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Western Animation / Felix the Cat: The Movie

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Featuring Felix, all his wacky friends, and a lot of Deranged Animation.

Felix the Cat: The Movie is a feature-length film from The Renaissance Age of Animation, starring Felix the Cat (specifically, the Joe Oriolo incarnation of the character) a Funny Animal who walks the earth and happens to own a Magic Bag of Tricks. He travels into another dimension after being summoned by a sentient teardrop to save the Kingdom of Oriana and its Princess from her Evil Uncle, the Duke of Zill, and his army of robotic cylinders.

The film was produced to rejuvenate interest in the Felix the Cat series by Joe Oriolo's son, Don Oriolo, who at the time was largely working in the music business at the time. In the mid '80s, the series had become all but forgotten in the mainstream, to the degree of having exactly one license to its name. He wrote the story and intended his father to direct it, but Joe's poor health forced Don to enter the animation business to see the film finished himself. It was animated by Pannonia Film Studio in Hungary, and directed by Tibor Hernádi. The film is estimated to have been completed in 1986 or 1987 (which the heavily mid-'80s soundtrack arguably reveals), but it only received limited release in 1988 and 1989, finally getting a proper U.S. release in August 1991. The film tanked miserably at the box office, but it aired frequently on the Disney Channel for a few years afterward; along with subsequent VHS re-releases, this allowed the film to gain a small following. For better or worse, the film did succeed in its goal of getting Felix back into the public consciousness to a degree, as tie-ins like video games, comic books and even a brand new Felix show would follow in its wake.

