Friday, September 2, 2011

Felix the Cat: The Movie - Part 4 (Final Part)

Part 1.
Part 2.

Part 3.

What a better way to issue in a brand new month than by closing up on this strange, delightful acid trip to my eyes that is this movie?

...I can probably think of a million better ways to celebrate the month of September than by sitting all by my lonesome in a quiet room and watching the hopes and dreams of Hungarian animators get silently crushed by horrible time schedules and weak budgets, but since I went for a specific theme for my blog, this is what I'll write about. Otherwise I'd be boring you all about anecdotes involving the colorful people that inhabit my dorms.

Anyways, Felix the Cat! I just recently learned this, but there are a couple Felix the Cat black and white shorts involving circuses. There aren't any women dancing in bubbles or overweight alligators with throat scars in them, but this proves that I was wrong about the filmmakers. They were making a really clever allusion to "Felix Wins Out" and "The Circus", very classic silent 1920's shorts.

...either that, or they were making this crap up as the film was being produced. It's hard to tell.  

Also, you know how I said that the animation is only going to get even worse as time goes on? Well, yeah, that was mainly to warn you ahead of time about the last portion of the film. Even fans of this movie can't excuse the last fifteen minutes of this film, it's that bad. Characters start to melt, eyeballs start to slide off faces, animation clips starts to be reused, and it's just a horrible thing to watch because you know they could do better because anyone could do better than this. It's a sliding scale of badness with this film, unfortunately, and it's really sad when the high point of any animated film is when the main character is being held captive by an overweight lizard mutant.

So be prepared for the final reckoning as we see this movie finally get out of the circus and reach its conclusion. And trust me, you will be disappointed once you see how this movie ends in...

Felix the Cat: The Movie Part 4!

When we last left the fractured shell of what was originally a great 1920's silent film protagonist, he was still in that damn circus, but we certainly saw a lot more of Princess Oriana. Princess Oriana proved how much of a pleasant heroine she was by dancing in a bubble and then later mocking, laughing, and otherwise being rude to our feline companion. Somehow, that didn't stop Felix from asking her to tell him her whole backstory for him. Once our black-furred little idiot learned that Oriana just sort of sat on her elegant princess tush while her horrible uncle completely suppressed and enslaved an entire country of peaceful mutants, he fell completely head over heels for her. Because nothing's hotter than violent political coups.

In other words, Part 3 was a lot more plot-driven, but unfortunately that plot involved unlikeable princesses and a villain that could've been a lot cooler than the product we're getting onscreen. I mean, geez, the man controls an army of robots and yet a circus ringmaster is more interesting

...speaking of the ringmaster, is it me, or did that whole scene in Oriana's bedroom explain every single major character's motivations and backstory except for Wack Lizardi's? Why did the Duke choose Wack in the first place? Why a circus? Unfortunately, Wack Lizardi's backstory, from where got his fashionable chin scar (probably doing something badass like wrestling swamp dragons) to where the hell he got that talking stick, all lay tantalizingly off-screen and are never ever answered.

I love how Felix the Cat gets top billing in this poster.
But I'm getting off-topic. We're here to see a member of royalty perform with a talking cat in the middle of a swamp circus! Also, I can't believe I'm just accepting this as perfectly normal. See what you've done, movie? Anyways, all of the hideous aberrations are properly seated, The Professor and Poindexter are incognito and are ready to watch this trainwreck unfold, Wack steps onto stage, and...the animation's quality drops so far that it plummets through the floor.

This is part of the reason why I cut off my review where I did. It's hard to describe what happened to the animation in this scene and to a lesser extent the rest of the movie, but Wack announcing the upcoming acts is just pure ass. There's incredibly bizarre glitches like Wack's shadow moving independently of his actions (so Wack is Dracula?), and Wack, instead of actually moving his mouth in sync with the words he's saying, decides to randomly contort his facial muscles in ways that baffle modern scientists to this very day.

Let this be a lesson to future animators; never animate while under the influence.
It's kind of sad too, because this is Wack Lizardi's longest piece of dialogue and the animators had plenty of time to make Wack accentuate his voice actor's decent job with some clever animation. But nope. He just sits there and flaps his mouth like a possessed muppet while his shadow behind him looks like the resurrected soul of Bozo the Clown.

Oh, and while Wack is talking about Felix the Cat's act like it's both hilarious and amazing (giant space lizards are pretty bad liars), a lion tries to eat Felix, only for Pim (who was freshly appointed as Felix's celebrity bodyguard) to fracture its skull by beating its head in repeatively with the magic bag. Why am I mentioning this? Because nothing fits the atmosphere of a sleazy circus better than attempted cannibalism and violent assault and battery.

