The rags-to-riches story of Danny, a talented cat whose lifelong goal of movie stardom is sidetracked when he discovers only humans get the good roles in Hollywood. On the big screen, animals can bark, meow or moo, but cat... more »s don't dance. Danny vows to break through the "species barrier" and prove that dreams really can come true.« less
"It may not be a classic but "Cats Don't Dance" is a fun time killer.
PLOT - It's the 1930s and no animal has been able to reach the star status of their human counterparts: Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Joan Crawford, etc. The only thing animals are wanted for is to say animal lines and do stereotypical animal things.
Then from Kokomo, Indiana comes the naive, humble but ambitious Danny (Scott Bakula, throwing out a voice that is decades younger than he actually is and doing his own singing), a fast tapping tap dancer who dreams of being the cat version of Gene Kelly or Bing Crosby, so he comes to Hollywood to seek his fortune, only to find a town full of crushed souls and broken dreams. He also runs afoul of Darla Dimple (speaking voice Ashley Peldon, singing voice Lindsay Ridgeway), a demented, narcissistic child star who is basically an evil version of Shirley Temple but pretends to be the sweet little girl image that the public has of her, which includes loving animals when she really despises them, when he tries to upstage her during the filming of "Little Ark Angel". Did I mention Darla's giant man-servant/hit man/enforcer Max? Despite the set backs, Danny becomes determined to lead an animal revolt that will lead his fellow animal performers to stardom.
Along the way, Danny befriends Pudge, a chubby little penguin just trying to get by, Cranston the crotchety goat (voice of Hal Holbrook), Frances the Marlene Dietrich style fish (voiced by the late Betty Lou Gerson, who also voiced Cruella Deville in the original 101 Dalmations), a warm hearted hippo woman named Tillie (voice of Kathy Najimy), TW Turtle (the late Don Knotts), the mentor figure Woolie the Mammoth (John Rhys-Davies), and of course, the sassy, cynical love interest Sawyer (spoken by Jasmine Guy, sung by Natalie Cole).
All of them had dreams of being song & dance stars, as Woolie explains to Danny. Tillie wanted to sing and dance, Cranston and Frances were a dancing duet, TW had dramatic pirate of penzance in his past, while Woolie himself is actually a very skilled piano player and had hopes of writing music for the movies, but instead he became the Mammoth Studios mascot, putting on giant tusks and blowing his snout at the beginning of every Mammoth Studio picture, much like the roaring lion at the beginning of the MGM films (he probably lucked out better than the others did in that respect). We even learn that Sawyer too once dreamed of song & dance stardom, as she was quite a dancer herself and had what Woolie called "the voice of an angel" (though it's really more along the lines of Diana Ross); Woolie even thought that Sawyer would be the one to break through. Woolie instructs Danny that Hollywood will never appreciate animal actors enough to give them their time in the spotlight, but this only strengthens Danny's resolve and, the next day, Danny gets Woolie and Pudge to join him in rallying the other animals together and inspiring them to fight for their right to be stars; he even gets Sawyer in on the back alley boogie, luring her into a pleasant fantasy where she gets to show off her dance moves, but she quickly breaks loose from it and tells Danny that it'll never happen.
What Danny doesn't know is that Darla is on to him and, fearing that Danny and his animal cohorts might threaten her stardom, she tricks Danny into believing that she'll help him and lets him use her sound stage to from "Little Ark Angel" to perform for studio head L.B. Mammoth (voice of George Kennedy). Danny then rallies his fellow animals together, taking Darla's advice to make it "big & loud", and even gets Sawyer in on the act, still unaware of Darla's plot to destroy him. Darla KO's Pudge and then plays havoc with the special effects on the sound stage, resulting in a giant water mass spill out that engulfs both LB and the director Flanigan, leads to much mayhem on the studio lot and a fight between Sawyer & Danny. When the animals are all unceremoniously fired, Darla shows up to add insult to injury, exposing that she was the one who gave Danny use of the sound stage, making him even less popular with his already angry cohorts. Even Woolie tells Danny to just go home. The next night while Cranston, Frances, TW and Tillie lament their woes and blame Danny for ruining their already miserable careers, Sawyer takes to the rainy streets and sings of her own disillusionment with the industry and her confused feelings for Danny, which Tillie overhears and encourages her to go catch Danny before he leaves town. Danny, depressed and dejected over the calamity he has brought unto himself and his friends, miserably boards a bus back for Kokomo, leaving behind his hat for Sawyer to find and his list for how he would succeed, which leaves Sawyer tearful, heart broken and alone.