Felix the Cat: The Movie provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Felix's disembodied head in the opening and in the end credits.
  • All That Glitters: Played razor straight in the ending. The professor tries to sneak gold back into his world through the dimensporter, only for Oriana to tell him that the device can't transport gold, and then tells Felix that she's pretty sure his gold can be transported. He says he doesn't have any gold, but she insists that he does: a heart of gold.
  • Another Dimension: Where the land of Oriana is located.
  • Anti-Climax: The Final Battle ends abruptly by way of Felix throwing the Book of Ultimate Power at the Duke's Master Cylinder.
  • As You Know:
    • The Professor says to Poindexter, "Yes! That bag! I've always wanted that bag!" But, he says it in a manner that sounds like it's more for the audience's benefit.
    • Earlier in the film, Grumper reminded Oriana that because she disbanded weapons and their army from the kingdom, they're now vulnerable and defenseless. Oriana explicitly told him she didn't need to be reminded, presumably out of annoyance.
  • Awesome Backpack: Felix's bag of tricks can turn into just about anything the plot calls for.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Felix and the group briefly have this when going through a cavern in the hair terrain.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The movie is never brought up outside of maybe a historical handwave from the creators, and none of the movie's characters appear in merchandising. Animator John Canemaker's comprehensive history book on the series, Felix: The Twisted Tale of the World's Most Famous Cat, doesn't even acknowledge the existence of this movie.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: When Felix journeys through the swamp, a reptilian creature rises out of the water and watches him go by ominously, but never attacks him. Guess what the Professor and Poindexter run into and have to defeat when they come through later?
  • Cobweb of Disuse: The dimensional transporter that Oriana has contains cobwebs all over it to indicate this trope.
  • Company Cross References: The "Sly as a Fox" musical number. Pannonia Film Studio actually did make a movie about foxes.
  • Cool Ship: The Professor and Pointdexter's transforming ship.
  • Covers Always Lie: Just look at how colorful and upbeat that poster is. Outside of the brief glimpses of Felix's world, the entire film is NOTHING like that.
  • Crapsack World: Oriana is reduced to an apocalyptic wasteland when the Duke takes over. The Land of Zill is a hell hole that the Duke made worse. From what we can see, Oriana gets covered in large crystals.
  • Creator Cameo: Don Oriolo voices the monster who appears out of nowhere and quotes A Streetcar Named Desire late in the film.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: Averted with the family of foxes Felix encounters early in the film who can't find him hiding under the bag. Mocked with the accompanying "Sly as a Fox" song.
  • Death World: Zill is inhabited by Always Chaotic Evil sentient reptiles, sadistic cannibal giants that can detach their heads, dragons and the entire landscape of Oriana is constantly covered in a downpour of rapidly-growing crystals.
  • Deranged Animation: Especially the part early in the film where Felix is underwater. If one of the film's goals was to capture the surreal nature of the original shorts, it did its job a bit too well.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: The Master Cylinder, who was a minor villain in the Felix TV cartoons, makes a decidedly abrupt, completely out-of-left-field appearance for the final battle, now a heavily souped up weapon of the Duke of Zill. It isn't explained how or why he was brought into the dimension of Oriana (since the Duke clearly does not have access to Dimensporter technology, nor would it explain how he could have found the Master Cylinder, since he lives on the moon) in the first place, or if he even has any connection to the Duke's own cylinders.
  • Disney Villain Death: Wack Lizardi, who falls from a great height and onto his circus, taking it with him.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: When the Duke finally gets his hands on the Book of Ultimate Power, he is disgusted to find that its writings are of "Truth, Love, and Wisdom", believing that it's worthless and that he spent years seeking it for nothing.
  • Eye Beams: When Felix transforms his bag by looking at it, and beams of light shoot out of his eyes.
  • The Faceless: The Duke of Zill. Oddly, one trailer for the film shows that the Duke's eyes were supposed to be originally visible, but this was cut from the movie. His original human form is shown in flashback, though.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Felix would have finished the hero work a lot more quickly if he took more advantage of what the Bag of Tricks could do.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Most likely an unintentional example, but during one of his speeches to his audience, there is one very brief moment where it almost looks like Wack Lizardi is flipping everyone off.
  • Freudian Excuse: The Duke was possibly driven insane by the accident that left him permanently trapped inside a life support suit.
  • The Ghost: Though mentioned several times, the populace of Oriana are never actually shown.
  • A God Am I: The sentient reptiles and amphibians that inhabit Zill believed that the Duke of Zill was a god who had come to help them when he was banished there. He took full advantage of it. He wants Oriana's Book of Ultimate Power to become the real deal.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: The Book of Ultimate Power is made of gold.
