he chasing a cat.
  3. Poor voice acting, with most of the actors not even trying to sound like the original characters (except for a few), and the other characters voices sound poor (such as Griswald and Trixie) or just plain annoying (such as Strickland)
  4. Lou Strickland is an atrocious villain who has no redeeming qualities. The biggest problem with him is that he is very unlikeable and not once shows kindness to people around him, and he has only one running gag, where it's him thinking he's beautiful when he isn't, and that's the only gag they do with him, plus, he gets way too much screentime, almost on par with Top Cat's screentime, making his character worse. It also doesn't help that he is voiced in the American release by Rob Schneider, who has a tracking record on bad animated films.
  5. Most of the characters are portrayed as idiotic morons. A big example would be when Strickland is now the new officer and starts putting up the strict laws and robot employees, no one even gets suspicious of him and realize that he's really a bad guy trying to take over the world. Top Cat's gang also suffers from this suffering, since they just act like Top Cat did commit the crime, and not one of them decides to put their finger up and tell them the truth, until much later. But the worst one is Trixie, Strickland's sidekick because despite her being part of framing Top Cat and being with Strickland, she's somehow shocked over that Strickland is actually evil. How do you realize he's a bad guy now even though you helped him frame Top Cat and was involved with Strickland putting up the new regulations?
  6. There's a sub-plot about a romance between Trixie and Top Cat, but it's poorly made because both have little chemistry with each other, and that it barely is brought up in the story at all, making it feel like a wasted sub-plot.
  7. The film feels like it needs to shove down a message on how technology is bad. Since they treat technology as something terrible and exaggerate it, because the movie shows you that technology causes jobs to be lost, ruining a person's life, and serving as a tool of evil when that clearly isn't the case, the way technology is used also comes off as shallow and half-hearted, since it refuses to go deeper into how technology works, making it harder to actually follow the anti-technology message.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The intro is a nice callback to the original show, helping is that the original theme is still here with some new tricks and stuff that doesn't feel like a rehash.
  2. The show Top Cat - which this movie and Top Cat Begins are based upon - is good, and it is only these movies that are terrible.
  3. Granted, the Spanish dub is better than the English one.
  4. The designs for Top Cat and the other returning characters from the show are at least accurate to the original cartoon.

Reception

While the Spanish dub was well received in Latin America (especially Mexico), the English dub received negative reviews in both the US and the UK.

Rotten Tomatoes gave the US dub a 14% with an audience score of 20% based on 14 reviews, while the UK version has an audience score of 30%.

IMDb gave the film a 4.7/10 out of 26 user reviews.

Box Office

Mexico

Top Cat: The Movie was a box office success in Mexico, having one of the biggest box office openings in that country, with it earning MX$40.7 million ($3.3 million) on its opening weekend, it remained at number one on its second weekend, with it earning MX$36.2 million ($1.8 million). At the end of its theatrical run, the film earned MX$112.25 million ($8.2 million).

United Kingdom

Top Cat: The Movie placed seventh on its opening weekend, pulling in £509,590 ($702,530). Despite the low opening, the film increased by 22.9% on its second weekend, with it grossing £626,050 ($863,083) and finishing at sixth. Overall, it grossed £3,313,636 ($4,567,698) in that country and was a box office success.

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