(ru) wrote: Plot: 4/5-Based on the underground comic created by Robert Crumb, Fritz the Cat is an independent animated satirical comedy-drama that indeed follows the titular hero Fritz, an anthropomorphic tomcat who strives to achieve the life of a hedonist and ultimately find his true meaning in life during the protest movements of the 1960's: events that follow include an 8-person orgy in a bathtub, a speech on the negativity of student-intellectualism, a meeting in a bar of black-stereotyped 'crows', a hash-induced sexual encounter with a drug dealer, a protest that sparks the 60's race riots and a plot to blow up a sub-station.In concept, Fritz the Cat almost certainly works. As the first-ever X-rated animated film, it's a plot that seeks to teach you about the 60's by breaking out into a new area of presentation: the idea that you could re-enact the vulgarity and hedonism of student life of the 60's is plausible, but with animated anthropomorphic animals it feels almost ridiculous and yet it is overall watchable...sorry if I'm a bit rambling or short here, my mind's unfocused. (Voice) Acting: 3.5/5-Skip Hinnant delivers an interesting and generally humourous performance as the protagonist Fritz, often embracing his role with the realistic feel of a student with his casual talk of 60's taboos and pursuit of enjoyment. On the sidelines, John McCurry also gives a nice performance as Fritz's 'black-crow' friend Duke, but the constant use of background characters often feel either too muted or too casual to be taken seriously.Screenplay/Directing: 3.5/5-Director Ralph Bakshi demonstrates his talent in animation here by utilising an array of interesting set-pieces, including a 'bath-tub orgy', an 'all-crow' bar and most noticeably a scene reminiscent of a race-riot that draws on the violent action and disturbing reality of the situation. However, the screenplay does not feel like a story that has properly put together, but rather that of a series of events played one after the other so that the film never actually seems to know where it's going in terms of narrative coherence.Script/Character Development: 3.5/5-Bakshi injects a good amount of humour and seriousness into the script: his use of documentary-recordings as background dialogue add surprising realism to the film, whilst the scripted dialogue also has nice depth and focused conversations on life and general realistic student-quotes.Animation: 3.5/5-Considering this was 1972, the animation can now be seen as looking considerably out of date in that scenes will often appear to have noticeable work done on them to highlight prominent movement and background features, and then appear annoyingly cartoonish. Luckily, this more helps than hinders the often psychedelic nature and atmosphere of the film's screenplay and story.Humour/Satire: 3.5/5-Offering a unique perspective on life in 60's America, Bakshi delves into areas of black comedy/taboo subjects and usually hits the mark by relying heavily on deadpan linguistics and overexaggerated physical representations, e.g. police are represented as pigs, Jews as dogs and probably most recognisably black people as crows. The famous orgy scene culminates with Fritz shooting a toilet and crying out that he has 'killed the john', as well as an earlier scene in which Fritz watches 3 student-girls attempting to flirt with a 'crow', only to end up being rebuked by the comically effeminate 'crow'. However, possibly one of the most gently amusing scenes comes when Fritz first meets the 'crow' Duke in an 'all-crow' bar: Duke is humourously unable to hit a single billiard ball into any given hole on a pool table (despite very easy line-ups and shots) until an initially uncomfortable talk on the 'race problem' with Fritz causes Fritz to knock him accidentally onto the table, sending every ball on the table flying into a hole until the table is empty...leading to Duke happily offering to buy him a drink.This classic scene helps to highlight the constant theme of racial-repression (i.e.Duke being unable to succeed in a simple task) and how Fritz's bittersweet interaction with the world around him leads to often bittersweet consequences (i.e. his conflict with Duke leads to Duke's success, but also a skirmish with the bartender).However, the jokes sometimes miss their mark due to being either too undercooked/ overemphasised or just plain embarrassing: several moments of slapstick often fail to amuse and just seem misplaced in contrast to the main satire. Drama/'Indie' Feel: 3.5/5-Almost as if Quentin Tarantino directed an animated film, 'Fritz...' matches its satire with surprisingly deep moments of drama. Noticeable scenes include Fritz's first encounter with Duke: shortly after the friendly tone between the two is established, Fritz's trying to order drinks for them leads to the bartender (accidentally insulted by Fritz) offering him a glass of dirty whisky until Duke defends Fritz by breaking the glass and whipping out a knife, causing the bartender to smash the whisky bottle against the counter and leading to a genuinely tense confrontation between the two 'crows' in front of Fritz and other patrons of the bar. Another scene implies the rape of the girlfriend of a member of a biker gang that Fritz later encounters: the image of the woman later shown cowering in shock in a graveyard as Fritz places a blanket around her is similarly disturbing.However, perhaps one of the most dramatic scenes takes place just after Fritz starts a race-riot: as Duke tries to get him away from the violence, he is thrown backwards by an unseen gunshot (the sound and image cleverly likened to that of a cue ball breaking apart a triangle of billiard balls on a pool table). As Duke slowly suffers the pain of the gunshot wound, the last moments of his life are represented by 15 billiard balls each bouncing into various holes in the pool table at varying speeds: as the last ball bounces in, it shatters into Duke's eye and he finally collapses onto the pavement as a bloody mess. This heavily dramatic scene highlights the constant irony present in each of Fritz's adventures: if he tries to make the world a better place, he may only succeed in making it worse (i.e. by standing up for the 'crows', he causes the death of one of his closest 'crow-friends').Offensiveness/Use of Taboo Subjects: 4.5/5-Considering it was the first ever X-rated animated film, Ralph Bakshi's adaptation of Robert Crumb's comic has a lot of fun in showing off its offensiveness by constantly breaking the boundaries of taste and decency in order to both stir up outrage and hilarity in viewers: everything from sex, drug abuse, violence, left and right-wing politics to alcohol abuse, hippie culture and most prominently racial stereotypes is satirized to a high degree here so that no stone is left unturned and no viewer is left in-offended by what they see. Unfortunately, this is also where one of the film's main problems lies: as the film was made in 1972, it can be seen as having been made too late for its time due to its story being set in the 60's and therefore so offensive so as to be considered politically inaccurate for the time period in which it was made. Furthermore, whilst the majority of audiences today are generally hard to offend due to the increasing use of profanity and taboo subjects in film, the subjects present here may often feel too dated to be considered satirical and may just be interpreted as being downright vulgar.Overall: 3.5/5.