A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Amazing Adventure of Marchello the Cat, also known as Cats: The Movie, A Cat's Tale, and Marchello, is a 67-minute story about an indoor cat who ventures outside when his owner leaves town for a couple of days. For anyone over the age of 12, this will be a one-star movie, but small children may well find talking cats delightful. As it will probably only be attractive to the youngest children, parents should be aware that the young ones are in for mild peril. Characters get lost, are chased by crows and catnappers, and feel lonely. A cat has been abandoned by her owner. Name-calling includes "doofus," "fuzzball," "sissy pants," "squirt," and "birdbrain."
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What's the story?
In THE AMAZING ADVENTURE OF MARCHELLO THE CAT, Marchello, the live-action title character (voiced by Troy Garity) is an innocent indoor cat who has long wanted to meet Jujube (Michelle Rodriguez), the beautiful indoor/outdoor cat across the street. When his reclusive owner, known as "Mom" (Dominique Swain), leaves Marchello alone in the house for two days, he sneaks out the window, seeking Jujube and adventure. He does meet the alluring Jujube, as well as Jiminy the squirrel (Jeremy Sisto). But he's also quickly scooped up by a skateboarding catnapper who makes a living bagging uncollared kitties off the street and collecting rewards for returning them to their owners. Marchello escapes but is now lost. Only a few blocks away, Jujube pines for her new love and organizes the local squirrels to send "treemail" along to help the inexperienced Marchello find his way back. In his travels, Marchello meets the territorial, street-smart Blackie (Jeremy Piven), a swaggering cat who specializes in finding homes with unsuspecting humans for stray cats. Marchello also makes the acquaintance of Pinky, a feline who can't admit to herself that she's been abandoned by her owner. The squirrels instruct Marchello on the best route home, but before setting out for Jujube and Mom, he does a good deed: He persuades Pinky that no one is coming back for her and delivers her to the master home-finder, Blackie. The movie was released in 2008 in a 100-minute version under the title Cats: The Movie.
Is it any good?
It would be difficult to imagine anyone but cat lovers and kindergartners finding this movie tolerable. Writer, director, and cameraperson Susan Emerson must have followed cats and squirrels around for months to accumulate enough footage to create what feels like a long cat video that has somehow been placed in the hands of a skilled professional film editor. Usually when a movie has four titles -- Cats: The Movie, Marchello, A Cat's Tale, and The Amazing Adventure of Marchello the Cat -- and two release dates – first in 2008 and again in 2017 -- prospects for high quality are not robust. This movie is no exception. While actors Garity, Sisto, and Rodriguez give it a go, the script is bad beyond description. At least the cats are cute.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether it was a good idea for "Mom" to leave Marchello alone for two days in The Amazing Adventure of Marchello the Cat. Who takes care of your pets when your family is away?
Do you think it was a mistake for Marchello to leave his house? Or do you think the friendships he made during his outing were important to him?
Do you have a cat? If so, what do you think the cat would say if it could talk?