Cats Dont Dance
What would you do if you were a cat with all the talent in the world… but just because you were an animal, Hollywood wasn’t interested? This full-length animated musical tells the irresistable story of one plucky cat with enough hopes and dreams to break through the “species barrier” and get a chance at stardom. It combines a finely detailed animated delight with the excitement of a rags-to-riches fantasy, the wisecracking comedy of a Golden Era Hollywood classic and the wonderful tale of a boy (cat) – meets -girl (cat) love story.
With the musical talent of Randy Newman and cartoon veterans Mark Dindal and David Kirschner, Warner Brothers has proven the animated musical is not the soul property of that other studio. The allegory of a singing/dancing cat who breaks through the “species barrier” to become a star sends positive messages to little ones about overcoming adversity and bigotry. Danny, the Gene Kelly of felines, travels from Kokomo to become a star along side the likes of Gable, Cooper and the rest of Hollywood’s 1930s constellation. It doesn’t take long for the realities of life to set in. A prejudice exists that maintains animals are useful only as props for the human actors. They can bark, moo or meow, but to the limited thinking of those in charge, cats don’t dance. But Danny (voice of Scott Bakula) is talented and determined. With the help of fellow thespians, Sawyer, a pretty kitty (Jasmine Guy and sung by Natalie Cole), Woolie, the studio mascot (John Rhys-Davies), and Tillie, the soprano hippo (Kathy Najimy), our furry hero stages an audition for the head of Mammoth Studios. Of course, these animals can bring the house down, but that does not set well with the studio’s main star, Darla Dimple (Ashley Peldon). A demonic version of Shirley Temple, this sugar and spice cutie on the outside, is really a hater of animals. She sets up trusting Danny, and sees to it, the house really does come down. What will our nonhuman protagonists do? Will the evil Darla destroy their hopes and dreams? Will Danny win over the cynical Sawyer? Will our champion have to go back to Kokomo? Hey, it’s a fantasy. It’s gonna have a happy ending. I promise. The animation is both lively and inventive. The children at the press screening were beguiled. Good pacing and a fabulous Big Band, swinging score kept the adults entertained as well.