Kitty litter

Top Cat Begins was not only lame-ass, it was also pretty sexist. 

***

Top Cat Begins
Cert: G

TOP CAT BEGINS has every right to revive the old-school mullarkey of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon but attention should have been paid to updating the social mores of the early 1960s for today’s audience. Look closely and you spot something amiss with this 2016 reboot; every female character is either pushing a pram or fluttering her eyelids suggestively in a tight dress.

This was the norm 50 years ago (how often did Tom try to nab Jerry with a bawdy clockwork girl mouse?) but we’ve moved on. Younger viewers – and Mexican company Anima Estudios’ crude, clunky CG animation suggests a particularly young target audience – may not notice but parents should be rightfully irked.

Otherwise, there’s nothing offensive nor remarkable about this sub-par but occasionally chucklesome outing that seeks to tell the origins of the Bilko-like moggie with moxie. We see him hook up with nice-but-dim sidekick Benny in New York and embark on a good-natured spree of scams. Pilfering diamonds from a crime boss is, alas, a caper too far and lands TC in hot water.

2/5

First published in the Sunday Independent

Cowabungle

I was was a wholesale lover of the Eastman & Laird graphic novels when I was younger. This film is a million miles away from their sophistication. 

***

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
Out of the Shadows
Cert: 12A

UGLY, chaotic and operating at an intellectual level marginally higher than that of a well-used punch bag, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was critically panned when it belly-flopped into cinemas in 2014. Naturally, it went on to make half a billion dollars, lighting the way for this sequel which remains bafflingly faithful to the ethos of its predecessor.

Has director Dave Green (Earth To Echo) brought anything fresh to the softened, cartoon version of Eastman & Laird’s edgy and violent mid-eighties graphic novels? Not on your life. The swirling, bounding CGI, straight from the playbook of producer Michael Bay, is still as hard as ever to keep up with. It ends up, like Bay’s own big-screen transforming robots, being a major obstacle to enjoying the many action scenes.

Yes, this is a horrid-looking film that has all the charisma of an arcade game beat-em-up voiced by dim surfers. Human actors – Megan Fox (returning as gutsy and unashamedly eye-catching April O’Neil), Stephen Amell (as Casey Jones), Dublin wrestling star Sheamus – are squished into the background to make room for gloopy humanoid creatures that, while expressive on a basic animation level, are entirely uninvolving to behold.

Two hours in, and a slimy pink alien called Krang is observing the city-smashing protocol set out in Marvel Universe film finales. Billions of high-fives and “awesomes” clang about as the four snot-coloured pieces of computer coding jump around this insipid villain. By that time, however, you might have already hurried your children out of the auditorium for fear that actual brain cells were beginning to rot inside their underdeveloped craniums.

1/5

First published in the Sunday Independent