I guess it would be funny if Wack pulled back the curtains, only to show the audience
Felix's disemboweled, half-eaten corpse.
What ensues next is Felix's act, which is thankfully rather condensed compared to the first time he performed in the circus. Unfortunately, they condensed it too much, because all Felix does is turn his bag into stilts and then it's over. Really, that's literally the entire act. Imagine if you went to see this great performance involving cannons, strange ladders made of wheels, and skateboarding tricks one day, and then the follow-up the next day was just a couple seconds of a cat balancing on stilts before he turns to the audience and smiles like they're honestly supposed to cheer that waste of time on. If I was a hideous swamp monster watching this, I'd be pretty annoyed by this ripoff and demand to get my bug-shaped currency back.

Also, Felix's act is environmentally friendly, because it was made of 80% recycled parts. The only new footage was the part with the Stilts of Disappointment, with the audience and Felix's other actions pulled from previous scenes. Get used to this, because we're at the point where this film starts reusing animation as if it was going out of style.
"I paid 75 dollars for this!?"
After that rather short performance, Wack Lizardi asks what Felix is planning to do next. Because hey, I'd be asking questions too if my star performer, the one who's supposed to be selling the most tickets, decided to randomly quit after doing one trick. The lazyass household pet decides to ask Wack if he can play in the Princess's act on account he knows the music that goes with it. Hopefully his music is a lot better than his standup because I still have nightmares about that "Zill Pickle!" crack.

I love the expression Wack gives him when he asks this, by the way. He knows how it is, when a performer is suddenly the most popular act in the circus and suddenly starts bossing him around like he owns the place. Wait until he pulls some other 1920's animation star out of the freakish hellswamp, Wack is thinking to himself; then we'll see how long Felix can call the shots.

"Yeah, kid, fame is an addicting drug. I would know."
Since there's nothing suspicious about a princess-loving heroic cat with a shapeshifting bag being in the same performance as the princess he's supposed to be guarding, Wack agrees. After that, the cartoon decides to take a sharp turn into Nightmare Territory. When Wack says that he loves Felix (a platonic brotherly love unless Wack swings that way, and I wouldn't be surprised if he did), his eyes randomly manifest into horrifying swirls for only a split second before reverting to normal.

It's a really quick "blink and you'll miss it" frame that's only onscreen for a fraction of a second, freaking out children on a subconscious level. It's like I'm watching the animators' sanity fall apart right before my very eyes, because they sure as hell didn't go for deranged sight gags like this earlier.

Wack's a harvester of souls on his days off.
Wack Lizardi decides that he's through giving the children watching this on the Disney channel nightmares, so he builds up the upcoming double feature of cat and princess as the second coming of Christ while Felix the Cat conspires against him behind his back. So much for a mutual relationship.

This scene instantly gains kudos from me though, because if you pause at just the right moment, you get to see Wack flipping the middle finger at the audience. Inbetweening error or deliberate attempt to sneak in Wack's true feelings of the Duke in the cartoon?
"Suck it, Duke of Zill!"
Also, even though one of the members of The Cat Band had just tried to eat him, Felix the Cat says that he'll free them too. Why? I have no idea, really. It's not like The Cat Band was very important in this movie. Most of the time, when they played their instruments, the movie just covered it up with stereotypical carousel music. Let's face it, they're not characters; they're just a poor explanation as to why the Duke of Zill's villain song had 80's sounding guitar solos.
Look at that grin. You know he's lying.
But then, The Princess's act! She starts "dancing", or at least the vaguest definition of the word, and here is where you can really tell that the animation's quality has gone south. Instead of moving in a believable fashion, Oriana rapidly spins in a circle while waving her arms wildly like she's having a seizure. It's rather hilarious to watch because no human would move like this.

Whoo! Bubble tornado!
I will give one compliment to this scene though. The jazz music coming from Felix's saxophone is fantastic. I don't care if the colors are now incredibly muted and muddy and none of these characters have believable animation anymore; I want this movie's soundtrack on a CD. The fact that we only get like 15 seconds of this beautiful fusion of saxophone and the Princess's theme song just feels like a swift kick to the gonads. Geez, filmmakers. If you're going to waste 80% of your budget on the music, can you at least make it so that we can hear it?
When the Jazzman's testifying
A faithless man believes
He can sing you into paradise
Or bring you to your knees
While this dessert for my ears goes on, we once again cut to the Kingdom of Oriana through the miracles of reused animation. Pearl cycles through some previous animation just to let us viewers know that she didn't starve to death in that bird cage, and The Duke of Zill is being pleasured by seeing his niece dance while a cylinder-shaped robot fills his face butt with gas. Who wrote this?

He then makes up for this travesty that is this scene by saying a line that's surprisingly not that bad considering the character uttering it. He says "Have fun in your wonderful new kingdom, princess!" in a sarcastic tone and then honest to god points and laughs at Princess Oriana like he just pwned some n00bs on the Blizzard Entertainment forums. The Duke of Zill; truly the Kingdom of Oriana's best troll.

