August 1, 2010

Movie Review: Cats & Dogs - The Revenge of Kitty Galore

catsanddogs21_largeDo you want to know what the best part of Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore is? The end credits so that I could leave. I kid, I kid. I have seen many more worse films, this one was just boring when it should have been breezy, too fast when it should have slowed down a tick, and spoofy when it should have been satirical. I guess that last point is a debatable one, it is a kids film after all and the spoof nature is a simpler way to go, I just think that more could have been done with it. In the end I guess it is entertaining enough for the youngsters, it just doesn't have much meat on its lean bones to welcome much in the way of return visits. On a similar note it is a definite upgrade from last year's G-Force. Now there is a cinematic abomination.

As I write this, I recognize this as a movie that is more or less critic-proof. It is not a film made to appease critics or even adults. It is a diversionary film made to entertain the kids and hopefully not bore the parents that are taking them. So far as the success of this entry goes, it builds off the built in name recognition of the 2001 original film  (and the basic knowledge of the very real cats against dogs issues) and it provides a few laughs, but it is so thin that while it gives those precious few smiles, it quickly exits the memory upon leaving the theater.

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore

This is a sequel more in name than in anything else. There are a couple of connections to the first film, but the story is a new one. It centers on a German Shepherd named Diggs (James Marsden), a police dog teamed with new family man Detective Shane (Chris O'Donnell). Unfortunately, Diggs is great with the effort and drive, not so strong with the execution. Still, Paws, the doggie spy operation sees something in him and he is recruited to become a new field agent.

Diggs is paired with the grizzled veteran Butch (Nick Nolte) by top dog Lou (Neil Patrick Harris). They are charged with tracking down the villainous Kitty Galore (Bette Midler) who has a plan to drive all dogs crazy so that she can enslave mankind. Along the way they dogs are forced to team with their bitter rivals in Meow, a cat spy organization represented by Catherine (Christina Applegate), a very capable feline. Also joining their team is a stoolie pigeon named Seamus (Katt Williams) who is mind numbingly incompetent (to comedic effect).

Well, that about sums up the story. Again, there is not much there to expound on. It is a straightforward plot with little development. What fills the film out are the James Bond references. There are plenty of those references to go around from the underground lairs to the high tech gadgets, from the cat boss named Lazenby and voiced by Roger Moore to the overly complex final setpiece. There are others as well waiting to be picked up on littered throughout the movie.

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore

I remember enjoying the first film, although I am fuzzy on the details (it has been years since I have seen it).  I went into this one hoping for an entertaining ride only to find a movie that really just didn't work for me. Granted, I am little outside the target demographic but I am still able to enjoy family films. This is not one of them. There is little in the character department and no reason to become emotionally invested in. I didn't care about any of them.

Bette Midler was perfectly cast as the cackling villain and Katt Williams was really quite funny as the pigeon. Those two were simply the most entertaining of the bunch; well, them and the kittens on catnip. The effects were implemented well enough with a good blend of real animals, CG animals, and animatronics. The film also opened with a nice Bond-style opening with a dramatic rendition of Pink's "Get the Party Started."

Bottomline. Nothing you should feel the need to run out and see. You can probably have a similar experience at home with the original film. Moderately entertaining, uninspired, and well, easily missable,

Not Recommended.


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