This is probably one of the most underrated movies of all time. I'm actually quite shocked at all the negative reviews it got. Nevertheless, it's the rags to riches tale of Danny. Which in mentioning him, I'll start off with the main characters.
Danny is a likeable tabby cat trying to make it big who along the way makes friends and enemies in the movie industry. His portrayed message is "you can do anything if you try hard enough" which actually is the overall message of the movie. Success and triumph through tenacity and determination. I found him relatable, though he may not have been my most favorite character. He's almost overly optimistic until near the end after being betrayed because of his somewhat naiive nature.
His female counterpart Sawyer, is a cynical but likeable Persian white cat who doesn't exactly get off on the right paw with Danny. The reason for her sad mood is the same as almost every other animal, she tried to make it in the big time like he did and was rejected. She felt more 3 dimensional to me than any of the others, and that's what makes her my favorite.
Darla makes me laugh, probably due to the fact that it's satirizing Shirley Temple in such a humorous fashion. But the funniest thing is she's actually kind of scary. It's probably because combining a child with insane temper problems, coupled with the fact that she's extremely rich and spoiled, managing to pull several strings around the studio, add the bodyguard as tall as a skyscraper (I exaggerate, but his height does seem to change throughout the movie), and you actually do have a dangerously insane character. Did I mention instead of giving a monologue about evil plans, she sings? You know like Scar or Rattigan, but cuter. She’s one of the more creative villains of the time, a character driven by greed, jealousy, and the idea that the world revolves around her pinky.
The other members of the cast are zany, quirky, witty and fun animals that try to support Danny in his endeavors. All of them have their own distinctive personalities, but they're very entertaining. I decline to mention all of them for sake of length, but there are definitely some good ones in there.
The violence is cartoonish. There's a flood scene where the characters are in peril, because Darla tries to drown them. Max a really tall bodyguard, slams Danny into the ground after nearly crushing him in his hand. He again places Danny in peril, near the end. Small kids may be scared of Darla, I'm not kidding there's a somewhat freaky scene where she laughs maniacally plotting the downfall of Danny and Sawyer, it involves electricity and a panel of dark pink colors. There is a manager of an acting agency and a head of a studio that smoke a lot. But other than that there's nothing else questionable for children. It's all pretty much clean.
The thing that really stood out to me, that I absolutely loved, was the soundtrack. I'm usually not too keen on musicals (they're nice, but sometimes Disney overloads it), but this one was gold. Randy Newman wrote, and they got Natalie Cole to do Sawyer's singing voice. The songs are catchy, creative, and they set the mood extremely well. The only one I didn't really care for was Danny's Hollywood arrival song, it was nice, but wasn't my favorite. However, "Now Our Time Is Come," "Big and Loud," "Tell Me Lies," "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us," and the often un-credited or recognized "I Do Believe" are just beautiful. The same for the two or three others I didn't mention.
Overall this is one of the few movies I would rate 10/10. And honestly, I think it just happened to be the victim of poor advertising and HUGE competition from other releases at the time. If it was done over, it probably would have been a much better success than it was (it only made 3.5 million compared to the 32 million budget, that's a huge flop). I have it on DVD, and I hope someday that they release it on Blu-ray with more advertising so perhaps people will look back and see what good animation was in the 90's. Well, that's it for my review, I sincerely hope some of you will take the time to watch it and see what a good movie it really is.