"LOL @ U!"
So, what's Felix's ingenious plan that will allow them to escape the circus while surrounded in cylinders and mutants? Bubbles. That come out of the horn of his saxophone-shaped magic bag. Any other movie, I would've questioned this plot development, but really, at this point, Felix the Cat could turn his magic bag into a space armadillo that shoots laser beams from its mouth and I wouldn't even bat an eyelash. It's just one of those movies.

I also fondly remember this scene as a kid because I can clearly recall a time I tried to make my clarinet blow bubbles because I thought it was so cool. My music teacher did not enjoy me spraying soapy water all over the place during class.
And yet this doesn't make his music sound like crap.
Turns out these bubbles are magic bubbles because they encase characters that are important and float off and away from the circus. Nice security, Wack. Pim and the others look fine with this method of transportation, but if that were me, I'd be scared to death at the idea of traveling by bubble. You can't control them, for starters, and what's stopping my giant globule of surface tension from flying too high and then popping due to changes in atmospheric pressure, sending me plummeting to my doom? It's clever, since it ties in to Oriana's bubble, but it's also frightening if you think too much about it.

They found his broken, lifeless body 50 miles away in a tree, baffling all the locals.
So the bubbles engulf the circus workers that matter (none of The Cat Band members are in any bubbles, by the way, making Felix a horrible liar), the music goes from fantastic to earmeltingly gorgeous (at least the parts that you can hear over the unnecessary background noise) and Felix's magic bag turns into a bubble and starts carrying the Princess to safety. Good thing the Princess had such a convenient performance prop or else this never would've worked.
Wack probably made a lot of money selling Oriana-themed snowglobes on the side.
Wack isn't going to just let all of his money float out of the circus top, but luckily his little whip pet thing was encased in a bubble (so Felix wasn't going to help the cat band escape but he was going to take the stick!?), giving him enough height for him to jump on top of Oriana's bubble. And, since this pudgy lizardman has pure awesome coursing through his veins, when he lands on the bubble, he shouts "Baboo!" for absolutely no reason at all. Wack Lizardi; truly a ladies' man.

Think this is lame? He puts up a better fight than the Duke.
But then, instead of giving Wack a satisfying conclusion to his story arc, the movie unnecessarily throws in a long scene where the Duke of Zill gets so angry at Wack for letting them outsmart him that he throws out his back and some robots have to straighten his back by hanging him from a hook like a pinata. Okay. Way to make the main villain a lot less threatening, movie. And trust me when I say this, but the Duke makes the Care Bears look threatening with his back hook and his bicep ribbons.

This is the person that enslaved two separate kingdoms.
Back to characters that are less embarrassing to watch than the Duke. What is Wack Lizardi's climactic boss battle against the heroes? Well, he sort of clings to the Princess's bubble and looks angry until he slowly slides down the bubble, looses his grip, and falls several stories onto the circus below. It's really lame and no one even throws a punch, but despite this, this is still going to be a better ending than the Duke's.

Also, I believe he survived the fall. No, I'm not in denial and you can't make me change my mind. Wack didn't die; he just broke one of his arms but became a better person from the harrowing, humbling experience with the backstabbing feline and the other workers that double-crossed him. Otherwise it'd be a cruel, cruel universe devoid of sunshine and happiness where someone that cool dies and yet the Mizzards live.

"I've been defeated by trusting my employees!"
In a grandiose physical metaphor of his influence and corruption collapsing with him, when Wack Lizardi lands on the circus, he manages to completely dismantle the entire tent with his fat body, and causes the giant towering structure to crumble to a lifeless heap on the ground.

...wait a second. There were people, including children, inside that tent! You hear the screams and everything! Holy crap, how many people in Progress City died that day!? Does Felix realize just what he did?

Pictured: Horrible, senseless death.
Of course the bubbles carrying our heroes land safely in the middle of Progress City and the Princess, Felix, and Pim all regroup, none of them contemplating the purposeless loss of life that occurred in the circus. Yeah, Princess Oriana, I see how it is. You didn't care when they got enslaved and you certainly don't care when horrible living conditions turned one of their popular public structures into a death trap. Monster.

Also, is it me, or do I find it kind of chilling that you don't see anymore Progress City citizens after the circus falls?
"How wonderful. With those hideous creatures all dead, I can turn this
festering city into a park dedicated to me!"
So now Felix, the Princess, and Pim are on the lam from the various geometrical figures in Progress City on account of the genocide. This could've had the potential to be really interesting, but it really isn't. When I was a kid, my interest in this movie dropped to astronomical lows when the Princess became a party member to Felix's ragtag bunch of misfits. And rewatching this, I can see why. Since the writers decided that her rude personality just was not going to fly while they're escaping for their lives, Princess Oriana defaults to traditional "princess" personality. That is to say, she doesn't have one.

