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Monsters and Critics
Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore ”“ Movie Review
By Anne Brodie Jul 27, 2010, 12:36 GMT
Cats and Dogs is a disarming, sly, and often funny comedy starring the voices of a herd of big name Hollywood stars ”“ Bette Midler, Jack McBrayer, James Marsden, Nick Nolte, Christina Applegate, Wallace Shawn, Sean Hayes, Michael Clark Duncan, J.K. Simmons, Chris O’Donnell and my very favorite example of stunt casting ever, Roger Moore as secret agent Lazenby! If I have to explain, you don’t need to know.
Newfoundland director Brad Peyton’s live action/CGI mix is a sprightly and short animal adventure, pitting eternal enemies, cats, and dogs against each other who then defy nature to align themselves in the battle to save the world from Kitty Galore (Bette Midler).
Kitty is a bare naked freak of a cat, previously a pampered Persian who was stripped of her fur after being hurled into a vat of hair remover. She nurses a grudge against every person and animal that ever crossed her and has hatched a plan involving robotics, space satellites, high tech underground mazes and a flock of animal slaves to have her vengeance.
The animals are rendered so artfully that they are recognizable as characters and pet friends. The artists, director, and actors show keen powers of pet observation and it’s clear in each animal character.
There are loads of recognizable pet moments and a reel of real life pet hijinks over the credits. Kids will enjoy watching the animal world navigating their problems with human intelligence and that pet like sense of super importance.
Parents will enjoy references to Sunset Boulevard and The Silence of the Lambs, and the Bond films – the cleaned up reference in the title. And they’ll love the stars voice performances especially the crisply delivered, highly dramatic Divine Miss M making a bare naked cat seem terrifying.
There’s a fun bit when one of the characters launches into an eloquent defense of the Game of Fetch.
The film moves at a pace with plenty of drama, plot hatching, captures, escapes, physical comedy, and sassy dialogue but slows down towards the end. The climactic battles are photographed so darkly and the action’s so layered and fast that it’s hard to comprehend and too busy.
I did not see the original 2001 film Cats and Dogs (which set the groundwork for an animal espionage ring) and am at a disadvantage and missed references. But as a stand alone fare, the sequel is a good time for kids at a matinee or on video.
Great news, Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore is preceded by a Looney Tunes short starring Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner, as ever playing Chase Me in the desert this time in 3D.
That’s right ”“ the beloved duo has been resurrected for a new generation of fans in one of their funniest bits ever, beautifully enhanced by new technology that suits the concept to a ”˜T’.
It’s the first of a trilogy with two more, one appearing on Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole 3D and one on Yogi Bear 3D. I’m rooting hard for their very own Roadrunner Coyote 3D movie.
The Canadian Press – ONLINE EDITION
Movie review: The fur flies along with the jokes in the ‘Cats & Dogs’ sequel
By: Christy Lemire, The Associated Press
26/07/2010 11:24 PM
Dogs and cats, living together … mass hysteria? Maybe not so much.
While these animals were resourceful and well-equipped enemies in the original “Cats & Dogs” from 2001, now they’re forced to band together to fight a common foe in the sequel “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.”
As you can tell from the name, this is a spy send-up, specifically of James Bond movies – the opening titles alone are super clever, an indication of the kind of eye for detail that’s in store throughout – and from there, the jokes fly fast and furious along with the fur. Surprisingly, most of them work in the script from Ron J. Friedman and Steve Bencich. But as directed by Brad Peyton, the sequel is a mix of live action, puppetry and computer animation, and the jumbled look is its chief weakness: The animals are cute and all, but the visual effects that suggest they’re talking too often look jumpy and fake.
You want your talking-animal movies to be realistic, don’t you? That’s not too much to ask.
And of course, because it’s a family film coming out this summer, it’s in 3-D. It probably didn’t need to be – it never needs to be – but at least the effects are more convincing than they were in, say, a lousy conversion from 2-D like “The Last Airbender.” They’re even more effective in the cartoon that precedes “Cats & Dogs,” a new Looney Tunes offering that’s old-school in spirit, featuring Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. You could probably watch those guys go at it for an hour and a half and be totally satisfied.
Still, it’s a delightful idea that cats and dogs not only enjoy a rich interior life while adults are away, but also function as highly trained super spies, complete with elaborate gadgetry. You know you’ve wondered this yourself about your own furry friends at home.
So you may find yourself laughing the whole way through, even at a take-off on “The Silence of the Lambs,” a film that’s been parodied ad infinitum. Still, when it’s the fluffy, white feline Mr. Tinkles strapped up in a cell, wearing that infamous mask – and voiced again by Sean Hayes – it adds another layer to the joke that’s at once twisted and kinda sweet.
