Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Cat in Paris (non-Japanese animation, movie), via Netflix

A Cat in Paris (Une vie de chat) is a French children's adventure movie. The main characters are a little girl named Zoe, her mother, a thief named Nico, Zoe's cat, and Victor Costa. Zoe's mother is a cop, and so was her father. Costa killed Zoe's father, and Zoe hasn't said a word since then. Zoe's mother desperately wants to reconnect with her daughter, but she's battling her own demons, in the form of her desire to catch Costa. Zoe's cat goes out every night and, one night, Zoe follows. It's then that Zoe learns her cat is also a thief's assistant.

I had this movie in my Netflix queue for a while before finally watching it, because the style of artwork in the thumbnail didn't appeal to me. I'm glad I did watch it, though, because it was so much fun!

The visuals were the sort I'm more used to seeing in paintings than animation and took while to grow on me. However, I came to enjoy them. I loved that Nico moved differently than Costa and his gang – Nico was more agile, and he sometimes became almost boneless, flowing from one hiding place to the next. Some of the scenes were very clever, such as one that showed Nico moving through a completely dark building. I also loved the scene near the end of the movie, in which Nico tried to evade Costa and climb to safety while dangling from parts of a cathedral. The colors were gorgeous, and the action was wonderful.

Anime lovers, take note: Steve Blum, who has voiced Cowboy Bebop's Spike Spiegel, Naruto's Orochimaru and Zabuza, and many, many other characters, voices Nico. I hadn't realized that going in, so, when I recognized him, there was much fangirl joy on my part.

Netflix doesn't give the option of watching this in French with English subtitles, so I don't know how it compares to the English dub. The English voice acting sounded really good to me, though, even after I got over my initial “yay, Steve Blum!” reaction.

Pretty much the only thing I didn't quite like about this movie was the romance shoe-horned in at the end, between Nico and Zoe's mother. I could see it coming, in the way they met each other's eyes after all the action was over, but it didn't really make sense. Yes, Zoe trusted Nico, but Zoe's mother was a cop, Nico was a thief, and I got the impression that Zoe's father hadn't died that long ago. The movie skipped any attempt to explain how romance might be possible and just jumped forward a few months to show the happy family. Does that mean Nico quit being a thief and everyone turned a blind eye to his crimes? (And yes, I know, it's a children's movie and I'm probably overthinking it.)

All in all, this was a wonderful movie, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a light, fun adventure.

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