That being said, the backgrounds completely overshadow the characters by being freaking awesome. I said it once and I'll say it again. Progress City's designs are amazing. I mean, just look at this shot where they're walking across a bridge. If Felix the Cat ever decided to revisit Oriana (fat chance of that happening considering the quality and the popularity of this movie), they'd better do the smart thing and give Progress City more focus. Partly because I need to know whether any Zillians survived.

I'm pretty sure this city also appeared in Captain EO.
Oh, and The Professor and Poindexter survived the circus collapse because they have contractual immunity on account they're recognized, beloved characters from the 1950's. Killing them with the Zillians would've made more sense, but it would've been like killing off Beany and Cecil.

Also, the Mizzards are in one of the The Professor's suitcases, somehow not suffocating or starving to death in their leatherbound tomb. Just telling you now so you don't wonder where the hell they went. Not sure why you'd do a silly thing like that, but there you go.

"Man, that certainly was a bloodbath back at the circus, eh Poindexter?"
"What has been seen will haunt me forever, Uncle."
When we learn that The Professor and Poindexter were not crushed into a mushy red paste underneath falling support beams, the camera once again cuts to a princess, an old man, and a talking cat. After they climb down a ladder in a way that Pim is able to easily look up Princess Oriana's dress, they find their method of escape. Be prepared to bask in the amazingness that is...these things.

Well, what do you expect from Progress City-grade transportation?
Apparently they're some sort of mechanical horse and they were the Duke's first experiment, showing us that the Duke has some sort of odd fixation on making everything geometric. And, despite the fact that there's a huge pile of them just laying there collecting dirt, rust, and hobo urine, they run just fine. Thank goodness for contrived miracles.

Unfortunately, even though the silly motorcycle horse cylinders still work, that doesn't stop the heroes from looking absolutely ridiculous when they ride them. They don't so much drive out of Progress City as they do gloriously putter out of it. I especially got a kick out of seeing the Princess ride this jerking, falling apart piece of failed technology while somehow maintaining perfect princess composure. Very little fazes a woman who had to dance in front of a crowd of amphibious dregs of society.

Oh, and when they exit the city, our black-furred hero realizes that he left his magic bag of tricks behind. Good going, Felix the Cat. It's not like that was the source of all your power or anything! Seriously, who sets their very important magical artifacts down and just leaves them behind?

"Way to rub it in, Princess."
But they can't go back for it, because the rave robots are chasing them! Surely this will be a very important plot point, crippling our hero and forcing him to fight with just his own natural defenses to defeat the Duke? Kind of an interesting take on the character, since the magic bag wasn't always a part of the Felix the Cat lore. Maybe this is the filmmakers' way of discarding a plot point from the fifties and going with the 1920's version of Felix instead.

Any other villain would be embarrassed at the idea of their army of evil
looking like a pretty rainbow, but not the Duke!
Well, no, because literally less than five seconds later, The Professor just conveniently rides up to them with the magic bag. What are the odds that The Professor would take the exact same route even though he was trying to get away with stealing Felix's bag? So much for that conflict.

By the way, notice the sudden change in backgrounds and color values. Notice how they don't at all match up with the flat, muddy plains they were driving down earlier? This took me a while to figure out just what the hell happened, but apparently they were running from the cylinders all night long and now they're in a completely different location during the day. Geez, even a quick "Six hours later" time card would've helped here.

Long road trips are always hell.
With all of the major characters now all grouped together, Princess Oriana starts to reminisce about the Mizzards as if they passed on to the great beyond and as if they were important characters. This is pure filler, but most of all, it's rather strange to hear Oriana praise them as being good friends when all they did was eat a hole in her cell and then wordlessly sit there and listen to her story. They never even shared a word of dialogue with you, Princess! I'm not even going to comment on Pim's "They were great artists" quip because everyone knows that's a horrible lie.

Luckily, this doesn't go on for too long, because suddenly, they run into cylinders...

...and a dragon reciting Marlon Brando quotes from A Streetcar Named Desire (what?), both obstacles blocking off their major escape routes. Yeah, I'm just going to avoid this sudden lapse into acid trip territory here, if you don't mind. It's hard to make fun of a movie when it just rolls over and gives up.

No, I didn't make the Marlon Brando dragon up.
Since a dragon saying "Stella! Stella!" and cylinders just standing there and posing no threat are both frightening obstacles, the band of goofballs decide to just avoid all of that crap and take a different direction. Hey, wouldn't you?

But first, Poindexter decides to flash a giant technological middle finger at the Duke by rigging one of the silly-looking vehicles with plastic explosives (so he just carries that kind of stuff around? What else in that backpack?) and uses it to destroy the cylinders even though no one was going to use that route. Because suck it, Duke! A young boy of indeterminate age is smarter than you!