This time, the self-styled uber-villain is Kitty Galore, whose hairless appearance is frightening enough. As voiced with campy menace by the great Bette Midler – who really should do more of this sort of thing – she’s an over-the-top, diabolical drama queen. But in a good way.
Kitty has a plan to enslave dogs around the world and make cats the true rulers. The secret agents of DOG – led by Lou the beagle (Neil Patrick Harris) and Butch the Anatolian shepherd (Nick Nolte) – recruit the overeager German shepherd Diggs (James Marsden), who’s been cast off the San Francisco police force for his inability to follow orders, to stop her. But they soon realize they have to team up with the underground cat group MEOWS, led by Catherine (Christina Applegate) and her boss, the tuxedoed Tab Lazenby (Roger Moore, a nice touch). Both teams get help, sort of, from the scatterbrained, fast-talking pigeon Seamus (Katt Williams).
Among the people who populate “Cats & Dogs,” Chris O’Donnell plays Diggs’ former police partner and Jack McBrayer gets some reliable laughs doing a version of his guileless doofus character – this time, a magician who’s Kitty Galore’s unsuspecting human companion, who insists on dressing her in humiliating costumes as part of his act.
But for grown-ups, kids, dogs, cats – whoever’s watching, there’s enough here to keep them entertained.
“Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release, is rated PG for animal action and humour. Running time: 87 minutes. Three stars out of four.
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
July 26, 2010
A Warner Bros. release presented in associated with Village Roadshow Pictures of a Mad Chance/Polymorphic Pictures production. Produced by Andrew Lazar, Polly Johnsen. Executive producers, Brent O’Connor, Bruce Berman. Co-producer, Miri Yoon. Directed by Brad Peyton. Screenplay, Ron J. Friedman, Steve Bencich, based on characters created by John Requa, Glen Ficarra.
Shane – Chris O’Donnell
Chuck – Jack McBrayer
Freidrich – Fred Armisen
Crazy Carlito – Paul Rodriguez
Diggs – James Marsden
Butch – Nick Nolte
Catherine – Christina Applegate
Seamus – Katt Williams
Kitty Galore – Bette Midler
Lou – Neil Patrick Harris
Mr. Tinkles – Sean Hayes
Calico – Wallace Shawn
Tab Lazenby – Roger Moore
Peek – Joe Pantoliano
Sam – Michael Clarke Duncan
By JOE LEYDON
Cats and dogs working together. A sign of the apocalypse? No, a concept for a sequel. Nine years after “Cats & Dogs” fetched more than $200 million worldwide with its comic take on interspecies animosity, Warners is unleashing “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,” a faster, funnier follow-up in which CGI-enhanced canines and felines effect a temporary truce to combat a common enemy. Decked out with even more impressive f/x than its predecessor — and, perhaps more important, readily available in 3D — this breakneck sequel could take a major bite out of the late summer box office.
Much like the 2001 original, the new pic imagines a world in which, while humans remain blissfully oblivious, dogs and cats are anthropomorphic mortal combatants, armed with high-tech weaponry and space-age surveillance while locked in a secret, centuries-old battle. Canines who take very, very seriously their roles as man’s best friends maintain a global spy network to prevent felines from re-establishing their long-ago dominance over humankind.
According to the sequel, however, not all cats want to rule the world. (Which should come as a great surprise to most cat owners, but never mind.) Indeed, there’s even a feline-centric superspy network known as MEOWS (Mousers Enforcing Our World Safety) that’s dedicated to protecting humans.
Under normal circumstances, the two groups get along like, well, cats and dogs. But they’re forced to join forces when Kitty Galore (hilariously voiced by Bette Midler), an ex-MEOWS operative turned rogue after accidental fur loss, threatens to scramble the minds of canines, turn them against humans and leave mankind vulnerable to feline enslavement.
Like its predecessor, “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” is a live-action caper-comedy in which human actors are relatively unimportant players. Chris O’Donnell, the most prominent of the pic’s two-legged stars, appears infrequently enough as a San Francisco cop to suggest his entire performance was filmed during a weekend break from “NCIS: Los Angeles.” His character exists only to provide a smidgen of backstory for his four-legged partner on the K-9 corps: Diggs (voiced by James Marsden), an impetuous German Shepherd whose repeated screw-ups lead to his dishonorable discharge.
Diggs is sprung from the kennel and recruited for secret agentry by Butch (aptly gruff Nick Nolte), a grizzled op who needs help sniffing out Kitty Galore’s whereabouts. Neither canine is eager to cooperate with Catherine (Christina Applegate), a feisty MEOWS agent who’s also on the bad Kitty’s trail. But the natural enemies must become reluctant allies — and also accept Seamus, a jive-talking pigeon (Katt Williams) — when ordered by their superiors, eager beagle Lou (Neil Patrick Harris) and suave spymaster Tab Lazenby (Roger Moore).
