Foreign animated film have always been a hit or miss with me. Though I couldn't quite understand the fascination with The Triplets of Belville, I very much enjoyed The Illusionist. When I fell asleep during Spirited Away, it didn't defer me from watching and loving Ponyo. You get the idea. I will never turn away from the opportunity to watch a story come to life through the art that is classic animation. It was during the French domination of the 2012 Oscars that I became aware of a film called A Cat in Paris and, with the new Blu-ray, I finally had the opportunity to watch it.
Directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol, A Cat in Paris tells the story of Dino. He is a cat who spends his days with a sad little girl, Zoe, in her house and his nights with a sneaky, yet kind hearted burglar named Nico. Zoe has stopped speaking completely after the murder of her cop father while pining for the attention of her detective mother, who is constantly working. The adventure begins when Dino accidentally drags Zoe into the hands of dangerous gangsters when he brings home a valuable bracelet that Nico has stolen.
First of all, this film looks great. Watching it brings to the surface an excitement as if seeing color for the first time again on film. While the animation is simple, the atmosphere and tone make it just like watching a storybook move. There is a warmth and texture that keep the story inviting even in its darker moments.
The story, itself, through nothing particularly new or exciting, still entertains and the vocal cast (both English and French) genuinely deliver. The French version has such recognizable voices as Dominique Blanc and 60's French film star, Bernadette Lafont. Likewise, the English speaking voices shine with the likes of Anjelica Huston, Marcia Gay Harden, and Steve Blum. Some of the more silly aspects of the dialogue are meant to make the story more understandable to children, yet the mature themes (if not the visuals, alone) will keep adults watching. Combine all this with a heart warming ending and the whole family is satisfied. Worthy of its Oscar nomination, A Cat in Paris reminds us of the charm of animated film and why we should keep it going.
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