CATS AND DOGS: THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE (2010)
Starring Chris O’Donnell, Jack McBrayer, Fred Armisen, Paul Rodriguez, Kiernan Shipka and the voices of James Marsden, Nick Nolte, Christina Applegate, Katt Williams, Bette Midler, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Hayes, Wallace Shawn, Roger Moore, Joe Pantoliano, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Rodriguez, EG Daily and Phil LaMarr.
Written by Ron J. Friedman and Steve Bencich.
Directed by Brad Peyton.
Distributed by Warner Bros. 84 minutes. Rated PG.
Is there really anyone who has been sitting around waiting for a sequel to the mostly-forgotten 2001 talking animal movie Cats and Dogs? That film was a kind of cute tale of a high tech war between felines and canines (back then that type of storyline was still somewhat unique), if not for the movie having a strong and rather disturbing strain of anti-cat agitprop.
In fact, in my original review of the film nine years ago I half-facetiously called the obviously biased anti-cat propaganda film The Triumph of the Will of talking animal films. Okay, I’ll admit that may have been a tiny bit harsh, but no harsher than Cats and Dogs’ completely biased villainization of an entire species whose main concerns in real life tend to be purring, nudging, rolling over, sleeping in sun spots and playing with catnip mice – not plotting for world domination.
This second film is being sold as a sequel to the earlier film even though as far as I can remember only one of the characters from the original film returns (and he is just in a short cameo) – a psychotic Persian cat named Mr. Tinkles who is voiced by Sean Hayes of Will and Grace.
However, the whole idea of what constitutes a sequel has taken a real beating in the past decade. Despite the fact that Jeff Goldblum, Elizabeth Perkins and the voice of Tobey Maguire are nowhere to be found, because this film takes on the same basic concept as the earlier film it lays claim to sequeldom.
Besides, the fans of the original children’s film (if there are indeed any out there) are currently nine years older than they were when the original came out. Will they really be able to sit through this new film now that they have hit puberty? On the other hand, what are the chances that the young children being targeted here are familiar with the original? Who exactly is this movie supposed to be made for?
On the plus side, The Revenge of Kitty Galore is not quite as biased as its predecessor. Yes, cats are still all the bad guys, but Cats and Dogs 2 does also include a few good-guy cats working with the dogs to save the world. (All dogs are still unquestionably good in this film’s world.) However, I was glad to see that the franchise was striving for at least some détente in their imagined culture war of the house pets. They even accompany the closing credits with a whole bunch of cutesy video clips of real cats and dogs playing together to the tune of a cover version of War’s classic pro-tolerance song “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”
That’s pretty much the only way this film is better than the original, though.
Nearly a decade on, talking animal movies are pretty old hat. People know what they are going to get with them – lots of silly puns and ridiculous stunts and adorable little animals.
Isn’t it about time that the world at large lets Hollywood in on the fact that talking animals (and babies, for that matter) just look creepy? It’s also kind of depressing to hear some of the awful lines which serious actors like Nick Nolte and Bette Midler are forced to perform as voiceover for the small animals.
Also confusing the potential audience, this new version is more blatantly than the last time trying to parody the James Bond films. Former Bond Roger Moore does the voice of a cat leader, the opening credits feature Bette Midler singing a cover of Pink’s “Get This Party Started” with silhouettes of small animals, the bad guy has a crazy plot for world domination and a secret lair and even a small pet that he grasps as he commits evil.
Okay, the filmmakers are certainly allowed to parody that action adventure series, but how many small kids even know about the Bond films? They won’t get the Bond in jokes, and people who are old enough to get them just won’t get the rest of the film.
By the time that Cats and Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore winds down to an obvious (and rather superfluous to the rest of the film’s plot) set-up for yet another sequel, I think most members of the audience (at least those ones who have reached puberty) will have lost interest in this awkward attempt to stoke the greatly imagined culture clash between our furry friends.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: July 30, 2010.