That last bit, along with the jokey title, should give you a fair idea of how much the pic is intended as a spoofy homage to James Bond. The tone is set during the opening moments, as “Goldfinger” thrush Dame Shirley Bassey belts out a dynamically re-orchestrated version of “Get the Party Started” during flashy, 007-style credits. Helmer Brad Peyton and scripters Ron J. Friedman and Steve Bencich are obviously aiming to amuse grown-ups even while catering to kids, and they succeed with surprising frequency.
On the other hand, it’ll be interesting to see just how small fry react to another movie allusion: Mr. Tinkles, the villain of the previous pic, returns as a prisoner bound like Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs,” allowing returning cast member Sean Hayes to wittily echo Anthony Hopkins’ malevolent purr.
None of the satirical touches are ever allowed to impede the pic’s madcap pace from one raucous setpiece to the next (the 3D doesn’t add much to the fun, but it doesn’t get in the way, either). Real dogs and cats are effectively employed throughout most scenes, and the technology used to create the illusion of moving lips and purposeful body language is impressive. The occasional appearance of obviously mechanical quadrupeds (Mr. Tinkles again is the prime example) somehow is not as disruptive as it was in the 2001 original.
A great deal of time and money has been devoted to eye-grabbing razzle-dazzle, if not meticulous verisimilitude, and the investment should pay off profitably.
Pic will be shown in most markets with a newly produced three-minute cartoon — “Coyote Falls,” featuring the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote — that actually relies more heavily on 3D imagery. Better still, it’s pretty doggone funny.
Camera (Technicolor), Steven Poster; editor, Julie Rogers; music, Christopher Lennertz; music supervisor, Julianne Jordan; production designer, Rusty Smith; art director, Sandra Tanaka; set decorator, Carol Lavallee; costume designer, Tish Monaghan; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS), Eric Batut; supervising sound editor/sound designer, Christopher S. Aud; visual effects supervisors, Blair Clark, Richard R. Hoover; animatronics effects supervisor, Dave Barclay; associate producer, Debbi Bossi; assistant director, Pete Whyte; second unit director, Greg Michael; second unit camera, Brian Pearson; casting, Kristy Carlson. Reviewed at Edwards Marq*e Theater, Houston, July 24, 2010. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 82 MIN.
CATS AND DOGS: THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE – Century City News Review
Published 07/25/2010 – 11:33 p.m. PST
This children’s film has been created in live action, puppetry and computer animation and is set in two worlds ”“ one has talking cats and dogs, the other has regular humans. Creating two planets in a film can work magnificently if that’s what the story is about, but if it’s only the backdrop, it gets a little tricky. Probably a little like trying to mix oil and water, or deciding to buy magnetic catches; you know, deep down, it’s just not going to work.
Diggs is a smart police dog, always eager to please, but this enthusiasm causes more problems than it solves and he is relegated to a life in the kennels, with little hope of ever getting out. Kitty Galore, a Siamese spy turned-rogue, has created a meow that, when heard by dogs, turns them into killers. Kitty plans to transmit her evil meow around the world so that dogs everywhere will attack and, ultimately, be put down. The Dog Spies discover her plan and enlist the renegade Diggs to help them in their battle to save the canine world from extinction.
This is a very strong concept and the visuals are spectacular, but there is very little comedy and it does not have the universal appeal a film of this genre could.
Far too much time is spent on storylines about the owners of Diggs and Kitty, which don’t relate to the concept and only serve to slow down the action and break the tension the canine/feline battle tries so hard to create.
There are also lots of ”˜borrowings’ in this film which don’t give a nod to irony or anything else and just seem to be fillers-in. Apart from Kitty Galore, there’s music from James Bond and Rocky, K-9 from you-know-Who and Hector Hannibal makes an appearance as a white Persian cat. The latter is a particularly strange choice as this is a children’s film, none of whom will have seen Silence of the Lambs.
Hannibal appears again in the teaser at the end, setting the scene for a sequel, which seems to be the latest fad in film endings and gives me a sinking feeling that the mandate of storytelling has been rewritten in the quest for the next franchise.
The final moments of a film should be the most satisfying, when the final dot is added to characters and redemption becomes master. Snatching away these moments and turning them into a sales pitch simply exposes the cheap hope of the filmmaker and is not the way to breed audience loyalty.
But this is a kids’ film and does any of this really matter? If it was on DVD, no, because the parents don’t have to sit through it, but in the movies, you bet it does. Someone’s got to drive the taxi. And is turning their favorite serial killer into a furry white pooch such a good idea? No, not really. It’s a bit like serving him up a plate of liver without a nice, iced glass of Chianti. You just wouldn’t do it, would you?
