German-Belgian animated feature Spy Cat is a suitably entertaining adventure. The film may prove more captivating to young children than to adults.
House cat Marnie lives a pampered existence. When she is sent away by her owner’s brother, Marnie teams up with a band of misfits to try and foil robbers who have been plaguing the town…
Directed and written by Christoph Lauenstein and Wolfgang Lauenstein (with co-writer Jesper Møller), Spy Cat has an appealing premise. Loosely based on the Brothers Grimm’s Town Musicians of Bremen, the tale has been given a contemporary update and a fleshed out narrative.
A detective fiction-obsessed cat who thinks she is going to solve a case is a decent hook. It is a shame that Spy Cat does not stick with this offbeat idea, as a noir mystery would have been a really fun direction to take the narrative. Instead, the filmmakers opt for a more orthodox approach, focusing on Marnie and the gangs attempts to clear their names and catch the real culprits. The film focuses on adventure tropes, with the four main characters going on a physical and spiritual journey. The narrative is accessible enough for young viewers to follow, although older audiences may find it a little too predictable.
Spy Cat is lightly amusing, but rarely laugh-out-loud funny. Marnie is a likeable protagonist. Although the character comes from a spoiled background, she is endearing in her interactions with her new friends as well as her tenacious attitude. Some of the film’s dialogue is hackneyed, but this is unlikely to be a problem for the target demographic. Spy Cat‘s animation is suitably appealing. The film contrasts styles, with the fur detail diverging from the broad human faces.
Spy Cat is not particularly memorable, but young viewers will most likely find the film an enjoyable adventure.