6 August 2010

Why Bother?- CATS & DOGS 2 Review

As something of a regular disclaimer, it's only my opinion here- others are available. As ever, mild spoilers may occur in the process of reviewing, but never so far as to spoil any major plot developments.

This... really exists. Honestly. If you haven't seen all the advertising and think I might be just trying an elaborate ruse on you, rest assured that I'm not. Or indeed, panic even more, because apparently, someone's been chugging away for the last nine years, willing Cats & Dogs- The Revenge of Kitty Galore into being.

While it'd be no fault of yours whatsoever if you couldn't remember the setup of the first film, it's pretty simple- cats are manipulative bastards and dogs are the protectors of humanity, the MI5 to felinedom's SPECTRE. The waters are muddied somewhat this time around by the emergence of Kitty Galore, a hairless cat mastermind who's so dangerous that the two feuding species must team up to save humanity.

Ostensibly, it's a cash-grab effort. Do many people even remember the first Cats & Dogs? Will audiences notice that all of the voice actors have been replaced except for three actors who presumably needed the money? Will they notice that, somehow, the special effects seem to have regressed rather than advanced since the last time we saw this story, back in 2001? Right after Inception, Warner Bros. have achieved the impossible once again! They've made a sequel that's taken nine years to make but still looks rushed and half-arsed!

I don't know, maybe they made this in 2004 and decided to wait for 3D to become big and then up-convert it for a big summer release date. I naturally saw this in 2D, but it's apparent from certain special effects and diverting setpieces that it's very friendly to the stereoscopic format, at least making more of an effort than other up-converted films that don't even bother with the cheap "Oh, it's coming right towards you" beats.

And surprisingly, it makes an effort in other areas too. I have to confess to being fairly entertained by some of the pop-culture references herein. Don't get me wrong, there are still too many obvious jokes about cats and dogs- a misled operative is "chasing his tail", Kitty Galore sees that "the world will be my scratching post", yadda yadda. It's pre-empted every bit of critical rhetoric possible except the one that many are saying about getting this film put down like a sick pet.

Nevertheless, the jokes are more often in the same gear as an early David Zucker parody, propelled at a high rate and focusing on more ambitious targets like the James Bond franchise. For instance, the title sequence plays out as an animated facsimile of a Bond opening, replete with feline and canine silhouettes and a big musical acompaniment by Shirley Bassey. I wish they hadn't picked a cover of Pink's "Let's Get This Party Started" for that musical accompaniment, but it was a cute joke to open on. Elsewhere, Kitty Galore has a white mouse as a pet, sat in her lap throughout. There are still more misses than hits, even for a very young audience, but there are some inspired jabs here and there.

The CGI Looney Tunes short before the main feature is probably a better reason to get to the cinema than this. It's adequate, with its production design from one of those dog food adverts where the dogs are in space, and its mildly interesting but still inexplicable voice talents. James Marsden? Christina Applegate? Was work so scant that you had to star in this? None of it is particularly bad, per se, but what the hell can I recommend about it? Despite grasping for a little something more and occasionally brushing my funny bone, there's nothing to really distinguish this from all the other talking animal films of the last few years.

Cats & Dogs was just about adequate, gaining more points for casting Jeff Goldblum as an eccentric scientist than for any of its animal antics. From memory, I'd say this sequel probably surpasses it, but then we'll never know for sure as I really can't be bothered to revisit something so... well, adequate. The Revenge of Kitty Galore isn't a lot better, aiming its sights a little too high for the young audience it really should be attracting easily. Trust me when I say, your children are more discerning than this. So it's a pointless exercise really, as more easily embarrassed patrons than I would rather see The A-Team than come near a sequel this immature.

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore is now showing in 2D and 3D in cinemas nationwide.
If and when you see The Revenge of Kitty Galore, why not leave a comment on the film and/or my review? Oh, and whatever I think of George Clooney these days, I still haven't forgiven Chris O'Donnell for being the latter part of Batman & Robin. True, I'd forgotten he existed until recently, but I don't wanna see him in this or anywhere else!

I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.

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