Release date US: 30th July, 2010
The Hollywood Reporter
Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore — Film Review
By Kirk Honeycutt, July 25, 2010 01:00 ET
“Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore”
Bottom Line: Too many frantic CGI critters ruin this spy movie with pets.
Although critter movies have performed extremely well at the boxoffice, “Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” will put that trend to a tough test.
This isn’t so much that the story and characters are weak — though they very much are — but that animatronics and computer animation so anthropomorphize these critters that they bear more resemblance to cartoons than actual flesh-and-fur animals. When cats and dogs, not to mention a bird and a mouse, don’t act like animals, those story and character weaknesses really stand out.
Which is not to say young audiences won’t embrace these critters too. CGI is so accepted now in video games and movies that these “Cats and Dogs” may look goofy rather than grotesque. Let’s just hope no youngster returns home and flings the family feline across the lawn to see if she can fly like Kitty Galore.
The movie begins with a perfectly actionable premise: It’s “Spy Kids” with critters. The opening-title sequence, easily the best thing in the movie, deliciously mimics those in James Bond movies. Then, true to form — for early Bond films at least — there’s an MI-6-like organization called DOGS, determined to keep the world safe for only one kind of pet, and an elite spy organization called MEOWS, which challenges that assumption.
But where is the Bond character? What you get for a protagonist, or at least the four-legged character with the most screen time, is a failed police dog, a German Shepherd named Diggs (voiced by James Marsden). Only in human movie terms, he’s more like Inspector Clouseau.
Then, more than a dozen critter characters flood the screen. There’s a blunt Anatolian Shepherd Butch (Nick Nolte), a serious-minded Beagle Lou (Neil Patrick Harris), a Chinese Crested called Peek (Joe Pantoliano) — minicking Q from the Bond films — and a shaggy Sheepdog Sam (Michael Clarke Duncan).
The villain (Bette Midler) is a MEOWS agent gone rogue, the Kitty of the title, a hairless cat that didn’t start off life without fur and because of that means to get her revenge. The cat heroine is Catherine (Christina Applegate gets a Katharine Hepburn tinge into her voice). Mr. Tinkles (Sean Hayes) appears mostly for a Hannibal Lecter parody as he is trussed up in his prison cell. And Roger Moore plays a tuxedo cat named Tad Lazenby, a dig to the ribs of any adult who has not fallen into slumber by then.
There are many more furry things but you get the idea: It’s a critter movie gone mad with gravity-defying animals, all sorts of gizmos and not doubt a few stunts that didn’t require CGI — but who can tell which ones? For every gag that works — a cat mixing up his pet mouse and computer mouse — many, many more fail.
Canadian director Brad Peyton has his hands so full juggling animals, humans and technology that he can never make any sense of an overly complicated, gimmicky screenplay by Ron J. Friedman and Steve Bencich, created in part as a sequel to the 2001 comedy “Cats & Dogs.”
What the film lacks most of all is charm. You want to love the animals in a critter movie, to feel emotionally tied to them and not just root for creatures in a martial-arts dust-up.
You yearn for a cat to stretch itself or a dog to roll over. Instead they’re launching satellites into space or clinging to the side of a speeding boat.
Steven Poster’s cinematography and Rusty Smith’s production design are a little too bright and silly without the subtle atmosphere of a spy thriller. It’s as if the original concept, a James Bond spoof with pets, got forgotten once the opening titles faded away.
Opens: July 30 (Warner Bros.)
Production companies: Warner Bros. Pictures in association with Village Roadshow Pictures presents a Mad Chance/Polymorphic Pictures production
Cast: James Marsden, Nick Note, Christina Applegate, Katt Williams, Bette Midler, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Hayes, Wallace Shawn, Roger Moore, Joe Pantoliano.
Director: Brad Peyton
Screenwriters: Ron J. Friedman, Steve Bencich
Bsed on charaters created by: John Requa, Glen Ficarra
Producers: Andrew Lazar, Polly Johnsen
Executive producers: Brent O’Connor, Bruce Berman
Director of photography: Steven Poster
Production designer: Rusty Smith
Music: Christopher Lennertz
Costume designer: Tish Monaghan
Editor: Julie Rogers
Rated PG, 82 minutes
Detroit Free Press
July 29, 2010
Cats, dogs score some laughs in Bond-inspired ‘Kitty Galore’
BY CHRISTY LEMIRE
Dogs and cats, living together? Mass hysteria, right? Maybe not so much.
Canines and felines were resourceful and well-equipped enemies in the original “Cats & Dogs” from 2001. Now they’re forced to band together to fight a common foe in the sequel “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.”