Hey, looks like the melting gobstopper tree is in season!
Unfortunately, their path leads them to unspeakable horrors. This is the part of movie I like to call "the part that made children crap their pants in undiluted fear", because we're entering The Hair Forest. What is The Hair Forest? Well, basically its a heinously awful place where tendrils of ungodly huge hair follicles burst out of a desert and where unspeakable nightmares reside. This is the land that makes Mordor look like Care-A-Lot, the land that takes your puny mortal concepts like hope and love and grinds them to dust.

So now we're in Hell. Interesting setting for a Felix cartoon.
Pim tells us, the viewers, that The Hair Forest is a very dangerous area (understatement of the year) because it's filled with Headhunters, creatures that, well, hunt heads. It's a nice way of saying that they will tear your head clear off your spinal column and leave your decapitated corpse out in the sun for the hair tendrils to eat. When did this movie suddenly decide it wanted to be like a Judas Priest album? Felix the Cat doesn't seem like the type of character that would branch into the horror genre.

Oriana, when she hears that they've walked into the Gates of Hell, has some composed princess angst in that she's already gotten them in enough danger. The group, like the people watching this, quickly discards this with Felix suddenly adopting a look of utter disgust. Princess, now's not the time. Wait until after they get out of Satan's Garden.
"Keep wallowing in self-pity and I'll use you as a human shield."
And then, the nightmares arrive! With an ungodly screech slicing through the air, Eldritch Abominations with razor-sharp teeth fly down from the sky and pierce the viewers' souls with their blinding yellow eyes. It's hard to describe how it was seeing these things for the first time when I was five, but I'm pretty sure I crapped out my own intestines from sheer terror.

Why is this in a Felix the Cat movie!?
Sweet Jesus, look at them. LOOK AT THEM. This is the stuff Sauron and Voldemort would have nightmares of. I don't care if the shoulder wound they inflict on Princess Oriana inexplicably vanishes, they're still pure colon-voiding panic wrapped in decapitating horror. Just stop and contemplate how they would remove someone's head from their shoulder if what they have is flesh-rending teeth and sheer numbers. I'm sure it involves holding the victim down while a swarm of them rips their way to the neck bones.

Oh, and to make matters worse, they have a head Headhunter. Eyes glowing with the fires of Hell, he brings with him the other Headhunters' bodies, because these creatures spit in the face of nature by having heads that can naturally behead themselves from their terrifying skeletal bodies just so that they can attack. Also, it turns out that every Headhunter wears a living rattlesnake as a belt and carries around javelins as back-up weapons. In short, I just pissed myself twice.

"See you in your nightmares, kids!"
This festival of monstrosities goes on for a while until Felix decides that the children of America are done having irreversible psychological trauma inflicted on them. With a quick eye laser to his magic bag of tricks, Felix decides to fix everything by summoning a cloud of hats. Look, it was either that or Felix somehow beating the minions of Satan with his bare hands.

The Headhunters like the generous bribe, because they're as well-dressed as they are scary. Felix better be grateful that these creatures didn't ask for the normal blood sacrifice they carry out as toll for passing through their lands.
The way they're gripping their snake belts is pretty awkward...
Once they escape the hideous demons, there's a rather pointless scene where the group thinks that Pim got decapitated by flying horrors and feel sorry for themselves until Pim shows up in a boat. Oh, that wacky Pim, faking his own death just to see if the other four care about his existence.

...and where the hell did he get the boat!? Don't tell me he just happened to find an abandoned one sitting next to the Headhunters' territory, because that leaves a really morbid thought in my head about the boat's previous owners.
"Look down. Look up. Where are you? You're on a boat.
With the man your man could smell like."
And, now that they have a boat, they can get to Oriana. Cue the really catchy musical transition, since apparently nothing of interest happens while they're on a boat!

Wait, does this mean that Oriana's really close to a nest of creatures renowned for being nature's guillotines? Holy crap, man.
Why aren't these backgrounds and music in a better movie?
With Princess Oriana leading them down the steps she played on as a child (okay Oriana, now explain why your kingdom's next to the Hair Forest), all of the characters "quietly" sneak their way into the palace. I'm putting quietly in quotation marks because, even though they're supposed to be avoiding detection, Felix still chooses to talk in his normal "scream every word that falls out of my mouth" volume. Here is a hero that would suck at Metal Gear Solid. 
"Way to not include railings in your treacherous mountain secret route, princess!"
They enter through a secret underground tunnel while the music is extraordinarily catchy, and it turns out there's a ladder that leads to Oriana's room! Luckily for Pim, Oriana goes first, giving him something to occupy his mind before he thinks about all the creative ways a cylinder can utterly massacre him.

"Climb a little slower, princess. Boy howdy, that's the stuff."
Finally, we see just what destruction the Duke of Zill has inflicted on Oriana's precious castle. Oh, that villainous slimeball, he's coated the walls and ceilings with crystals! Princess Oriana reacts in overblown disgust, but really Princess, I saw what the place looked like before. The crystals are a BIG improvement. Look, he even repainted the walls so they're not screaming hot pink!

