Cat Soup is an award-winning short film about two little cats and the strange adventures they have in the afterlife. It is an odd little travelogue, an animated journey through the eccentric reality of life after death. The plot is that of a dream; wispy and ethereal, frequently wandering from beautiful image to beautiful image without much connection to the image before.
Cat Soup’s animation and art is breathtaking, with vibrant colors throughout that turn the surreal world into a feast for the eyes. One dark and scary world looms with dark trees and spooky shadows, while a water-elephant the kitties find in the desert is the bright, vibrant blue of an oasis. A frozen red sea might be a painting captured on film. Animation is transcended, at times, moving into the realm of art without all the pretension. Cat Soup does not feel, as some anime does, like a bunch of nice characters moving against a static background. The world feels, for lack of a better word, alive.
For a majority of people, this is going to be one of those movies where your forehead scrunches up and your brain frantically demands that someone hold everything and explain what’s going on. The director’s commentary makes things a little clearer, but it’s still the wandering playground of a dream world, and it takes repeated viewings to get a grasp on it. While Cat Soup is based on a manga, the director admits in the commentary that it winds up being very different from the manga, making it hard for some of the original fans to accept his film.
The extras are quite nice. The director’s commentary, as I said, makes the film a little easier to follow. The art gallery is worth perusing, as are the trailers and such. Technically, you could not ask for a more flawless DVD. Colors are clear and crisp and the sound quality is just fantastic.
Unfortunately, this isn’t one for everyone. I can already see the huddled masses who would say “This is stupid! It doesn’t make any sense!” when the plot isn’t spoon-fed to them with big signs that say “This is what is going on!” For those who like surreal films (and call movies “films”), though, this is one you’re going to love.
This is a gorgeous little film and it really shows on the DVD. While the director’s commentary isn’t all that enlightening about the craft of film-making, it does explain quite a bit that’s going on. The Art Gallery, too, is worth a browse.
Well, it got 3 people to watch it, which I would consider a fair predictor of entertainment value. It’s certainly not something for everyone, though, and those without a taste for the weird and surreal will spend most of Cat Soup with their foreheads scrunched up in a “Huh?” expression.
DVD Extras: Interview with Tatsuo Sato (director), Director’s commentary track, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Cat Soup Trailer, Art Gallery, Previews