As directed by Brad Peyton, the sequel is a mix of live action, puppetry and computer animation, and its jumbled look is its chief weakness: The animals are cute and all, but the visual effects that suggest they’re talking too often look jumpy and fake.
You want your talking-animal movies to be realistic, don’t you? That’s not too much to ask.
Still, the film is built around a delightful idea: What if cats and dogs not only enjoy a rich interior life while adults are away but also function as highly trained, James Bond-like spies? You know you’ve wondered this yourself about your own furry friends at home.
So you may find yourself laughing the whole way through “Kitty Galore,” even during a “Silence of the Lambs”-inspired scene that finds feline Mr. Tinkles strapped up in a cell, wearing that infamous mask — and voiced by Sean Hayes of “Will & Grace” fame.
This time, the self-styled uber-villain is frightening, hairless Kitty Galore. As voiced with campy menace by the great Bette Midler, she’s an over-the-top, diabolical drama queen.
Kitty has a plan to enslave dogs around the world and make cats the true rulers. The secret agents of DOG — led by Lou the beagle (Neil Patrick Harris) and Butch the Anatolian shepherd (Nick Nolte) — recruit the overeager German shepherd Diggs (James Marsden) to stop her. But they soon realize they have to team up with the underground cat group MEOWS, led by Catherine (Christina Applegate) and her boss, the tuxedoed Tab Lazenby (Roger Moore).
Among the people who populate “Cats & Dogs,” Chris O’Donnell plays Diggs’ former police partner, and Jack McBrayer gets some reliable laughs as Kitty Galore’s owner, a magician who insists on dressing her in humiliating costumes as part of his act.
In the end, it all mostly works. There’s enough here to keep grown-ups, kids, dogs, cats — whoever’s watching — modestly entertained.
‘Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore’
out of four stars
Rated PG; animal action and humor
1 hour, 27 minutes
Free Is My Life
WEDNESDAY, JULY 28, 2010
MOVIE REVIEW: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore in 3D + free games
Not the Best Kids Movie of the Year, but OK
On Tuesday, I and my son went to an advance screening of Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore at the Emagine Theater in Novi.
The story is about a police dog named Diggs (voiced by James Marsden) who has been thrown off the police force because he went “rouge”, did not follow orders, and accidentically blew up a car dealership. He is banned to the kennels until one day a secret under cover dog named Butch (voiced by Nick Nolte) shows up out of no where to recruit him for a top secret mission. A former cat agent named Kitty Galore (voiced by Bette Midler) was chased into a vat of fur removal gel by a guard dog and now wants revenge on dogs and mankind. The movie follows Diggs, Butch and their animal posse as they try to take down the evil Kitty Galore and save their beloved humans.
I have to admit, that I went into the movie thinking it was going to be dumbest movie that I seen in a while. I am not a big fan of talking animal movies and the first 40 minutes proved that I was right on the dumb part. Everyone wanted to laugh, but there was just not much to be excited about. The entire movie theater was in dead silence. The movie mocked every James Bond movie ever made and the action was decent at best. But as the movie moved along something strange happened: it got funny and it was exciting! Those dogs and cats and that crazy pigeon actually had me enjoying myself and getting into the plot. Bette Midler as Kitty Galore was too funny. But Katt Williams as Seamus, the stool pigeon, had the best lines in the entire movie.
Don’t go expecting the best kids movie of the year with Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. My son actually loved this movie since the end was good. If you can stand going from boring to decent to exciting, then this movie is for you. Otherwise, go see Despicable Me in 3D and wait for this one to come out on DVD.
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore opens in theaters Friday, July 30, 2010.
Play free Cats and Dogs Games here
Revenge of Kitty Galore
Pets play spy games in this children’s movie that both spoofs high-tech espionage pictures and caters to single-digit sensibilities with gags about butt-sniffing canines.
July 28, 2010
-By Maitland McDonagh
The CGI-heavy sequel to 2001’s underwhelming Cats & Dogs gets off to a terrific start with a witty, James Bond-style credit sequence scored to Shirley Bassey’s cover of “Get the Party Started.” The rest of Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore in no way lives up to its meticulous inventiveness, but contains enough clever touches to keep adults from dozing off while their kids giggle at the sight of house pets using computers, rocketing around with jet packs and kicking ass like Jackie Chan.
Lou (voice of Neil Patrick Harris), an adorable puppy in the first movie, has grown up to head DOG, a top-secret organization dedicated to protecting the human race: Just think “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”’s Alexander Waverly played by a sweet-faced beagle. A dastardly plot to scramble doggie brains via a high-frequency signal and turn them against their masters is underway, masterminded by rogue feline Kitty Galore (voice of Bette Midler). Once an agent of MEOWS, DOG’s feline counterpart, she took a Joker-like fall into a vat of noxious chemicals that left her a sociopathic, hairless horror. All that stands between dog lovers and the canine apocalypse is an unthinkable alliance between DOG agents Butch (voice of Nick Nolte) and Diggs (voice of James Marsden) and MEOWS’ Katherine (Christina Applegate), a sleek feline with mad ninja skills.
