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Cats Don't Dance
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2003
When this film released in 1997, nobody paid attention to it, because Disney's Hercules was the animated feature film everyone assumed to be better. Many animators would prefer Cats Don't Dance over Hercules, why? It is a tap dancing musical that really plays with the art of animation. The movie is directed by Mark Dindal (Emperor's New Groove) and the choreography is by the famous broadway dancing veteran Gene Kelley! It is also the last film involves Gene Kelley. Overall, the animation is wonderful, loveable characters, and unforgettable songs. This is a movie for all ages of animation or musical fan.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2004
NOTE: Revised Grammitcally and Structurally on Saturday October 23, 2010.

A flop in its release, it now has a minor cult following, and time has shown that this film still looks and sounds good on top of having a great story and consistently fun and engaging characters.

As far as Animated Musicals go, the songs in this could rival anything from Disney(Randy Newman has done quite a bit of music for Disney). The animation is colorful and splashy and the main theme/story is inventive, which is not all too common in animated films these days (especially in 2010).

The thing I find so special about "Cats Don't Dance" is that, while at 11yrs, I enjoyed it a great deal, and thought it was a very fun and entertaining cartoon, now that I'm older I see that the themes in this film parallel that of many ethnic actors trying to break into Hollywood, particularly blacks, and with that in mind it strikes quite a resonant chord today.

Cats Don't Dance, isn't for younger children, because well, it wont hold their attention span the whole time (tried it with my 4yr nephew in 2004), even though there is a lot of slap-stick humor that kids love so much, it also depends on the child, but overall I would say this one is more for older children and adults.

In terms of an animated film, there is not much better you can do than "Cat's Don't Dance". Its story is timeless, its characters are colorful, fun, and engaging, and the music is wonderful and memorable. If you haven't seen this film, run, don't walk to get it!!!

EDIT 10/23/10: Shortly after the release of this film, animated films made a complete shift to CGI films, and for the most part, if you want quality 2D animation you have to look to a country outside of the US, which is a shame. If this film were done in CGI, it just would not have been the same, it would not have been able to evoke the times it is portraying nearly as well as it does here with 2D animation and I am always sad when I see people say things like "Oh I can't believe they made this in 2D!!! That is so antiquated!!!" I am always sitting there dumb founded when I read/hear such ignorance.

In a way, you could compare the move from Hand Drawn Animation to CGI animation to the move from Silent to Talkies or Black and White to Color, while neither of the old mediums were bad, they were, for the most part, wholly abandoned once a new technology was found. This is a shame,Hand Drawn animation STILL looks just as good as it always did, and, in my opinion, looks better than CGI 9 times out of 10 when it comes to an animated feature.

Its odd to think that in the last 10 years, Hollywood has produced more major mation pictures in something as time consuming as stop motion (which I am a huge fan of) then they did in hand drawn animation. I think with the release of "The Princess and the Frog", it at least showed that Hand Drawn animation can still make money, and that hopefully, we will see more to follow, not only from Disney, but from other main steam companies as well.

*Enjoy* & God Bless ~Amy
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2006
It may not be a classic but "Cats Don't Dance" is a fun time killer.

PLOT - It's the 1930s and no animal has been able to reach the star status of their human counterparts: Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Joan Crawford, etc. The only thing animals are wanted for is to say animal lines and do stereotypical animal things.

Then from Kokomo, Indiana comes the naive, humble but ambitious Danny (Scott Bakula, throwing out a voice that is decades younger than he actually is and doing his own singing), a fast tapping tap dancer who dreams of being the cat version of Gene Kelly or Bing Crosby, so he comes to Hollywood to seek his fortune, only to find a town full of crushed souls and broken dreams. He also runs afoul of Darla Dimple (speaking voice Ashley Peldon, singing voice Lindsay Ridgeway), a demented, narcissistic child star who is basically an evil version of Shirley Temple but pretends to be the sweet little girl image that the public has of her, which includes loving animals when she really despises them, when he tries to upstage her during the filming of "Little Ark Angel". Did I mention Darla's giant man-servant/hit man/enforcer Max? Despite the set backs, Danny becomes determined to lead an animal revolt that will lead his fellow animal performers to stardom.

