Cats and Dogs
Review by Ross Anthony

Opens and wraps with flash and panache; however, you might just catch a catnap during a rather long dog day in between. Of course the film is for kids, but adults aren't thrown many bones.

Cats and DogsUnbeknownst to us mere humans, dogs and the cats battle for complete world domination. Dogs, seeking to secure their positions as man's best friends, have a highly classified, supplied and technofied mission to guard one human scientist's experiments. (He's on the verge of a vaccine to rid the world of doggie allergies.) The cats seek not only to foil that plan, but continue to take over the planet.

Initially, the lower strolling camera angles, slightly fisheyed lenses and high quality stock, coupled with puppy-cute direction and timing fill the screen with flair. Then the story slows with doggie and kitty exposition, bogging down the clever gadgetry. However, there is one perky scene that reinterprets Egyptian hieroglyphics, retelling ancient history, "People think Egyptians worshipped the cat, but in fact, cats were masters over humans" and dogs overthrew that rule. Nicely done and remotely reminiscent of DreamWorks' "Prince of Egypt" (an excellent film, btw.)

Occasionally, the voice talent changes their register to accentuate emotion; but without seeing their real faces, viewers have a hard time figuring out which pet is doing the talking. Additionally, while most often real animals are used, the puppet stand-ins don't quite do the trick.

Fortunately, a litter of Ninja cats drop into the picture, karate chopping away a long stale chunk of film. Though obviously puppets, their zany precision and sharp glowing cat eyes tickle the audience into much belated laughter.

Lastly, some gags involve the use of a comatose factory owner. As the film is obviously directed at little kids, I'm not quite sure they'll make sense out of that part. Nor will adults find much amusement there. Though, the addition of a rodent army bumps the rating to a full B, it's definitely no "SpyKids."

  • Cats and Dogs. Copyright © 2001. Rated PG.
  • Starring Jeff Goldblum, Elizabeth Perkins, Alexander Pollock, Tobey Maguire, Alec Baldwin, Sean Hayes, Susan Sarandon, Joe Pantoliano.
  • Directed by Lawrence Guterman.
  • Written by John Requa, Glenn Ficarra.
  • Produced by Andrew Lazar, Chris DeFaria, Warren Zide, Craig Perry at Warner Bros/Village RoadShow/NPV/Mad Chance.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:16:29 PDT