SPACE KITTY BLASTS THROUGH SOME THICK NOGGINS
DEC 01, 2003
“Possibly Maybe” --one of my favourite Bjork tunes and the best way to describe the experience of this incredible flick. Subtly referencing (possibly) everything from The Little Prince, Phillip K. Dick and Roman mythology, Masons and mind control, to Itchy and Scratchy, Happy Tree Friends, 50s TV Japanimation and MTv, it’s almost certain that audiences will leave pleasantly puzzled but intently intrigued. But why is this fairytale so confusing? First off, it’s not just a fairytale; don’t let the cute art fool ya. We are invited into the lives and motivation of multiple personas, yet retain our distance since the characters here are domesticated animals who have assumed bipedal stance and anthropomorphic occupations. As the story progresses, we realise that as the societal similarities increase, so does the anguish and humanistic psyches set to destroy it all. But don’t worry.. there are some set to save us, too.
With the imbedded notion that cute things cannot be evil, we follow Tamala as she leaves Cat Earth in absolute defiance of her human foster “mother” --who accesorises like Medusa. When her mother orders her to return, Tamala, in super-cute Engrish baby-talk unexpectedly retorts, “later you anaconda bitch”. Indeed later, the reason behind her hostility is revealed in flashback snippets. (She ain’t no brat). To reconstruct the story of her short yet tragic life, she must hurry to the constellation Orion, her birthplace. Accidentally smacking into an asteroid on the way there, she hurls towards Planet Q, aptly named for its outer ring, which is, well, an enormous “Q”.
On this planet, decrepit tenements are radially arranged around a huge animatronic statue of “The Fucking Prince”. The song entitled Happy Prince coerces us to project a calm history prior to the present incessant terrorism between cats and dogs. It looks as though it could have been modeled after the strife in Ireland or the sets for Jubilee. Transvestite feline hookers meet for the daily gossip grind, even quipping nonchalantly about who the latest homicide was. When there is nothing left to live for, life still apparently shuffles on, if only to mock those who are merely around to adapt and observe.
Planet Q is where Tamala meets Michaelangelo, a shorthair who is wise beyond his years, and is instantaneously mesmerised by the intruder’s innate expertise at everything. She is, in short, incredible, unstoppable, with a touch of ADD. We are treated to frolicking poses and crazy dialogue: “Moimoi* [Michaelangelo], me very tasty. Wanna eat me?” (*”Moimoi” means “sleep” in Hawaiian, although she probably uses it becos she cannot pronounce his name, nor does she care to.) The mention of this last response is the catalyst for a realm of understanding which is (possibly) purposefully left inconclusive, but radially expressed in multiple character overlays. From this point on, you have to pay very close attention:
Michaelangelo is feverishly typing schedules for a secret countdown. Disturbing Polaroid posts displaying pride and humiliation unravels in a sadistic canine cop’s apartment. We eavesdrop on the best monologue I've heard concerning a dying person’s thought bubbles. Tamala disappears. In the future, in a secret almost rebel faction presentation, an elderly kitty describes mind control tactics from a major corporation, “Catty & Co”. The same corporation whose advertisements seem to follow Tamala wherever she goes. He insists the nightmare that every youngster shares is no coincidence. They are all dreaming of Tatla, a menacing giant robot kitty ascending an escalator. The presentation is cut short, violence ensues, and the presenter is left for dead in a disgusting urban creek. But is he really dead? Did he ever really exist? Is he in fact Michaelangelo? He “travels” to visit Michaelangelo to try to reveal the vast secrets of the connections between Catty & Co., the mythos behind Minerva and Tatla, and their immense involuntary cult following.
This mysterious cat zombie knows what has happened to Planet Q. (I was wondering: if the ubiquitous Catty & Co has taken over 98% of the population, does that mean they have already conquered Planets A-P?). He also knows what has happened to Tamala, who is reborn every year as an unassuming liaison for Catty & Co. Through her, or more specifically, by eating her (perhaps more than sexually; possible twist on the word “consumer”) and even as she naps, she inadvertently brainwashes the population for the corporation/cult.
If that sounds like too much for you to handle, no worries. Yes, it’s an amazingly intricate interweaving of storytelling techniques and characters, yet in the end, everything melds and meshes wonderfully. The creators have given us enough to titillate and ignite our own memories, desires and paranoia so that the questions and discussions following the movie will correspond directly to our everyday lives. For those who left unsatisfied with the ending, you may be pleased to learn that the creators had plans from the beginning to branch the Tamala character out into a trilogy; this being the first film.
The two man team of t.o.L (trees of Life), best known
for their advertisements and music vids, created clever animation (it would
make poor Disney crap his pants) that is so cute that you may even crap
your pants laughing at the sometimes kitschy, sometimes South Park,
sometimes unbelievably surreal visuals. As I mentioned, the dialogue can
also be unbelievably surreal, so make sure you’re eagerly receptive
when you purchase your tix. This ain’t a simple cartoon. Yet overall,
it’s a wonderfully delightful package that anyone can enjoy. t.o.L
also compiled an astonishing original soundtrack for you to groove and gawk
to, as you marvel at their talent and absolute storyline cohesion. (I WANT
THIS SOUNDTRACK!!). Are you SURE they are a two man team?