Along the way, Danny befriends Pudge, a chubby little penguin just trying to get by, Cranston the crotchety goat (voice of Hal Holbrook), Frances the Marlene Dietrich style fish (voiced by the late Betty Lou Gerson, who also voiced Cruella Deville in the original 101 Dalmations), a warm hearted hippo woman named Tillie (voice of Kathy Najimy), TW Turtle (the late Don Knotts), the mentor figure Woolie the Mammoth (John Rhys-Davies), and of course, the sassy, cynical love interest Sawyer (spoken by Jasmine Guy, sung by Natalie Cole).

All of them had dreams of being song & dance stars, as Woolie explains to Danny. Tillie wanted to sing and dance, Cranston and Frances were a dancing duet, TW had dramatic pirate of penzance in his past, while Woolie himself is actually a very skilled piano player and had hopes of writing music for the movies, but instead he became the Mammoth Studios mascot, putting on giant tusks and blowing his snout at the beginning of every Mammoth Studio picture, much like the roaring lion at the beginning of the MGM films (he probably lucked out better than the others did in that respect). We even learn that Sawyer too once dreamed of song & dance stardom, as she was quite a dancer herself and had what Woolie called "the voice of an angel" (though it's really more along the lines of Diana Ross); Woolie even thought that Sawyer would be the one to break through. Woolie instructs Danny that Hollywood will never appreciate animal actors enough to give them their time in the spotlight, but this only strengthens Danny's resolve and, the next day, Danny gets Woolie and Pudge to join him in rallying the other animals together and inspiring them to fight for their right to be stars; he even gets Sawyer in on the back alley boogie, luring her into a pleasant fantasy where she gets to show off her dance moves, but she quickly breaks loose from it and tells Danny that it'll never happen.

What Danny doesn't know is that Darla is on to him and, fearing that Danny and his animal cohorts might threaten her stardom, she tricks Danny into believing that she'll help him and lets him use her sound stage to from "Little Ark Angel" to perform for studio head L.B. Mammoth (voice of George Kennedy). Danny then rallies his fellow animals together, taking Darla's advice to make it "big & loud", and even gets Sawyer in on the act, still unaware of Darla's plot to destroy him. Darla KO's Pudge and then plays havoc with the special effects on the sound stage, resulting in a giant water mass spill out that engulfs both LB and the director Flanigan, leads to much mayhem on the studio lot and a fight between Sawyer & Danny. When the animals are all unceremoniously fired, Darla shows up to add insult to injury, exposing that she was the one who gave Danny use of the sound stage, making him even less popular with his already angry cohorts. Even Woolie tells Danny to just go home. The next night while Cranston, Frances, TW and Tillie lament their woes and blame Danny for ruining their already miserable careers, Sawyer takes to the rainy streets and sings of her own disillusionment with the industry and her confused feelings for Danny, which Tillie overhears and encourages her to go catch Danny before he leaves town. Danny, depressed and dejected over the calamity he has brought unto himself and his friends, miserably boards a bus back for Kokomo, leaving behind his hat for Sawyer to find and his list for how he would succeed, which leaves Sawyer tearful, heart broken and alone.

But naturally Danny's resolve kicks back in and, with help from Pudge, he makes a desperate last ditch effort to break the barrier, by bringing his closest friends to the premiere of Darla Dimple's new film, where they sing and dance their hearts out, wowing the audience, and exposing Darla for the evil little thing that she is and destroying her career. From there Woolie, Tillie, TW, Pudge, Frances, Cranston, and of course, Sawyer & Danny, become big stars, headlining animal versions of "Superman", "Batman & Robin", "Grumpy Old Men", "The Mask", "Beetle Juice", "The Witches of Eastwick", and "Singing In The Rain", among others.

