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Western Animation / Top Cat Begins

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Top Cat Begins (known in Spanish as Don Gato: El Inicio de la Pandilla, literally Top Cat: The Start of the Gang) is a 2015 animated film made in Mexico. On that note, it is a prequel to the first movie and to some extent, the original series. It is an origin story, explaining how Top Cat met Benny and how he created his gang.

The film was released in October 30, 2015 to mixed reviews.

Provides examples of:

  • Actionized Sequel: There's so much of it that the movie can be considered an Action-Comedy.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: What with the CGI designs, TC and most of his gang are given eye colors (since having sclerae but only black pupils would look uncanny). Top Cat, Fancy-Fancy, and Brain have brown eyes, Choo-Choo has green eyes, and Spook has blue eyes. Only Benny the Ball's black bead eyes remain.
  • Anachronism Stew: The movie first lulls you into thinking that the movie could be set in the 1960s considering it's a supposed prequel to the series but it's hard to tell because the first scene takes place at a fancy nightclub where everyone is in vaguely timed formal wear (that is, compared to civilian fashion, everyone looking to dress for the occasion would go for classic looks). The technology makes it all the more confusing when the maitre'd contacts Mr. Big through a telephone but the latter's phone is an old rotary phone while the former's is a regular analogue wall phone. The elevator used in the nightclub has scissor gates which are becoming less and less common though it's proven that they can be functional still. Then it jolts you out of it when the curvy, feline songstress performs Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" which has cemented the fact that it is indeed set in the time it was made.
  • Aside Glance: TC, Chooch, Fancy and Dibble all give the viewers this after Brain claims someone stole his cow-shaped ice cube which melted.
  • Badass Biker: Spook used to be one before the joining the gang.
  • Big Bad: Mr. Big is the main antagonist.
  • Broad Strokes: Yes, it does take place before the first movie and the series as mentioned repeatedly. The latter was set squarely in the decade it was made and so does this one. The only elements that remained were the characters and the setting.
  • Black Comedy: Not that the franchise delved into this from time to time. Compared to those however, this one had some rather ballsy gags.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Top Cat's would-be gang's training (that is, trick them into doing the chores for him) becomes handy at the climax when they finally face the bad guys.
  • Continuity Snarl: In a more chronological issue, however. One could forgive the "prequel" not being set in the 1960s despite supposedly predating the original cartoon's then-modern decade (see Broad Strokes). By that logic, this movie's events should predate the one released in 2011. But there were at least two mainstream hit songs used in the movie, both of which came out in 2014note  (where at least one of the songs is performed In-Universe) and a jab towards the universal panning of the first film's English dub.
  • Creative Closing Credits: An epilogue of sorts animated in 2D.
  • Cute Little Fangs: All the cats have them, but TC's are the most prominent.
  • Darker and Edgier: The danger TC and the gang are in is played quite seriously. There are some rather grisly action scenes too though it still has a comic prerogative.
  • Dirty Coward: When Mr. Big is faced with a mob that's out to get him, he rope climbs to the ceiling and lets his goons take care of them and TC and his gang.
  • Disappeared Dad: It's not mentioned whatever happened to Benny the Ball's father.
  • Disney Death: Top Cat, when Mr. Big's men start shooting in the box he was in. He's fine because his pleading voice was only provided by a tape recorder inside of it.
  • Dreadful Musician: Benny's atrocious violin playing that drives everyone in town crazy and causes birds to fall out of the sky. He's completely oblivious to it since he wears headphones playing Pachelbel's Canon in D, so he doesn't hear himself.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Officer Dibble's grandmother.
  • Elderly Blue-Haired Lady: Granny Dibble.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Invoked by TC to Spook when he shows him a French film, even though most of the lines were nonsensical.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Played for Laughs. When a random civilian starts to get suspicious about TC's plan to raid Mr. Big's place, the lion from earlier devours the man in one gulp, convincing everyone to not ask any more questions. The man is also never seen again.
  • Fat Bastard: Mr. Big is large, fat, and a ruthless criminal.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It seemed like the end of TC when Mr. Big's goons start shooting at his box. Whether or not he was thought to be dead, he turns out fine because if it weren't for him, there would be no Top Cat series to make a prequel of in the first place.
  • Foreshadowing: We start the movie with the gang. But wait, where's Spook? And who is this strange helmeted man TC began telling his story to? Just put two and two together and, well, you have your answer.
  • Formerly Fit: Future example. Officer Dibble, along with looking younger, is also rather slim compared to his usual depiction though that might only be because of age.
  • Furry Female Mane: All of the female cat characters have one.
  • Furry Reminder: TC's feline-ness is played up much more in here for the sake of comedy. Like when the mysterious character drops the rope to help them out of the elevator, TC plays with it for a while complete with meowing sounds before snapping out of it. To Mexicans though, this isn't that strange as their local dub had more references to them being cats than in the original English.
  • Honor Before Reason: At the end of the movie, Top Cat gives away the diamonds to some orphan kittens. The diamonds that are said to be worth millions each. He could have easily given them one, kept the rest, and everyone involved would have been set for life.
  • How We Got Here: The movie starts with TC and the gang (minus Spook) entering a fancy nightclub and what we assume, is to execute another Zany Scheme by pretending to be health inspectors until a character named Mr. Big sends his goons to get them and a chase scene ensues. They escape through an elevator where they encounter a mysterious helmeted figure who asks why they should help them. As Top Cat explains, the movie's long flashback begins right there.
  • Idiot Ball: Played With. Aside from Officer Dibble (who at this point, he had just met), anybody Top Cat ever talks to becomes easily duped from his schemes to the point that one would think everyone in New York can't possibly be this gullible.
  • In Medias Res: The film opens with this. See How We Got Here.
  • Large and in Charge: Mr. Big makes it known he's the one running things from his imposing stature alone.
  • Lethal Chef: Mrs. Ball likes to add rotten cabbage to her stew among other kinds of undesirable and possibly inedible things in it. TC is rightly disgusted while her son, Benny, actually loves it.
  • Mister Big: The main villain here is so-named but subverts the ironic nature of the trope as Mr. Big is a fat alligator that towers over everyone.
  • Mysterious Stranger: The dark helmeted character in biker gear who follows the gang. It was none other than Spook.
  • Necktie Headband: Spook's classic black tie started out as his biker bandanna.
  • Origin Story: For the Top Cat franchise as a whole.
  • Precision F-Strike: Yes, you do hear TC drop the F-bomb bleeped several times, clumsily. On a film that's supposed to be for the entire family!
  • Prequel: To both the original and the movie, despite the Setting Update which was carried on from the first film.
  • Pun-Based Title: Guess where they got the title.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Mr. Big is an alligator.
  • Running Gag: Top Cat suddenly appearing in Dibble's shower. He does it in a total of three times.
  • Saving the Orphanage: TC forces himself to do this at the end when he saw the pair of orphaned children he had met earlier planting a tree in order to live under it. He gives them the diamond he buried underneath a pile of dirt.
  • Self-Deprecation: The creators are apparently aware of the disaster that is the English dub of the first film going by this screenshot.
  • Skyward Scream: Played with in Spook's backstory. He yelled a big "NO"! in agony after watching his beloved bike Eleanor get cube compacted by Mr. Big.
  • Stunned Silence: Choo Choo when Mr. Big and his cohorts shot at the box that TC was in.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Often with Granny Dibble who jumps back and forth from a sweet timid old lady voice to a perpetually demanding Drill Sergeant Nasty.