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Click above to purchase "Fritz The Cat" at amazon.com

 

Fritz The Cat

review by Zach B.

 

Rated R

Running Time: 79 minutes

Screenplay by Ralph Bakshi
Based on characters created by R. Crumb

Directed by Ralph Bakshi

Studio: MGM

Retail Price: $14.98

Features: Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Mono, French Mono, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (16 Scenes)

Released: December 11th, 2001

Nearly thirty years after "Fritz The Cat" made its long and controversial debut, it may seem rather tame to some compared to what's out on the media today. "Fritz The Cat" had the honor of being the first X rated animated film as it explored 1960s culture, as artist Ralph Bakshi explored the form and continued to with risque content. Cartoons aimed for adults weren't really done before. Now they're all over the place. We have a lot of crazy animated shows aimed for more mature audiences as the craze seems to go on ("South Park" comes to mind... not to mention the show's feature length film). We have comics with darker content too. Simply put, it's really nothing new as we've grown with and been exposed to forms that people once considered for children are now more adult. I guess it's fair to say that "Fritz The Cat" was a pioneer in all of this. I don't think in 1972 people were really knew or were exposed to something like "Fritz The Cat" before as far as cinema goes.

Based on Robert Crumb's creation, "Fritz The Cat" follows a cat named Fritz. He attends NYU and is always looking to try new things. As Fritz looks for some inner truth and personal ways to satisfy himself, it leads him on a journey of true self-discovery while exploring many ideas and thoughts of the 1960s (the era where the movie takes place).

What's the problem with "Fritz The Cat"? It's a nicely done movie and it was before my time. I think the latter is my problem with it. As I said, it doesn't seem so fresh or original when I've been watching stuff like "South Park" for the past four years, and that risky matter has been explored far more often. Also, the satirical parts of the movie make good points about the ideas and culture of the 1960s, but again, the stereotypes and points the movie brings up... I've heard and seen before. About the groups, about the drugs, about free love... as far as media concerns and learning, been there, done that. But it's still fun and still points out things in pure satirical manner, so it still does work and can still make people realize things about the 1960s. But it's not just so original anymore. It's a movie for its time and that's it. It's an animation classic in a certain regard that did break new ground in its time, but it's not 1972. It's 2001. Time changes everything, and that's something you can't help.

But "Fritz The Cat" is still a good movie, don't take it the wrong way. While the animation isn't great, it's ideas and what it explores does make up for it, even if the ideas have been used over and over. It helped break new ground long ago, and it's controversial plot did help it. So animation freaks, it's a must see... just make sure the kids aren't watching.

"Fritz The Cat" is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and this anamorphic widescreen transfer is pretty average. There is some slight edge enhancement, dirt, scratches and blemishes. Shimmering is also found. I suppose the transfer fits the animation look: dark and murky. You won't find anything particularly bright or sharp here, and I think that's okay. Black levels and detail are okay, but there's nothing particularly strong or noteworthy that sticks out.

Mono tracks in English and French can be found, and for a movie that is thirty years old, they sound their age. There's really not much to say. You can make out what the characters are saying and you can hear the noises and music, but fidelity is low and I had to turn my volume up a bit higher than usual. It sounds a bit low and I heard some hiss. You'll manage here without a 5.1 remix. Subtitles in English, French and Spanish are also included plus English closed captions.

The Theatrical Trailer in anamorphic widescreen. I would have appreciated some kind of retrospect on the film as far as then and now or it's original impact.

"Fritz The Cat" is a landmark in animation in adult respects, and he's finally made his way to DVD. The transfer and sound aren't special, and this is a bare bones release. But you can pick this up for about 15 bucks, so animation fans, do check it out.

(4/5 - NOT included in final score)

(2.5/5)

(2/5)

(.5/5)

(2.5/5, NOT an average)

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