Saturday, December 8, 2007
Bakshi Review: Fritz the Cat (1972)
Here is my review of the very first animated film to be rated X and the first feature film done by Ralph Bakshi. I'm not very good at this, so bear with me.
Plot: From New York City to the American Desert, a young college-age (also known back then as draft-age) cat named Fritz gets himself caught up in the politics and free love so prevalent of the 1960's.
Virtues: The satire in this film is one of the most biting in all of Bakshi's films. You just have to look at the early scenes with Fritz and the college girls and you understand the feel of the entire movie. It's one of the best satires of the 60's flower-children. Also, the characters in this movie are so very human. They show the dark underbelly of humanity (albeit in anthropomorphized animal form). There is no real villain in this movie, because everybody is an unbearable asshole, from the pig cops to the main character. Also, the animation is quite good. It's nice and cartoony, and it feels honest, if you can understand that.
Vices: For every ying, there is a yang. While the characters are very human, that's the reason there is nobody to root for. By the end of the movie, I wanted to strangle Fritz with my bare hands for how he treated his girlfriend and everybody else. He had a complete disregard for everyone's life. Besides that, there was an overabundance of over-the-top violence in his movie, especially towards the girlfriend of the heroin-addicted Neo-Nazi rabbit, a voluptuous horse-girl in the R. Crumb tradition. I felt it was all a little overdone, but the violence was very true to the sixties, so I'll leave it up to the individual viewer. A really big problem with this movie is the occasionally poor juxtaposition of sound and image. What I mean is the musical score and the animation don't always match. For example, the horse-girl is about to be savagely raped by the revolutionary terrorist group (which her boyfriend is a part of) and the music starts to build toward that moment, but the animation slows the momentum down because the characters just stop in mid-frame.
Best Scene in the Film: Any scene with Duke the Crow. A good example of race relations in the sixties. In reality, a lot of black people were not that friendly with the hippies. I think it had to do with the fact that the flower children made the cost of rent go up, and maybe the fact that the blacks thought hippies attracted a lot of bad people (drug dealers etc.). To me, he was one of the true voices of sanity in the movie. When Fritz is trying to start the riot (while very stoned), Duke tries to calm the crowd down, knowing that a riot will not help anything. It was just too bad that he got killed.
Overall grade: 7.5 out of 10
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