  • The Good Kingdom: Oriana, which was once a warrior empire but has turned away from its old ways and sealed away its old weapons and secrets to be a peaceful and prosperous nation whose army was only for ceremonial purposes. The Duke didn't like that...
  • Heel–Face Turn: Pim, the hunter Felix meets early on in the film, eventually sides with the heroes after he decides he's sick of Lizardi ordering him around.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Master Cylinder, during the final battle.
  • Karmic Death: The Duke of Zill, who dies when the Master Cylinder malfunctions and falls over on him.
  • Keystone Army: Throwing the book at the Master Cylinder somehow causes the entire cylinder and cube army to go down with it. Poindexter believes that the reason for this was because the book's binding had an adverse affect on the Master Cylinder, and that the rest of the army was destroyed because they derived their power from it. Felix figures there's more to it than that.
  • Ladies and Germs: At one point when announcing his new attraction, Wack Lizardi addresses his audience as, "Ladies, gentlemen, reptiles!"
  • Large Ham:
    • The Duke of Zill speaks very loudly and dramatically.
    • As well as Oriana's oracle, Ms. Pearl. "A black duck on a green planet!", anyone?
    • Wack Lizardi also comes off as quite hammy, especially when he overemphasizes his lisp.
  • Lizard Folk: Lizardi and most of the inhabitants of Progress City.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: This happens twice to Princess Oriana's theme song "Face to the Wind". Neither the original version nor the one that contains Felix's saxophone solo is heard in its entirety, and both times large chunks of the song are covered up by background noise and talking. Fortunately, the full song was released on iTunes (though without Felix's sax) with the rest of the original soundtrack.
  • Meaningful Name: Both subverted and played straight with Progress City. Subverted because, despite the name, it's a rundown hellhole of a city in the middle of a polluted swampland. But then if you consider that The Duke wants Oriana to be under his complete control with the subjects idolizing him like a god, Progress City ends up fitting his idea of progress.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Cylinders are robotic goons.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Pim joins Felix and Oriana after being fed up with Wack bossing him around like "a puppet on a string".
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The Mizzards are fusions of lizard and mouse. There's also what appears to be a hippo-rhino as one of the performers in the cells.
  • Mood Dissonance: All Felix can do to a skull he finds in the mineshaft is say this:
    Felix: Boy, could you use a Big Mac! Uwahahahahaha!
  • Mood Whiplash: The upbeat Villain Song "Who is the Boss" almost makes us forget that Oriana and her kingdom is in danger. That is until they showed a dissolve effect of her crying near the end of the show.
  • The Movie: The first feature-length film to feature Felix the Cat.
  • Mythology Gag: When the Duke of Zill is describing the Master Cylinder he is about to sic on the heroes, he compares the new design to a drawing of the original Master Cylinder from the '60s Felix cartoon (which is drawn in a completely different art style than the new model). The Duke's backstory is also a callback to that of the original Master Cylinder's origin—he was a scientific pupil of Professor, and Cylinder's original body was completely destroyed in a chemistry lab accident, forcing his brain to be put into a robotic body. In the Movie, the Duke is severely injured when his prototype Cylinder explodes in his face, forcing him to wear a robotic life support suit.
  • No Fourth Wall: The opening CGI head of Felix talks directly to the audience and introduces the movie.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: The Duke is supposedly disfigured when his prototype Cylinder explodes in his face. However, we clearly see him lying unconscious on the floor, perfectly fine but covered in cartoon dust. His assistant, Grumper, is none the worse for wear, either. Perhaps the Duke suffered severe internal injuries.
    "Was it supposed to do that?"
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: The mutant seahorse things from the underwater scene. And they shake them for the camera too.
  • One-Way Visor: The Duke's helmet covers his face completely, though this somehow doesn't give him visual problems.
  • Opening Narration: That CGI head again. And he patronizes you too.
  • Panthera Awesome: The Cat Band, consisting of a lion, tiger, leopard, panther and puma.
  • Pardon My Klingon: Scrunted be his name!
  • Place Worse Than Death: The part where Felix comes over a hill and sees Progress City, surrounded by a deadly swamp, to which Felix says "Where are we, New Jersey?" (The latter is Self-Deprecation on the filmmakers part, as Felix Inc. is located in New Jersey.)
  • The Prophecy: About a "dark stranger" from another dimension.
  • The Quisling: The Duke's old lab assistant, Grumper, who had since been promoted to Chancellor instantly joins with the Duke once he invades.
  • Random Events Plot: The film really has no sense of direction as far as plot is concerned. The "saving the world" bit doesn't even get started till well more than halfway through the picture — 20 minutes and half an hour from the end, to be precise.
  • Recycled Animation: A frequent occurrence throughout the movie is how plenty of images are just clips from earlier scenes.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Wack Lizardi, obviously. Also most of the inhabitants of Zill are reptilian/amphibious in nature, to the point where the circus has special water seats designed into the ring, while the enslaved circus workers like the performing cat band are more mammalian. Semi-averted with the Mizzards.
