Review: Cat Bones by NixonReviewer
This review contains spoilers.

After years without a release, Nickson has re-emerged from the jaws of the Bored With 3dmm Demon with two new releases in the last several weeks (after which he apparently is slithering back into the belly of the aforementioned beast). The latter (and infinitely better) of the two is Cat Bones, a psychedelically-tinged adventure featuring cats. It contains all the oddities that characterize Nickson's past movies, but with more refined animation and a better story.

Describing the plot of the movie is, uh, a little hard to do. I'll give it my best shot. We start off with our cat protagonist and his friend returning from a quest to find a bone (a "long-bone" specifically). After the other cat injures himself, the main character - abandoning his friend - returns to his woodland home and reveals that he's making a "bone-hut." Oddly, the bone-hut appears to already be fully constructed upon his arrival. It probably would have made more sense if the new bone was the fourth and final leg of the bone-hut. Whatever - this is clearly a movie where the atmosphere is more important than the plot making perfect sense. Our protagonist then falls asleep and awakens to discover that dogs have stolen his long-bones. He sets out on a journey to retrieve them, encountering some strange characters along the way.

The movie is pretty funny, with most of the humor coming from the visual elements. I definitely got a kick out of the bone-hut, as well as the later transportation of the main cat in a barrel in the back of the truck. Some of the comedy didn't work for me. I didn't really like the two hobos that follow the cat around before disappearing halfway through the movie.

The scenery starts off a little shoddy, but steadily improves as the film goes on. Towards the beginning, fences and background buildings are often just lower case l's in the default 3D Words font. However, things quickly improve. The forest scenes are where the scenery starts to stand out. Nickson combines v3dmm plant models with traditional geometry to create an original, distinctive looking environment. Later, when the main character enters the city, the storefront models and large-scale buildings work well to give the metropolis some character. It gets even better when he meets up with his two old friends, and they set off to find the missing bones. The scene of the three cats walking while the environments change around them was a definite high-point. The bone-house where the dogs live was awesome. Nothing too complicated, just a cabin with a metal fence and bones decorating it. The mountain where the final climactic scene takes place probably could have been more detailed. The simple landscapedings hill colored light brown felt slightly underwhelming.

The music was definitely well chosen. I enjoyed the jazzy piano theme that plays during the city scenes, complimented by the noisy beeping of cars. The strange, percussive song that plays while the three cats walk to the bonehouse was also a good selection.

My biggest gripe with the movie is the voice acting. I often found the dialogue difficult to understand, either because it was way too quiet, or because it was generally incomprehensible (the monster at the end was the worst example of this). When you can hear them, the voices are generally well done, especially in the case of the main character. The calm, lazy cadence given to our feline hero works well with the dream-like atmosphere of the movie.

Alright, let's talk about the cat orgy. I suppose it wouldn't have truly been a Bill Nickson movie without some fucked up sex scene. While it was certainly... creative, and served as a call-back to the earlier work of the director of such wonderful titles as The Porn Cave of Nipple Sucking Old Men and Snow Pussy, I didn't think it was a very good ending. It felt very slapped together (heh heh) like Nickson just wanted to get the movie done already. Still, I can't accuse it of not being memorable!

Cat Bones is certainly one of the more imaginative comedies in recent years. Nickson does a good job at maintaining a visual style which is consistently experimental and dream-like, yet not so over-the-top that it becomes dumb and off-putting (the works of Cubert come to mind). The animation and unique tone are impressive. The faults in the plot are generally excusable since one gets the impression that the director got blazed and indiscriminately vomited all his ideas into the movie. What we're left with is a weed-fueled romp through the devil's playground that is Nickson's mind. I recommend you all check it out!


Old Rivers