They even removed the random paintings. Robots have great taste.
They sneak out onto the balcony, on account the best place to get a drop on the man holding your kingdom hostage is to stand in the most visible spot in the room, and then we hear Princess Oriana scream that Grumper is one of them! Okay, guys, you're in enemy territory and surrounded by killer robots. Keep your voices down. Complain about how the man with the squinty eyes and the black attire double-crossed you later.

Also, I love the expression on Grumper's face while Princess Oriana is wailing really loudly about his betrayal. Look at him. That is the face of a man who will never find true satisfaction. He knows that nothing will ever stop the decadence in Oriana's government and he knows that he just traded one political clown for another. Weep for this man and his drooping goatee.

"Hmmm, what if Oriana was run by a democracy instead of by corrupt monarchs?"
But wait, it gets better. Wait until you see how the Duke of Zill enters this scene, because it will be worth the price of admission. The cylinders and cubes dance around like idiots while funky dance music fills the soundtrack, which is cheesy but a rather expected thing to happen considering this movie. After all, the Duke's not above such behavior as making his minions dance for his amusement. Being Lord and Master of Oriana sure does have its perks.
With the right dub, you can market this as a preschool film about shapes.
The cylinders dance, we hear an announcer introduce the new king of Oriana, Grumper sarcastically bows, and the Duke of Zill arrives in this thing. Words cannot describe the majesty that is the Duke's Royal Taxi!

I guess halfway through the film, the animators saw how silly the Duke was and ran with it.
...okay, I can't top that, but the review shall continue anyways.

The moment Felix sees the Duke and his Taxi of Shame, he decides that he wants to take a shot at being Wonder Woman. Interesting choice of weapons, Felix, even though it's been established that you can turn that thing into something lethal like a sword. Unfortunately, since Felix just sort of stands there and twirls his lasso instead of using it, he's quickly disposed of with the application of cylinder-shaped glowing robots.

It's the Lasso of Outsourced Animation!
But then, reused animation! And lots of it. First the Duke of Zill teleports to a previous scene with him on his throne, and then, when the cylinders grab Oriana, she somehow manages to teleport back into the Dimensporter room. Man, amazing things happen when the makers of this movie get lazy. The shining cherry of the recycled sundae is the part where they show the cylinders grabbing Pearl even though she has nothing to do with this scene. Running low on steam, animators? Couldn't be bothered to show the cylinders grabbing Felix or someone actually present in the group?

"Don't worry, Princess. The viewers won't notice the reused animation if they're distracted by shiny lights!"
With everyone rounded up, the Magic Bag held captive by robots, and just everything looking rather bleak for those loveable 1950's cartoon stars, the Duke of Zill decides that since Princess Oriana was nice enough to show up to his brand new kingdom with only a cat, some old men, and a nerd, he's going to call all the shots. See, all he wants is that Book of Ultimate Power that was mentioned only once in this entire movie. Having total control of the world's most powerful government just isn't enough for him!

"And while you're fetching the Book of Ultimate Power, can you dance inside a bubble? That was hot."
What comes next is an incredibly bizarre piece of animation from the Princess. She says that no matter what her creepy incest-craving uncle can do to her, he will never get the sacred writings of the plot device book, but she says it in such a condescending, happy tone of voice like she's treating this whole thing like a joke. I guess even she can't take her Uncle and his cute little red ribbons seriously.

"Oh my god, you're actually serious!?"
The Duke of Zill expected that Oriana was going to play cute with him, so he decides that he'll use the ever popular villain cliche of threatening harm on Oriana's friends in an attempt to get her to cooperate. Or, in Pearl's case, he threatens to sexually harass her, on account he orders his robots to fondle her. The Duke is misogynist as well as creepy.

So of course with that platitude pushed onto the table, the little bubbledancer goes and fetches the book. Because hey, the movie's almost over and she wants to get this climax over with too.

While she goes to some sacred chamber of royalty that hasn't been established until just now, Grumper pulls the best face he's ever pulled this entire movie. He just looks so deeply satisfied at the fact that his side is winning that, for a moment, he channels his inner Fonz and goes "Aaaaay". Ah, Grumper. Why couldn't he be the main villain of this film?
"Man, Pearl is looking fiiiiine..."
With a glowy rock, a phoned in rhyme, and some over-the-top special effects that are meant to distract us from the poorly conceived plot, the book is brought into this world. So essentially, instead of paying for good animation, the producers decided to blow it all on flashing lights in an attempt to ruin our eyesight. Makes sense. You can't notice the reused and horrible animation if you're blind!

The reactor core's about to erupt! Everybody evacuate the area!
Geez, with all that build-up, this thing, this mystical book that contains the sacred writings of Oriana, should be amazing, right? I bet it even cures cancer!

...yeah, if you've been following along, you probably have noticed that whenever I make a rhetorical question such as this in regards to this movie, that means the end product is going to be vastly disappointing. And really, don't expect much from a plot device that's only been brought up twice this entire movie.