A special-effects artist once said that it’s easy to create monsters and aliens but hard to make a cat, because everyone knows exactly what cats look like. The truth about Cats & Dogs is that despite the efforts of its A-list effects crew, every cut from a real animal to an animatronic or CG stand-in is joltingly obvious. That shouldn’t hurt the movie’s box office, because little kids won’t care and where small fry go, parents follow, sit and stay. But it’s a shame, because many of the inevitable pop-culture jokes are actually clever, and the set design is occasionally brilliant. Of course, MEOW’s underground command center would look like a deluxe cat condo with a ’60s molded-plastic and shag-carpeting vibe, accessorized with state-of-the-art computers and flat-screen TVs!
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
Reviewed by Bill Gibron on Jul 29 2010
Aimed squarely at a single digital IQ demographic and as irritating as a case of fleas, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore stands as just the latest, lamest example of the “sequel nobody asked for” syndrome that frequently infects Hollywood like mange. The original movie came out in 2001, and now nine years later, the franchise(?) has clearly outgrown the audience it hopes will have fond memories of its CG secret agent animals saga. Amazingly enough, the special effects haven’t gotten any better. There are even moments of fake fur puppetry so obvious they make Sesame Street look like a photo-realistic tour of urban America.
When police dog Diggs (James Marsden) is suspended for his uncontrollable behavior, he is recruited by Butch (Nick Nolte) to be a member of an elite canine tactical unit pledged to fight the ongoing feline menace. The latest cat to go rogue is Kitty Galore (Bette Midler), a hairless harpy who plans on unleashing “the call of the wild” — a sound that will drive all Bowsers bonkers and turn them against their human masters. Rigging a satellite dish to broadcast the aural assault and using carrier pigeons — including loopy birdbrain Seamus (Kat Williams) — to mastermind her takeover, the pups have but a few hours to discover her secret lair. With help from “the enemy” — a cat (Christina Applegate) vowing to take down her fellow fuzzball — and the villainous advice of former adversary Mr. Tinkles (Sean Hayes), Diggs has a chance to redeem himself…or doom his chances of ever being a top animal agent.
Rife with ridiculous cinematic spoofs (James Bond, Batman, The Silence of the Lambs) and littered with irritating, joke-a-minute performances, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore is celluloid babysitting at its worst. After a summer that’s seen a solid send-off for Shrek, the genuine joys of Pixar’s Toy Story 3, and Universal’s clever if cutesy Despicable Me, this shoddy family film is regressive in the worst way. It’s a reminder of why the genre has struggled so to shake the nagging image of being nothing more than half-witted, hackneyed entertainment. Instead of using the advances in technology to take this set-up in an original or novel direction, director Brad Peyton and Chicken Little/Open Season screenwriters Steve Bencich and Ron J. Friedman serve up the kind of prefabricated pabulum that critics of ’80s Saturday Morning TV used to rail against.
Everything here is just lifeless and dull. Marsden makes for a mediocre hero, and Nolte seems lost in an accidental lampoon of 48 Hours. Midler spends so much time chewing the scenery that we never get a real handle on Kitty’s proposed cruelty, and Applegate is as bland as everything else. The biggest sin however is committed by “comic” Kat Williams, given the full “Chris Tucker” leeway treatment and allowed to ramble on incessantly…and incoherently. Every conversation in the film is peppered with Seamus’s unfunny ad-libbing, the noted stand-up adding insult to the insufferable with his pointless patter. For some reason, nothing can pass without Williams’s wasted commentary — an action scene, a moment of manipulative emotion, a simple plot point. It’s beyond aggravating.
So is the vast majority of Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. In the realm of kid vid efforts that don’t even try, it’s a marvel of moviemaking laziness. Even the now mandatory 3D gimmickry feels obvious and uninspired. When the brand new five-minute Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon which accompanies the feature offers the most solid source of possible fun, you know it’s time to surrender. As updates go, it’s several years too late and several ideas too short.
New York Times
July 29, 2010
Movie Review | ‘Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore’
When Pets Reach Across the Aisle
By MIKE HALE
Kids say the smartest things. A few minutes into a screening of “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,” a child near me turned to his mother and asked, “Why is Kitty Galore called Kitty Galore?”
Exactly what I was wondering. I tried to hear her whispered answer but couldn’t. It was short, so she probably hadn’t bothered telling him that someone thought it was a good idea to name a children’s movie after a crude double-entendre in an old James Bond film, or explaining what “cynical” means.
