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Film Review: Cats & Dogs

Talking domestic animals? 9 out of 10 cats preferred them...

'Cats and Dogs' is a live-action comedy which is a must for the kids and a nearly-must for Mums and Dads. It's got 'real' actors in the shapes of Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park), Elizabeth Perkins (Moonlight and Valentino) and young actor Alexander Pollock. The many voices in this whimsical farce include Alec Baldwin, Charlton Heston, Joe Pantoliano, Susan Sarandon and Michael Clarke Duncan (who also stars in 'Planet of the Apes').

Cats & DogsThe story is based on the basic premise that cats and dogs hate each other, with the dog usually being the evil one who attacks the poor defenceless cat. 'Cats and Dogs' takes the belief on board before throwing the 'Dog Attacking Cat' idea on its ear, and reverses it.

In the movie, the world is seen from the eyes of the cats and dogs, and the humans are portrayed as being ineffectual and a bit daft. Although focusing on the battle for dominance between the cats and dogs, cats are shown as the evil ones. But the whole thing is hilarious.

The cats are planning to destroy a new vaccine that is being created by Professor Brody (Goldblum). The vaccine could prevent all allergies human have to dogs, making the dogs more powerful. The cats clearly can't allow that happen, so therefore a Hitler-type of cat, with the trimmings of a Nazi-like cat following, starts to rule the roost, overthrowing all and sundry in its feline way. But the real story of 'Cats and Dogs' concerns a cute little puppy dog, who is adopted by the Brody family.

Lou, the puppy (played by the voice of Tobey Maguire from 'The Cider House Rules') is the one in a million dog who becomes a deputy secret agent for the government - well this particular government is - of couese - run by dogs. The spy system run by dogs is portrayed in the movie as a copycat of the Mission Impossible set up, with lots of techno boxes surrounding the action.

A great laugh of a movie, the funniest parts are the animal scenes. The motions of the dogs and cats while the actors are speaking is brilliantly choreographed, so much so that kids will swear the animals are talking, each dog having a clealry defined personality.

Alec Baldwin, showed up very well as the voice of the tough old warhorse of a dog. The Hitler cat had a great face and he was frightening and hilarious in his delivery of dialogue. To be honest though the movie did lack some good and sharp one-liners in its dialogue, but the 'acting' of the dogs and cats more than made up for it. The sets of the movie were a bit artificial. A minor complaint it may be but you could easily tell you were looking at a soundstage rather than a bricks and mortar house in the early scenes.

Not as good as 'Shrek', nonetheless 'Cats and Dogs' is definitely worth seeing for a laugh.

David Flynn

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