But naturally Danny's resolve kicks back in and, with help from Pudge, he makes a desperate last ditch effort to break the barrier, by bringing his closest friends to the premiere of Darla Dimple's new film, where they sing and dance their hearts out, wowing the audience, and exposing Darla for the evil little thing that she is and destroying her career. From there Woolie, Tillie, TW, Pudge, Frances, Cranston, and of course, Sawyer & Danny, become big stars, headlining animal versions of "Superman", "Batman & Robin", "Grumpy Old Men", "The Mask", "Beetle Juice", "The Witches of Eastwick", and "Singing In The Rain", among others.
Surprisingly entertaining due to its unabashed good naturedness and breezy songs. Above average animation too."
Superb! A musical that would make Disney cry.
Edward Juan | Valencia, CA. USA | 01/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When this film released in 1997, nobody paid attention to it, because Disney's Hercules was the animated feature film everyone assumed to be better. Many animators would prefer Cats Don't Dance over Hercules, why? It is a tap dancing musical that really plays with the art of animation. The movie is directed by Mark Dindal (Emperor's New Groove) and the choreography is by the famous broadway dancing veteran Gene Kelley! It is also the last film involves Gene Kelley. Overall, the animation is wonderful, loveable characters, and unforgettable songs. This is a movie for all ages of animation or musical fan."
A simple story for everyone who has a dream
Kristin Crawford | 09/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cats Don't Dance is a wonderful story about a simple cat from small-town nowhere, looking to make it big in Hollywood, in the late thirties. Naive as he is, he thinks it should only take him a week until he gets his first big part. But that was before he met Darla, a child-star similar to Shirley Temple, but with a much worse temper - and to top it off, she hates animals. And apparently, so does Hollywood. In Hollywood, Cats don't dance, or sing, or act; they meow, and that's it. Danny attempts to beat the odds, and become a big star. This movie is also filled will wonderful musical numbers reminiscent of the jazz age. This is a movie for adults and kids alike, but it is especially for those who enjoy accomplishing the impossible, and for those with a dream they won't deny"
A classic in its own right....
Liolania | Hippyville USA | 01/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As far as Animated Musicals go, the songs in this could rival anything from Disney(Well, Randy Newman has done many things for Disney as well, so it makes perfect sense). The animation is colorful and splashy and the main theme/story is inventive. Not something to common in animated films these days. The story follows Danny, a cat from Kokomo who has big dreams, dreams of becoming a HUGE story in Hollywood. He's even made a checklist, which includes getting a lead role by the end of the week. But Danny's dreams are cut down-to-size when he is cast in a movie with movie star Darla Dimples(A Shirley Temple-like star), a cute looking girl with a short temper and intense hatred for animals. He soon finds out that animals have no place in Hollywood, except as playing stereotypical roles. Every single other animal he meets has some sort of dreams for making it big, but they've all been crushed in one way or another. The thing I find so special about "Cats Don't Dance" is that, I really enjoyed it when I was 11yrs. Now I just thought it was a fun cartoon with some great tunes. But now that I'm older I see that the themes in this film parallel that of many ethnic actors trying to break into Hollywood, I guess, particularly blacks. Cats Don't Dance, isn't for younger children, because well, it wont hold their attention span the whole time(Tried it with my 4yr nephew), even though there is a lot of slap-stick humor that kids love so much. I guess it all depends on the child. :D If you're looking for something a little out of the ordinary, with some creative ideas, fun characters, great songs, fun animation, and an interesting and intelligent storyline that can appeal to children and adults alike, then I suggest "Cats Don't Dance". *Enjoy* & God Bless ~Amy"
Excellent show, wonderful animation!
firstname.lastname@example.org | Singapore | 06/25/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cats Don't Dance is an excellent animated feature that breaks the mould of traditional animation. It features great animation, a talented voice cast and superb CGI graphics. Music is o.k. but not brilliant. This show won an "Annie" for "Best Animated Feature" 1997 (and it deserves it, too). END"