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Western Animation / Cassiopeia

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Cassiopeia is a Brazilian feature-length CGI animated feature released in 1996, three months after the release of Toy Story.

The film follows a group of alien heroes contacted by a planet called Ateneia located in the Cassiopeia constellation, which is under attack by a fleet of lifeforce-draining invaders, facing many perils and meeting a new friend along the way.

While the movie was released in 1996, production was started as early as 1992, with over 17 computers used to generate the 3D animation and model rendering for each scene. A lengthy trial process coupled with some of the computers being stolen during post-production - meaning several scenes had to be reanimated - delayed the movie's release by a wide margin. This has set off quite a few debates over whether or not this means Cassiopeia can be legitimately considered the first feature-length film entirely animated in CGI, even before Toy Story (whose production started in 1993).

Cassiopeia provides examples of:

  • Bittersweet Ending: Liza, through Galileo, sacrifices herself to become a moon whose celestial body is able to reflect light energy back to Ateneia, powering up Leonardo's light cannon and allowing them to destroy the invaders' communication block around the planet's sector, which in turn lets the Central Galactic Council's fleet arrive to arrest them.
  • Big Bad: Commander Shadowseat, the invaders' leader.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Perhaps due to the animation's limits at the time, none of the alien characters of the movie have legs, instead floating just above the ground or slithering in the case of the villains. Leonardo comes the closest to having any sort of ground-based movement through a monocycle-like appendage.
    • The invaders have insect-like elements to their design as well, with long fleshy "tails", clamping pincers on their mouths and large eyes.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: How Chip and Chop deal with the invaders' attack ships, by using a "transfer beam" to remove their laser cannons and offensive components.
  • Brain Monster: The invaders have huge, bulbous heads with visible veins.
  • Deus ex Machina: Galileo, Leonardo's tiny silent friend, is the one who transforms Liza into a moon. No reason is given as to how he's able to do this or why, with Leonardo only being able to explain it as "things from his planet of origin".
    • Before that, an impromptu musical break - which no character reacted to before - is what clues the main four in on how to locate Ateneia in the system they're in.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Shadowseat and one of his more competent captains both have very deep, intimidating voices. Made worse on the former's case, as he's also constantly growling in anger like an animal.
  • Foreshadowing: Leonardo is shown in his introduction to be very tech-savvy even when it's too advanced for his homeworld. Guess who comes to the heroes' aid in the climax?
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Chip (Sanguine) is the nervous, easily-excitable gunman of the four, also filling the role of Plucky Comic Relief;
    • Chop (Choleric) is the highly-determined and passionate captain of the crew;
    • Thot (Melancholic) is the analytical, forward-planning strategist;
    • Feel (Phlegmatic) is the quiet, gentle-speaking auxiliary.
  • Ghost Planet: Ateneia becomes a dark, decaying red color with brown spots as it slowly goes into hibernation from its loss of energy. The invaders plan on keeping it like that for good.
  • Gratuitous Animal Sidekick: Galileo, Leonardo's "friend" from another world who behaves very simplistically, but is intelligent enough to communicate non-verbally and think for itself. The two Ateneia pets Dip and Lip fit the trope more closely.
  • Martial Pacifist: The heroes' weapons are all meant to stun or incapacitate enemies rather than flat-out destroy them due to the movie's overall theme of non-violence. During the climax, Feel is even shocked that Leonardo has come to their rescue using what seems to be extermination weapons until he states that he had them modified.
  • Meaningful Name: Leonardo and Galileo, who live in a world where only a few of the inhabitants are aware of other planets and sciences, with one being a Gadgeteer Genius and the other having Cosmic Motifs. The former even paints a picture in honor of a woman named Liza. Sound familiar?
  • Melancholy Musical Number: The end of the movie's second act has an impromptu musical break with lyrics referencing the heroes trying desperately to find the planet that needs their help. It ends up helping them find Ateneia, despite no character referencing the song or acknowledging it during its sequence.
  • One-Man Army: The climax of the movie, with Chip and Chop facing most of the invaders' fleet on their own until Leonardo arrives.
  • Power Parasite: The invaders' species seem to be able to do this through their technology, sapping away a planet's lifeforce until it's completely dead.
  • Technobabble: All throughout the film.
  • Small, Secluded World: Leonardo's homeworld is described as an "isolation" planet, where its inhabitants still haven't figured out the technology necessary for anti-gravitational movement, and he himself mentions only a few of them are aware of other planets beyond their system, or even that they're populated as well.
  • Vampiric Draining: The invaders' main tactic, penetrating solar systems and draining the energy of any planet in the vicinity. Ateneia just happened to be the unlucky victim closest to their draining radius, despite them not knowing of the planet's location beforehand.
  • We Have Reserves: The heroes' ship is capable of miniaturizing replicas of itself and storing them in case the current ship is about to be destroyed. They lose two of the same ship through the movie's runtime.