First I should say, that this is the first animated movie that was given an "X"
by MPAA. After looking at the film I'd say it has more of an "R" rating at best.
I also I am glad to finally write a review on it, because the cartoon has been dismissed as trash by critics, but
it's not trash, there are a couple of interesting bits in the movie, but if you watch the movie with "head up your butt, politically correct" mentality, then
you wont see the points the movie is trying to make.
Now "Fritz the Cat" was done by Legendary Ralph Bakshi who has brought classics like "Spiderman" and
"The Hulk" cartoons to tv, but as a director he has matured over the news
and has use his medium and power to include bigger cartoon movies that showcase societal messages like in his "Wizards" cartoon movie with Mark Hamill (from Star Wars) to comment on WWII and Nazi party.
Now the film was also made from writer Robert Crumb who created the characters. Now if you watch any of Crumb's cartoons you catch several of his trademark "movies" like "Heavy Traffic" a good movie about out work artists with commentary on society , capitalism and the movie industry itself. The movie also has a very dark imagination often putting in live action with animation and mingling the two successfully too .
Now it has been released on DvD, but the DVD is very poor offering no extras, so dont waste any money on it,
the vhs version is much cheaper to get.
The films plot revolves around a young adolescent cat name Fritz who wants to experience everything that life has to offer: women, sex, drugs and rock and roll. Fritz is an independent free spirit, someone who hates authority and basically does whatever he wants to do when he wants to do it. He in a way
reminds me of that character Dustin Hoffman played in "Midnight Cowboy" having fun, but also ridiculing those idiots around him including a couple of protesters who he says "should get
a real job"....speaking of which, "Fritz The Cat" has a couple of references to the 60's and hippies, and its pretty funny. One of which is as many
of the characters in the movie point out, that 1960's hippies have turned fat and never amounted to anything...except for smoking alot of pot. It's not very flattering, but it is part realistic, because
I am sure people know a couple of their hippie friends who "freeloaded" back in the 1960's and who despite saying that were for the peace movement were only there for free food and sex and by 1970's became fat and never amounted to anything.
So Fritz is a freespirited, but selfimposing invididual who at first has no ambitions other than, having sex with many girls and he achieves his goal
....having an orgy with a couple of easy woman in his friends place luring them in with words of poetry...lol.
However the orgy is interrupted when cops (portrayed as talking pigs...yeah you heard the cops are pigs...
a term that is now used to refer to real cops) bust in..but these cops are so stupid it's funny and well everyone they tried to arrest (with really no evidence) get away.
Fritz escapes but hides in a Jewish Synagogue and from there laughs and mayhem ensues as Fritz once
again makes fools of the cops and escapes back to his friends place egging him to quit studying for exams
and party. Howevever, being ruled by emotions, Fritz accidently burns down his friends place and his own
notes. Fritz has a couple of Entertaining Dream sequences that gives a glimpse into his personality and Crumb's use of great camera work blending in
inaminate objects with animation.
So then after this bit of carnage the movie tones a bit though and gets serious when Fritz encounters
Racism, violence, anarchy and state of capitalism and power which control every living thing and person
in this world. So this is when Crumb through Fritz, shows us these messages both graphically and in subtle
fashion, it's very well done and despite the fact that by the end of the film, nothing really changes, Fritz and the audience do become aware of the world that Fritz lives in and why he is the character he is after being in this environment. That is really the best way to describe it and to say but that wouldn't be giving the movie to much credit.
The voice of Fritz was done by Skp Hinnant, but taking a look at his resume, he unfornately didn't
have a rewarding acting career which is too bad.
"Fritz The Cat" spawned a sequel "Nine Lives of Fritz Cat" (which I had
the pleasure of seeing couple of months ago ). Commercially too the film did allright, there was a comic strip of "Fritz The Cat" by Robert Crumb ,soundtracks, and a couple of other memorabilia.
Anyhow, I very much recommend "Fritz The Cat", it will have you laughing and entertained throughout, but
look closer and you will a couple of messages that Crumb and Bakshi were trying to make at that time.
Fritz the Cat is not only a classic for bringing Ralph Bakshi into the Hollywood fray, but it also does some thing few American animated films accomplish: it presents a time in America and the founding ideologies and feelings of that period. Drugs, free love, government, the Middle East, racism...its all there. "Oliver and Company" may have some nice shots of New York City, but Fritz the Cat captures the look and feel of the city and its people better than that film ever could.
Ralph Bakshi is one of my idol animators, and I believe this is one of his landmark films. It will remain a classic, whether some people want it to or not.