The book is as disappointing as the Duke's taste in fashion.
And guess what? It is incredibly disappointing. The audience gets to read along with the Duke of Zill as we find out the entire contents of the Book of Ultimate Power, and it turns out it's a hamfisted moral, just rammed up one of the movie's orifices as if to justify over eighty minutes of circuses and can-shaped robots. Even though it's a BOOK of Ultimate Power, "the elders" (aka, whoever wrote this book) decided to waste a lot of paper by having a book that only has three words in it.

...wait, did Kung Fu Panda rip off Felix the Cat: The Movie by having the secret dragon scroll being incredibly similar to this?
Eh, it's still a better read than Twilight.
Even though I've been firmly in Camp Wack Lizardi and Camp Grumper as far as villains in this movie go, I can't help but feel sorry for the Duke. He gets so mad at both the book and all those wasted years that he starts yelling at the Book of Ultimate Power and to the lesser extent the entire world in frustration. He even says "I've been waiting all of these years for this crut?", which sounds a lot like an adjective often used to describe this plot.

But then he ruins what little sympathy I have for him by tossing the Book of Ultimate Power within reach of Felix the Cat. That's like getting on your knees and pleading for someone to kick your ass, Duke.

"Here, you scrugnut pollifister! Have a weapon to use to conveniently slay me!"
Since book-reading lends itself to a very weak ending, The Duke of Zill decides to pull out his most impressive machine ever. Why, it's The Master Cylinder, a reference to an episode of the Felix the Cat TV show! Be prepared for either a well-paced, climatic battle between good vs. evil or an extremely short cop-out of an ending.
Guess what they went with. Go on. Guess.
Unfortunately, since Felix the Cat: the Movie can spend three minutes on tap-dancing Mizzards but doesn't have enough time to make a truly satisfying ending, The Master Cylinder says one line of dialogue before Felix tosses the book at him, destroying it and causing it to melt. All of the cylinders and cubes explode since Felix killed the head vampire and, since the Cylinder lands on the Duke of Zill, the Duke of Zill says "I'll be back!" and disappears in a flash of light.

Yes, that really was the entire fight. A book defeats the entire bad guy and his army. A book. A book with three words in it. A book.
"No, not into the pit! It's BUUURNS!"
As you might have guessed, this is the thing everyone complains about in this movie besides the animation. And you know what? I'm going to complain about it too. It's a horrible way to end a film! So what, all of those useless scenes ended up eating into the final showdown? Even as a kid, I didn't buy this ending they were trying to feed us because it feels like Felix the Cat did nothing to save the kingdom of Oriana. The circus, you at least got a beginning, middle, and end to the conflict. Here, cylinder shows up and then cylinder melts in a fraction of the time it took to have Mizzards tap-dance. the way, when the Duke disappeared, does that mean that Grumper went with him? We never see or hear of Grumper ever again, so he's either with the Duke or currently hanging from a noose in the middle of the town's square.
It's the most ridiculous, sparkly death ever.
So everything's back to normal, the citizens of Oriana celebrate the return of their horribly incompetent ruler, and the heroes prepare to leave for home. Poindexter tries to explain that the gold in the ancient book's binding caused the Master Cylinder to blow up, but really, he's just making that crap up in an attempt to hastily make an explanation as to why that ending just absolutely sucked. Felix and the Princess hug, and Felix offers an invitation to his dimension. Seems like a decent enough ending, so you know something's going to ruin it.
Look where Felix's hand is.
In this case, it's because the Princess is an asshole. Apparently this adventure has taught Her Royal Highness absolutely nothing because we learn from Princess Oriana that she's shutting the Dimensporter, a wondrous piece of technology that's never done anything harmful to her or her kingdom (and in fact saved her kingdom; the villain was from her dimension!), for good. Let me copy the exact line she says and offer a quick "Awful Ruler to English" translation for those confused.

Oriana: "I'm going to close down the Dimensporter for good. Next time your dimension might be the one that needs saving."
Translation: "Even though you risked your life to save Oriana, if something happens in your dimension, we're not even going to raise a finger and attempt to help you."

...can the movie bring back the Duke, please?

"I don't care if you saved me from a distopia filled with reptilian abominations. I'm still not helping you."
Despite this obvious insult, Felix, Poindexter, and The Professor smile and wave goodbye to this mutant-populated hellhole that is this dimension. Good. The more distance they put between Princess Bland and them, the better.
"Let us never speak of this movie ever again, gentlemen."
"You mean like how we never speak of Baby Felix?"
But wait, they need to tie up a loose end involving those two characters no one cares about! Luckily, it turns out both The Professor and Poindexter are shameless thieves and filled up their backpacks and suitcases with stolen gold, and when they're forced to empty out their carry-ons so that the Dimensporter can transport them, the Mizzards tumble out and are miraculously still alive despite being in a sealed tight suitcase for nearly two days.