As recently as this spring the trade papers were still calling the film “Cats and Dogs 2,” the title it carried through eight years and at least three directors. (Brad Peyton ended up doing the honors, in his feature debut.) “Kitty Galore” is the long-awaited, much-inflated sequel to the 2001 hit “Cats & Dogs,” which established the cute premise of these species locked in a secret (to humans) battle for global pet domination.
The original was an innocuously charming comedy with a story built around the fate of a human family. The sequel is something much more common: a bloated spy-and-action-film pastiche, predicated mostly on the Bond movies but throwing in jokey references to “Scarface,” “The Terminator,” “Mission: Impossible,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Get Smart” and so on.
There’s a story, involving a disgraced police dog recruited for the worldwide canine intelligence agency who finds himself (spoiler alert) cooperating with a slinky feline counterpart to bring down the renegade cat of the title (suavely voiced by Bette Midler). It’s merely a frame on which to hang the endless old-movie gags and shaggy dog jokes. (“He’s been in and out of kennels his whole life.” “Someone’s been playing catch with the ugly stick.”)
The human actors are fewer and more poorly used in the sequel. Chris O’Donnell barely appears as the partner of Diggs, the K-9 cop. The only two-legged performer who figures prominently in the plot (besides a pigeon, voiced by Katt Williams, who provides the requisite squawking-ethnic comic relief) is Jack McBrayer of “30 Rock.” He plays a bumbling carnival magician in a series of scenes opposite a hairless cat, and for perhaps the first time on screen, he’s not funny.
A significantly larger amount of money was spent this time around on animation and puppetry to supplement the live-animal cast. Another chunk of the budget went to the post-production 3-D conversion, done in South Korea (much like elective cosmetic surgery). It doesn’t add much, though the scenes of the animal heroes, rigged with jet packs, flying over San Francisco at night are enjoyably queasy-making.
There are a few other funny notions, like the shot of a roomful of kitties high on catnip and blissing out to “Get Together.” Mostly, though, “Kitty Galore” is a grind, as well as proof that “What up, dog?” isn’t any funnier when a pigeon says it to a dog.
“Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). Dogs joke about the things they like to sniff.
CATS & DOGS
The Revenge of Kitty Galore
Opens on Friday nationwide.
Directed by Brad Peyton; written by Ron J. Friedman and Steve Bencich, based on characters created by John Requa and Glen Ficarra; director of photography, Steven Poster; edited by Julie Rogers; music by Christopher Lennertz; production designer, Rusty Smith; costumes by Tish Monaghan; produced by Andrew Lazar and Polly Johnsen; released by Warner Brothers Pictures. Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes.
WITH: Chris O’Donnell (Shane) and Jack McBrayer (Chuck).
WITH THE VOICES OF: James Marsden (Diggs), Nick Nolte (Butch), Christina Applegate (Catherine), Katt Williams (Seamus), Bette Midler (Kitty Galore), Neil Patrick Harris (Lou), Sean Hayes (Mr. Tinkles), Wallace Shawn (Calico), Roger Moore (Tab Lazenby), Joe Pantoliano (Peek) and Michael Clarke Duncan (Sam).
San Francisco Gate
Review: ‘Cats & Dogs’ sequel better than 1st
Amy Biancolli, Hearst Newspapers
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Family action comedy. Directed by Brad Peyton. With the voices of Bette Midler, Nick Nolte, James Marsden and Christina Applegate. (PG. 82 minutes. At Bay Area theaters.)
The super-spy James Bond parody has been done to death at the movies already – with children, guinea pigs, Pixar superheroes and Mike Myers in a chest toupee. Now along comes “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,” a zippy new example of the form that exploits every cliche with abundant good cheer and an admirable, unapologetic ridiculousness.
It’s a film about talking cats and dogs, and as such, it includes a fair portion of butt-sniffing jokes. This is a fact. It’s also a sequel to a lackluster 2001 movie “Cats & Dogs,” which organized stilted jokes and awkward computer effects around a lame plot involving a villainous scheme to distribute tainted fake snow to the masses. On the backs of mice. While Jeff Goldblum writhed in chains. These, too, are facts.
But there’s a ray of hope for crummy movies: The sequel can’t get much worse. In this case, it’s considerably better, adapting the 007 template in a story of a crazed bald cat named Kitty Galore (voiced by a hissing, chichi Bette Midler) and her malevolent plot to conquer the world.
It’s brilliant in its simplicity: She just needs to broadcast certain high-pitched sounds, and the planet’s entire dog population will launch into vicious attack mode. People will have no choice but to stick them all in kennels.
Kitty will then move in, subduing defenseless humans. (As she puts it, “I will enslave all mankind!”) Why would she do such a thing? Because her owners rejected her when she lost all her fur in a depilatory accident, that’s why.
