Movie Review: “StarDog and Turbocat” aim for the lowest cartoon denominator

 

A lot of fine British character actors do the voices of “StarDog and TurboCat,” an animated superhero tale about a gadget-loving kitty crusader and a faster-than-a-speeding-bullet dog.

It’s aimed at the very young and preferably undiscriminating, but it’s so bland it plays like a naptime video narcotic.

Gullible Buddy (who sounds nothing like Nick Frost) is sent into space by his owner and master in 1969. Something happens and he comes back 50 years later.

“I don’t know what that is in dog years, but it’s a lot.”

Out of place, in his spacesuit and general disconnection from the present day, he is “rescued” from the animal-hating animal control Officer Peck by the self-promoting “Dark Feline, The Uncollared Crusader,” TurboCat (might be Luke Evans).

Buddy convinces the cat to help him find David, his master from way back when, because David would never abandon him and David always has all the answers.

But humans fear and hate pets, Officer Peck (Cory English) is looking for Buddy’s space capsule and it may just be that TurboCat will need the help of G.U.A.R.D. That’s the Glenfield Undercover Animal Rights Division, led by a magician’s bunny that TurboCat is sweet on.

That would be Cassidy (Gemma Arterton, whose voice leaves no doubt).

There’s a little of the old “If we all work together…” and “There’s no such thing as magic,” a few gags about catnip, laser-pointers and sunbeams (which demand to be napped in) as the only things on Earth that can foil a cat, with a tennis ball serving the same function with dogs.

I counted just two laughs in this, with one about the Youtube source of Bat-Cat’s gadget-buying fortune and the other involving a tactical-minded goldfish in an armored vehicle (“A fish tank, are you kidding me?”).

Ben Smith, whose previous credits are mostly animated shorts and largely unheralded (“Robin Hood 4D,” “Sherlock Holmes 4D”), got Screen Yorkshire help, perhaps covering the cost of the Brits in the voice cast.

The animation isn’t awful, but the best one can say for the script is that it does no harm.

1half-star

MPAA Rating: PG

Cast: The voices of Luke Evans, Nick Frost, Gemma Arterton, Billy Nighy and Morgan Cambs

Credits: Written and directed by Ben Smith. A Viva Kids release.

Running time: 1:30

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