Also, is it me, or is the Princess rather lax about the fact that two visitors from Earth just tried to make off with solid gold dinnerware from the royal kitchen? Any other society and those two would've hanged.

...and wait, how did the Dimensporter room completely drain of water? Remember the fish?

But who cares? Mizzards!
Because of the gold, the princess lazily drolls out a line about Felix having a heart of gold, but frankly, at this point, I'm just happy the movie's finally over. Felix says his "Righty-o!" catchphrase for the first time in the entire movie, and the movie honest to god ends with Princess Oriana shutting down the only contact between her and the person who just saved her society from an evil cybernetic monster who can build giant robots. Yeah, Princess. You better not shed more sentient tears when the Duke comes back with robots immune to your book-tossing tactics, because you just dug your own grave.

And what about Progress City!? You'd better start giving those starving, overpolluted mutants some economical assistance because there was a pretty good reason why they liked it when you were enslaved! I sure hope they don't try to start a peasant revolution because, without an army, you'll be first on the chopping block, Princess.
"Sorry, no refunds!"
And so ends one of the strangest movies I've ever seen, and possibly one of the strangest animated movies that exists, period. I can't really say much more about it beyond showing you something from the credits.

The Mizzard song got top billing.

The Mizzard song got top billing.

There are no words.

The Morals of this Movie
*Anyone can be a better ruler than Princess Oriana. I mean, really.
*The Duke of Zill is, of course, the boss.
Throwing ancient books of untold value solves everything.
Old prospectors and giant, scarred lizard carnies make good business partners.
The best place to hold the leader of an overthrown government captive is in a circus held in another country.

Final Verdict
Okay, what is there to really say about this movie?

First, I'm going to list the things that it got right, because I don't like acting like something is completely irredeemable. I'm not like most review sites where it's all "Everything sucks and I hate it!" all in here, even if the movie involved is something in this kind of quality.

For starters, the backgrounds and world building are incredible, even if they don't fit the Felix the Cat character at all. Oriana is a strange, horrible world filled with smog-infested cities and demonic abominations, and it was really fun to watch and see what new locations the movie invented. The music's incredibly good (earlier tracks aren't as good, but man does it get amazing later on down the road), and I actually really liked some of the characters. Besides Wack Lizardi and Grumper, I actually started liking Felix the Cat and getting invested in his story once he started to cool it on the background chatter. I also liked the circus and the idea behind the circus, and just wish they had more to do with the plot.

And now for the bad stuff.

Which will be illustrated by this bizarre animation goof.
*The Princess and the Duke are both terrible terrible characters. I feel that if the main villain is going to have minions that outshine them in every way (the cylinders and cubes had more personality than the Duke), then there's just no point, and the Princess was completely unlikeable because she would alternate between being bland and being a jerk. When you think about it, these events are all her fault. If they were going for a unique subversion by having it this way, they should've made it clear.
*The animation. The best I've seen the animation was in the circus, and only because it was only at mediocre level. The animation gets really lazy and mushy at the worst possible times. The best animation is in the circus, and the worst animation is when they're actually facing off against the Duke of Zill. How does that make sense?
*Horrible pacing. Again, three minute Mizzard dance sequence, and the Master Cylinder dies in less than 10 seconds. Did we really need three minutes of the Mizzard shuffle to tell a story?
*And worst of all, it almost has nothing to do with Felix the Cat. Really, if you were to show, say, the Headhunter sequence to someone who grew up on the 1950's TV show, and you're going to get some strange looks. The cylinder army WAS a really clever reference to the Master Cylinder so really, all they needed to fix that was probably The Professor and Poindexter being more important to the plot and maybe an appearance by Rockbottom or Vavoom.

All in all, this is basically a bad movie with grandiose delusions that it's a good movie. The backgrounds have more personality than the characters, the music is better than the animation, and it's just all around uneven in quality.

But despite all of this...I still try to watch this movie at least once a year because it is still kind of a personal favorite of mine. That's right. After all of that, I'm turning around and telling you that I like this movie. I know I just spent who knows how many words tearing it a new one, but I think one of the reasons I was able to make fun of it so thoroughly is because I genuinely have fun watching it this strange animated drug. It's a bad movie but I can't bring myself to hate it. It has an odd charm that, to me, sucks me into this strange world.

And really, it's better to me to admit that I like and watch a crappy movie than to go "No, shut up, this movie is awesome!" and just flat out deny all the flaws present in this piece of cinema. I'm fine admitting that I like something that's crap.

That being said, I praise anyone who managed to make it this far in this review series and I want to thank you for reading. This series of reviews were actually my first blog posts that hit over 100 views, which is actually pretty good numbers considering how young this journal still is. My next series of movies will either be a Disney sequel or Happily Ever After, another bad movie from my childhood that I still kind of like.