Thursday, September 05, 2013

Macskafogó – review

Director: Béla Ternovszky

Release date: 1986

Contains spoilers

I was led towards Macskafogó by Alex, but it has taken me a while to get around to it – which is a shame because it was a good fun animation.

Called Cat City when it was released in the states, Macskafogó actually translates into Cat Catcher. The version I watched (in parts on YouTube) was the Hungarian release that had been subtitled by a kind fan. I understand that there are a lot of language jokes in the film that will mean little unless you speak Hungarian. The US version changed the names of characters to avoid reference to the Eastern bloc and changed the musical moments.

It takes place in an alternate universe where, 80 years after Mickey Mouse, the cat crime syndicates are trying to wipe out the mouse population. A mouse scientist has developed a super weapon and mouse agent Grabovszky (László Sinkó) is sent to retrieve the plans for the weapon. The first vampire reference we get is in a musical number set to a promotional video that introduces the Four Gangsters – a gang of rats who are sent after Grabovszky. One of them takes the form of a vampire during the sequence – it lasts for about 2 seconds.

The bat closes in
Just barely a Honourable Mention then until we follow the intermouse Agent Lazy Dick (István Mikó), a fat, trumpet playing mouse who was sent very publically by a different route to act as a decoy. The plane he was on has crashed in the jungles and Dick ends up stuck up a tree to avoid a crocodile. He is sleeping as we see a bat like shape and he is plucked from the air by a vampire bat. The bat carries Dick off to the Mayan style pyramid where his colony live.

vampire leader
But what bats; as well as having side fangs like a typical genre vampire these are Mexican bats. Their wings are ponchos and most of them wear sombreros and they are essentially blood sucking banditos. The leader of the vampire bats tells Dick that they aren’t going to devour him, just suck all his blood, but then lets him play his trumpet one last time as the last request of the condemned mouse. The bats are taken by the music and begin to join in. By the end of the song the leader has decided that they can’t kill Lazy Dick.

the band Vampiros
Now I think we’d still be on an Honourable Mention but the bats come into it again, at the end of the movie, actually saving the day – and at this point they become integral to the film. We even see them form a band with Dick (who reveals he now has fangs). The film was fun but I can’t agree with the IMDb pundits who suggest it is the greatest animation ever – of course I am missing a big part of the joke by not speaking Hungarian. Even so this probably deserves a nice, solid 6 out of 10. Worth tracking down and worth watching subtitled if you can.

The imdb page is here.


Alex. G said...

Nice review old chum.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Thank you for the suggestion, apologies that it took so long ;)

Dirgesinger said...

Wow, never thought to meet this here. Its from my country:) Generations echoed "Pedro, amigo mio, we are going to drink canned blood again" :):):)

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Dirgesinger. I do my best to look at anything vampiric from all countries. Glad I could look at this.