  • Repulsive Ringmaster: Wack Lizardi.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Wack Lizardi has a nameless squeaking lizard head mounted to a stick that he uses as a whip for a pet and is never seen without it. It reacts to events that happen onscreen and it's not uncommon for a scene with Wack Lizardi to shift focus from him to the pet.
  • Rotoscoping: Princess Oriana's animation.
  • Scenery Gorn: The Land of Zill. Progress City in particular has quite a few establishing shots that show just what a decadent ruined hellhole it is, from the rickety buildings that are meant to keep pollution in to the piles of rotting garbage and trashed vehicles.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: The portal to Oriana is hidden in the Anairo Mines.
  • Self-Deprecation: Felix's comment about Progress City appearing to be New Jersey is a LOT funnier when you realize that Felix the Cat Productions Inc. just happens to be located in New Jersey!
  • Sequel Hook: The Duke's "I'll be back" line, which is said in a different voice. However, the movie didn't get a sequel, and the Duke predictably didn't return in any later Felix productions.
  • Shrink Ray: When the Professor and Poindexter are being chased by a huge swamp creature, Poindexter blasts it with a shrink ray, reducing it to 1/100th its original size. Poindexter mentions that the effects are temporary, so it would eventually return to normal size.
  • Sinister Stingrays: When Felix first arrives in the Land of Oriana, and accidentally flooding the dimension arrival room with water, a gigantic fanged stingray is pulled into the room. Felix barely escapes from it.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The movie has a very upbeat 1980s pop soundtrack, which at times is very at odds with the dark tones we see on screen in Oriana.
  • Spell Book: The movie's MacGuffin is a mix between this and a Great Big Book of Everything. It's exact powers are unclear, but it is able to defeat the Duke's ultimate weapon.
  • Steampunk: Oriana has a lot of this.
  • Swamps Are Evil: The Land of Zill, a polluted swampland inhabited by a hostile reptilian race loyal to the Duke of Zill, various dragons, and carnivorous bubble monsters.
  • Swiss-Army Tears: When the princess of Oriana can't finish summoning Felix, one of her teardrops finishes the job for her... activating the machine, punching in codes, pulling levers, entering the voice command, finding Felix in his world, and leading him back to the portal and into Oriana.
  • Throw the Book at Them: Done by Felix with the "Book of Ultimate Power" to defeat the Master Cylinder.
  • Took a Level in Badass
  • Tuckerization: Oriana is obviously named for Felix the Cat's creator Joe Oriolo.
  • The Unintelligible: Wack Lizardi's unnamed lizard pet, which makes different squeaks depending on what kind of mood it's in.
  • Urine Trouble: Early in the film, Felix uses his magic bag to hide from some foxes, only for the foxes to mark their territory on his bag. No urine is visible, but there's no mistaking when the foxes hike their legs.
  • Villain Song: "Who is the Boss?" Rather catchy tune and shows the extent of the Duke's ego.
  • Voodoo Shark: The Duke of Zill based his giant Master Cylinder off of the one in Felix's dimension to serve as his ultimate weapon and the source of power for his mass produced cylinder army. The movie tries to hand wave it by showing the Duke's blueprints, which have a comparison chart between the main universe Master Cylinder and Zill's take on him, but this opens up a big plot hole — the Duke didn't have access to the Dimensporter technology that allowed Felix to travel into the dimension, so how could he have possibly known about or seen the Master Cylinder in Felix's universe?
  • Was Once a Man: The Duke of Zill was an ordinary human before a prototype of his cylindrical soldier robots went haywire, severely disfiguring him and forcing him to rebuild himself. Although if one watching the movie looks closely after the explosion, he actually looks just fine.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Felix's bag during a shapeshift will change back to its original form if someone other than Felix touches it.
  • We Will Meet Again: It's not clear if the Duke perished with his army, but he was distinctly heard saying "I'll be back".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • So, what happened to all the other imprisoned circus performers? It's possible to assume they escaped after Wack Lizardi was defeated (even though an entire circus dropped on top of them), but that still means they're stuck in a polluted wasteland.
    • Following the Duke's defeat, we don't know what became of Grumper, the Princess's Treacherous Advisor. He wasn't even seen during the final confrontation, his last scene being him watching the Duke heading towards the Book.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Duke yells out at Wack for Oriana and her friends' escape.


Video Example(s):


"My Army!"

When Felix throws the ancient Book of Ultimate Power at Master Cylinder, it somehow causes all the Duke of Zill's cylinders and cubes to short out, with the Master Cylinder falling on top of the Duke, with the villain's last words declaring he'll be back. While Poindexter thinks there's a scientific answer to the miracle, Felix believes there's more to it.

How well does it match the trope?

4.43 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / KeystoneArmy

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