|Star:||Jeff Goldblum + (voices) Alec Baldwin, Sean Hayes, Tobey Maguire|
|Cert / Year:||PG / 2001|
There is a war being fought in every back garden, and every alley in the world. It has continuing since the times of ancient Egypt and nowadays it is a high tech affair. It is the war between cats and dogs and it has just taken a new turn. Professor Brody (Jeff Goldblum) has invented a serum to cure dog allergy, but he has become the target of the evil cat genius Mr Tinkles (Sean Hayes) who plans to use it to defeat the dogs and take over the world. Only a hand picked team of dogs can protect the family. Commanded by Butch (Alec Baldwin), with communications expert Peak (Joe Pantoliano) and master of disguise Sam (Michael Clarke Duncan). Unfortunately the key member of he team the Brody's own dog has had to be replaced and the new recruit, Lou (Tobey Maguire), is not the highly trained agent they expected.
This comedy could best be described as Austin Powers meets Babe. It is as original as Chicken Run, and just as funny. From the frenetic Tom and Jerry style-opening chase, to the evil machinations of Mr Tinkles this is just hilarious. Full marks must go to the writers John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (who also brilliantly voices the Russian cat) for producing such a funny and refreshingly new script. It manages to avoid reusing the same ideas as Austin Powers, as it covers the secret world of dogs and cats. A simple idea yet superbly implemented.
Babe pushed the CG talking animal effects to new levels and Cats and Dogs carries on this tradition. The CG effects are expertly mixed with good animatronics and well-trained real animals to provide a convincing and comedic series of characters. This is essential as the Cats and Dogs are the stars of the show, the humans are very much the supporting cast. The overall effect is very impressive with only a couple of small of lapses in believability.
This of course would have been nothing without top vocal performances. Luckily here again we are not let down. Tobey Maguire is well cast as Lou, and Alec Baldwin is superb a Butch. The chemistry between the characters also works really well. Fine supporting performances come from Susan Sarandon, Joe Pantoliano, Michael Clarke Duncan and especially Jon Lovitz who delivers another fine comic role as the big eyed sidekick of Mr Tinkles, Calico. The humans also fair well as Jeff Goldblum puts in another one of his eccentric genius performances, a role for which he now seems typecast. Elizabeth Perkins is good as the neurotic mum and Alexander Pollockv is not too annoying as the Brody's kid. Special mention must be made of Miriam Margolyes and Charlton Heston who give great cameos.
There is someone I haven't yet mentioned and that is the undoubted star of the show Mr Tinkles, voiced by Sean Hayes. Perfect voice and cat realisation has provided cinema with the funniest bad guy since Dr Evil. He is the combination of Blofeld and his cat, and he absolutely steals the show. He is pure evil despite being a big fluffy white cat called Mr Tinkles, and it is this obvious failing that gives us the biggest laughs.
Cats and Dogs is a very good comedy. It is a little lightweight, but it is ideal for family viewing. The effects are used brilliantly bar a couple of small hiccups, and the cats and dogs are realised perfectly. Occasionally the story is a little saccharine, but it never really gives into pure smaltz. Cleverly derivative and unusually original at the same time, this is a good concept. Overall it is very funny and at the end of the day for a comedy that's what matters.
Cats Rule, no err Dogs Rule, no Cats Rule.
|1.85:1 Anamorphic||The picture is perfect|
|5.1 Dolby Digital||Good and clear|
|Innovative Dual Cats and Dogs Menus|
|Audio Commentary with Actor Sean Hayes, Director Lawrence Guterman, Producer Chris Defaria and Production Designer James Bissell|
|2 short Behind-The-Scenes Featurettes|
|Interactive Trivia Challenge|
|Loads of DVD ROM features|
|Separate Cats and Dogs Easter Eggs including the fantasticly hilarious Mr Tinkles Early screen tests|
|Great disc for a great film|