Movie Review: Top Cat: The Movie / Cert: U / Director: Alberto Mar / Screenplay: Kevin Seccia, Timothy McKeon / Starring: (Voices) Jason Harris, Bill Lobely, Chris Edgerly / Release Date: June 1st
Top Cat and the gang - Benny the Ball, Fancy Fancy, Choo Choo, Spook and Brains - are in hot water. Chief Strickland, New York's new head of police, is a nasty piece of work and has the feline friends and their hapless nemesis Office Dibble in his sights.
Determined to rid 'his city' of these nuisances, Strickland has TC thrown in jail on trumped up charges and locks the others out of their alley. Will the cats be able to rescue TC and save the city from Strickland and his new robot police force? With Dibble's help that's anyone's guess!
Experience should tell you that if you're looking forward to something the reality often fails to live up to expectations. Top Cat: The Movie (voiced by a band of actors you're unlikely to have heard of) is a case in point, as this animated escapade is certainly no 'Top Dog'. The main problem is that this is a film clearly selling itself on nostalgia. From the opening strains of the instantly recognisable theme tune to the familiar voices of Officer Dibble, TC and the gang, everything, including the retro-animation, smacks of the original '60s television show.
The resulting trip down memory lane may be fun for those who remember the show first time round, however it's doubtful the current generation of sophisticated children (who are after all this kind of material's prime audience) will ever have heard of the 'Cool Cat' and his fab five let alone find their brand of cliche ridden, mishap based humour amusing. The unfortunate truth is that those adults who fondly remember TC from their youth, will likely be sorely disappointed in what they see here - even with the aid of 3D glasses instead of rose tinted spectacles.
Though there are some amusing one-liners and the occasional 'wink wink' double entendre, these are few and far between. Any glimmer of interest (as with dastardly Stickland's sinister robot police force which has a distinct air of Robocop about it), is soon dashed by a story thread which may have made for a mildly diverting half hour television show, but the transparency of which is clearly obvious when spread thinly over ninety minutes on the big screen.
The animation itself, though passable, is a little ropey in places, whilst the main characters of TC and Officer Dibble lack spark. Any real fun is left to the sidekick cats (particularly Choo Choo camping it up wonderfully in a tight-fitting white polo-neck), who going on the evidence here deserve a film of their own.
Top Cat's accompanying press release says that this summer sees the return of TC 'after more than a 50-year hiatus'. After watching it you'll understand why he waited so long to make a come-back.
Expected Rating: 7 out of 10