Danny, a small-town boy with big dreams, heads off to Hollywood to find his fortune. However, once he gets there he finds that nobody will pay attention to him despite his immense talent... And only because he's a cat.
Set in a world where human beings and sentient clothes-wearing animals live by side, Hollywood is the creme de la creme for the song and dance industry. Danny, a talented young cat from Kokomo, dreams of his name up in lights in Hollywood, and goes there to get it.
Once he actually gets to Hollywood, his dreams run into a brick wall. He learns the hard way that no one cares how talented he is, simply because he's a cat. They'd rather cater to Darla Dimple, Hollywood's biggest child star who's really just a devil in blonde curls.
But Danny's made of stronger stuff, because he doesn't give up. Instead, he rallies his new friends together to show the world that animals really do have talent.
This movie rocks.
It rocks so much.
How much does it rock? It rocks so much that I went and used it as the subject for one of my English assignments. (I also got an A+, but that's beside the point.) Cats Don't Dance is much like its main character, Danny the Cat. It's charming, sweet and looks pretty harmless, but packs one of heck of a punch if you care to look a little closer.
I stumbled on this movie purely by accident. No one recommended it to me, and I didn't read any articles or reviews about it. In fact, the time I discovered that it even existed was the day I saw it on sale at a video store, and bought it because I was bored. (That's a hint as to how cheap it was selling.) It's very rare that I buy a movie without knowing a thing about it, and Cats Don't Dance is probably the one and only time that I was rewarded for taking such a chance.
I can understand why it's not more famous than it is, really. Cats Don't Dance is horribly underestimated because it genuinely looks just like any other fun-and-dance movie, but that's far from the truth. There's a great story, an assortment of great characters and above all, great storytelling. Kids will see the chirpy fun, and slightly older kids will see the smart story behind the chirpy fun.
Oh all right, maybe I shouldn't gush so much. Cats Don't Dance isn't an epic, and it isn't a classic. But what it is is a little bottle of sunshine that never fails to make me smile.
In Cats Don't Dance, there's Danny the cat who wants to make it big in Hollywood. So the movie is basically about pursuing your dreams, but not by the traditional way of wishing and hoping that they'll be given to you on a silver platter... Definitely not, because Danny goes out and fights to get what he wants. So Danny is a little too naive but hey, everyone needs to keep an optimistic head when things get rough.
Then there's the thing about prejudice. In this movie, the animals (Danny, Sawyer, Tillie, Woollie and others) are all incredibly talented, but are ignored because they're, well, animals. So what they want to break is the species barrier -- and that easily echoes barriers that exist in the real world, whether by race, ethnicity, gender, etc. (This was the topic of the English essay I wrote. That, and the symbolic usage of colour in the movie.) I wrote about all of that once, so I guess there's no point in re-visiting it all again.
Sawyer, the girl cat featured in this movie, is my favourite female animated character ever. (I love her even more than Ariel, and that's saying something.) She is tough, smart, snarky, funny, and has an awesome speaking and singing voice. She gets some of the best dialogue in the movie, and when she sings, I'm all whoa.
There are so many bits of the movie that make me love it so. There's Darla Dimple, the delightfully over-the-top villain. There's Max, her bizarro sidekick. There's the songs, that are so fun and make me nostalgic for the musicals of old. There's the "cameos" of various olden-day stars and movie sets. There's the animation, which is bright without being childish, and so very smooth for such an understated movie. There's the charm of the rest of the cast, each with their own unexpected stage talents. Also, there's the END CREDITS which rock so very much. Whee!