Surprisingly entertaining due to its unabashed good naturedness and breezy songs. Above average animation too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 1998
Cats Don't Dance is an excellent animated feature that breaks the mould of traditional animation. It features great animation, a talented voice cast and superb CGI graphics. Music is o.k. but not brilliant. This show won an "Annie" for "Best Animated Feature" 1997 (and it deserves it, too). END
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2002
Cats Don't Dance is a wonderful story about a simple cat from small-town nowhere, looking to make it big in Hollywood, in the late thirties. Naive as he is, he thinks it should only take him a week until he gets his first big part. But that was before he met Darla, a child-star similar to Shirley Temple, but with a much worse temper - and to top it off, she hates animals. And apparently, so does Hollywood. In Hollywood, Cats don't dance, or sing, or act; they meow, and that's it. Danny attempts to beat the odds, and become a big star. This movie is also filled will wonderful musical numbers reminiscent of the jazz age. This is a movie for adults and kids alike, but it is especially for those who enjoy accomplishing the impossible, and for those with a dream they won't deny
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Anyone who tries to break into Hollywood today will recognize this golden age portrait of the musical era. The great musical era personified by the late Howard Keel. Keel could easily have been the inspiration for the feline hero Danny, who, a la Gene Kelly, sweeps the female, serious actress Sawyer, off her feet, which she lands on, dancing up a storm. The animals of Tinseltown are treated...well, just like any other actors in the pecking order. And Miss Darla Dimple is a wicked satire on the producer/child star from hell.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2000
If you love the old musicals from the 30's 40's and 50's, then this movie is sure to win your heart. It's a beautifully simple story of Danny from Kokomo who just wants to make his dreams of being a star come true. Along the way he helps the other animals remember their dreams as well. And Darla Dimple and her butler are a kick. She's such a nasty little girl, you're rooting for the animals to make a fool out of her. Definatly one to watch with the kids. A classic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2004
This is a really cute film and I really loved it a lot when I was little. Of course now I have to fast foward through somethings since I'm 16 because it's stuff that can sometimes only be appreciated by a child. The one thing I never get tired of is the music. It's upbeat, and gets my toes tapping. I was thinking about getting the soundtrack just because the songs were that good!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2001
I'm a sucker when it comes to uplifting movies; this is about a small town cat that turns into a big movie star! But this is like my favorite movie, it's about a Cat named Danny that lives in little Kokomo, and wants to become a famous movie star. Image a 1930's time. (...) Drawing is good, there like animals, but they stand up, but very good drawing: 8.5/10 Fun, it's VERY FUN, a really good fun movie: 9.5/10 Movie play, only 1 hour and 20 minutes: 4/10 Sound, well there is lots of sound in the movie when they sing and dance: 10/10 Overall, this movie is super cool: 9.5/10, other then it being short, it is perfect. Buy it!
Voice of Danny: Scott Bakula
Voice of Sawyer:
Speaking: Jasmine Guy
Singing: Natalie Cole
Voice of Darla Dimple:
Speaking: Ashley Peldon
Singing: Lindsay Ridgeway
Voice of Max: Mark Dindal
Voice of Cranston: Hal Holbrook
Voice of Frances: Betty Lou Gerson
Voice of Pudge: Matthew Herried
Voice of Tillie: Kathy Najimy
Voice of Wollie Mammoth: John Rhys-Davies
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2012
Cat's Don't Dance is probably the most brilliant, heart-warming, outrageous animated film I've ever seen. While it may have not been a box office success in 1997, the film has been praised by critics and fans alike, featuring the brilliant voice talents of Scott Bakula (Star Trek: Enterprise) and Jasmine Guy (A Different World), and deserves the title of animated cult classic. I've instantly fell in love with this film, the characters, the animation, and the songs (especially Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now) and my favorite characters are Danny, Sawyer, (the two of them make a wonderful couple.) and Pudge. My only complaint, I wish it was 10-15 minutes longer. Anyway, it's a wonderful movie and it changed my life. I highly HIGHLY reccommend it to anyone who love animated musicals and tributes to the Golden Age of Animation.
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