Reviews: Felidae

Animated film noir, with cats

Felidae is about a detective who moves into a new town and discovers mysterious murders going on involving a cult, and decides he's going to do something about it. Felidae is also an animated movie about cats.

The story has many interesting twists and turns, and the character interactions are pretty fun. The cats, despite their human-like problems, act very cat-like, and travel the neighborhood much like cats do, living cat-like lives. Really, the film does a great job anthropomorphizing the characters without turning them into humanoid Funny Animals. It really feels like what you might expect from a noir film about cats.

This is definitely not a kid's movie. There's violent bloody murder, and there's a lot of cats in heat. In fact, the murders tend to involve cats who were in heat at the time.

On the other hand, the movie isn't violence all over the place, sex all over the place, etc., but instead, these elements are handled pretty well in service to the plot. It's genuinely maturely restrained, rather than feeling like it throws these things around merely to show how "mature" it is.

I do take issue with the quality of the English voice acting. The actors sound like they were expecting to be acting in a children's cartoon, despite some of the dialog that comes out of their mouths. Some of the voices are as cartoony as you'd expect from a cartoon, and the lead character sounds a little too stoic and detached from the brutal murders he's investigating. I didn't find it hugely distracting, but merely average.

On the other hand, I think this is, overall, a very well-done movie. The pacing is good, the characters fun, and the plot enjoyable, twisty and turny. The "mature" elements are handled maturely and fit naturally within the plot, and the film does a great job of believably transferring hardboiled detective mystery into the realm of animated cats. I only wish it could lift cartoons out of the Animation Age Ghetto, but sadly, it's instead simply become a Cult Classic.

Recommended for anyone who wants to see an animated movie that's truly different.