Cats and dogs thus unite to defeat Kitty, overcoming an ancient and bitter rivalry in order to share classified intel and roam San Francisco for the truth.
On the dog side: impulsive Diggs (James Marsden), gruff mentor Butch (Nick Nolte) and smooth-boss beagle Lou (Neil Patrick Harris), last seen as a wriggling puppy. On the cat side: spy puss Catherine (Christina Applegate). The lone winged vertebrate is Katt Williams as Seamus, a breathtakingly stupid pigeon. Chris O’Donnell, still human, plays a cop.
Bond references abound, as well they should. The hideouts are subterranean, the gizmos are awesome, and Roger Moore voices a bow-tied cat named Lazenby. There’s a henchman with shiny metal teeth.
The brassy music grooves and swoons over slinky opening credits, and the climax is almost as drawn out and convoluted as the genre demands. Grown-ups in the audience will also enjoy clever riffs on distinctly non-Bond subjects, including kitties stoned on catnip and a fluffy Persian send-up of “The Silence of the Lambs” in which Sean Hayes returns as the diabolical Mr. Tinkles.
“Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” comes with its own pet treat: a short, raucous 3-D Warner Bros. cartoon starring Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote and a decent length of Acme Bungee Cord. Felines and canines can reach detente, but those two animals will never get along.
`Cats & Dogs’: mission accomplished ; Four-legged superspies unleash silly fun for the kids
Article from:The Boston Globe (Boston, MA) Article date:July 30, 2010 Author: Ty Burr
Very much the best part of “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” is the new “Road Runner” cartoon that precedes it. It’s in 3- D, of course, and Wile E. Coyote and his eternal avian nemesis have been rendered in fleshed-out, “realistic” shadings. I prefer the flat pop colors of yesteryear, but in all other respects, the short’s a scream: fast, funny, impeccably timed, and as brutally obedient to the laws of Looney Tunes physics as ever.
The feature that follows stands to delight small children while probably causing their parents’ heads to cave in. In fact, it’s safe to say that with the release of “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,” civilization as we know it has ceased to exist.
There may be no more James Bond movies due to MGM’s ongoing financial problems, but this 3-D sequel is happy to step in with a title tune sung by Dame Shirley Bassey herself, a metal-toothed character named Paws, and a vocal appearance by Roger Moore, a.k.a. Bond No. 3. Does it really matter that the characters are domestic pets that have been digitally manipulated to talk, type on computers, and fly rocket jetpacks? If some of Hollywood’s finest talent can sign up, shouldn’t we knuckle under too?
Actually, “Cats & Dogs” grafts a “Lethal Weapon” story line onto its secret-agent structure, then throws in bits of “48 Hrs.,” “Silence of the Lambs,” “The Terminator,” and other films last ripe for parody in, oh, 1992. James Marsden provides the voice of Diggs, an enthusiastic screw-up of a German shepherd whose policeman owner (Chris O’Donnell) can no longer bail him out of trouble. It’s never made clear why, but Diggs is recruited by the secret dog underground to team up with canine special agent Butch (Nick Nolte!) on a mission to stop uber-villain Kitty Galore (Bette Midler!) from world domination. Or something.
Christina Applegate voices Catherine, a sleek cat superspy assigned to the team (to her and Diggs’s disgust), and comedian Katt Williams plays a dimwitted homeboy homing pigeon – a minstrel squab, basically, but the laughs are there. But who isn’t in this thing? Neil Patrick Harris as a home-office beagle, Moore as his feline opposite, Wallace Shawn as a ‘fraidy-cat, Sean Hayes as Mr. Tinkles, a serial-killer kitty trussed up a la Hannibal Lecter.
Mr. Tinkles is obviously not a real critter but an animatronic stand-in – he’d fit right into an all-cat remake of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis.” Other technical aspects of “Cats & Dogs” feel similarly grotesque: The characters have been so heavily digitized to make them appear to talk and perform stunts that they no longer seem like animals but hybrid movie mutants: poker-playing dogs stuck on the island of Dr. Moreau. The film’s 3-D is another of those awful post-production patch jobs that separate characters’ body parts into unconvincing pop-up-book planes.
And yet . . . and yet . . . “Cats & Dogs” does have its lunatic entertainment value. The filmmakers don’t throw away a single idea – good, bad, or cretinous – and they keep the story moving at a clip. More important, they understand that if you put a sweater and a pair of glasses on a beagle, we’ll sit there mesmerized like the easily amused primates we are. “Cats & Dogs” is the Lolcats of movies and I’m afraid it’s the future. I can has my culture back?
Ty Burr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on movies, go to www.boston.com/movienation.