Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Blu-ray delivers great video and audio in this fan-pleasing Blu-ray release
In the age-old battle between cats and dogs, one crazed feline has taken things a paw too far. Kitty Galore, formerly an agent for cat spy organization MEOWS, has gone rogue and hatched a diabolical plan to not only bring her canine enemies to heel, but take down her former kitty comrades and make the world her scratching post. Faced with this unprecedented threat, cats and dogs will be forced to join forces for the first time in history in an unlikely alliance to save themselves -- and their humans.
For more about Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore and the Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Blu-ray release, see Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on December 5, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
You should know from the outset that my son would write an entirely different review of The Revenge of Kitty Galore than the one you're about to read. Something along the lines of his immediate reaction to the film: "Can we watch it again, dad? Can we, can we!?" My review will be more along the lines of my immediate response: "Um... not right now, kiddo. Ask me again tomorrow." (For the record, and to my great relief, the only two films he asked about the next day were Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon. He hasn't asked about Kitty Galore since, a small miracle by any parent's standard.) Did the first Cats & Dogs even need a sequel? Critically panned and universally ignored, it was a family friendly bore at best, a joyless talking animal misfire at worst. Still, despite all its failings, it at least showed some heart. The Revenge of Kitty Galore amounts to a soulless string of dated movie references, uninspired one-liners and pop culture gags, paper-thin characters, woefully underdeveloped plotlines and CG-reliant bursts of slapsticky action. And even that may be an understatement.
Kitty Galore puts her devious plan into action...
Let me take a moment and pretend Kitty Galore's story matters. (Rather than dwelling on the fact that it plays like an 82-minute trailer for the inevitable, equally unnecessary 2019 release of Cats & Dogs 3: Quantum of Tinkles.) With maniacal mad-cat Mr. Tinkles (voiced enthusiastically by Sean Hayes) locked up in a maximum security prison, relative peace has returned to the domesticated animal world. That is until a new threat, former M.E.O.W.S. agent Kitty Galore (Bette Midler), concocts a plan so sinister, so eeeeevil, that it leaves two lifelong enemies -- dogs and cats -- with little choice but to band together to stop her. If only the results were as clever as they could be. The canines put their most talented superspies on the case: agency handler Butch (Nick Nolte), senior analyst Lou (Neil Patrick Harris), impulsive new recruit and disgraced police officer Diggs (James Marsden), and some other fearless pups. The felines contribute some muscle as well as chief Tab Lazenby (Roger Moore) and top agent Catherine (Christina Applegate) reluctantly join the fight. But can they stop Galore before she can exact her vengeance on humans, dogs and cats? Spoiler ahead... yep.
As I was gritting my teeth through yet another Cats & Dogs, I became all too aware of how shallow it all was. Scattershot parody is its primary export -- be it the Bond franchise, Terminator or Silence of the Lambs -- but nearly every reference is far too old to appeal to kids and far too dull, dim-witted and diluted to amuse parents. Galore's casting is certainly commendable, and it's hard to fault the quality of the voice performances. But the film's script is the stuff of bargain-bin, direct-to-video shame. As soft a spot as I have for a good pun, the kind of groan-inducing wordplay that frequents screenwriters Ron J. Friedman and Steve Bencich's dialogue deserves to be put down. Worse, the story lurches from one subplot to the next with little to no regard for narrative cohesion or internal logic. Everything that occurs is in service of whatever random joke is being told, and the film's quote-unquote humor drives the events that unfold, rather than vice versa. The same applies to the film's action sequences. The CG used to bring director Brad Peyton's pups to the big screen is brimming with welcome personality (and far removed from the barebone tweaks granted to Santa Paws and his ilk), but it takes more than comical expressions and visual pizazz to breathe life into a ragtag team of talking animals.
Kitty Galore's lone saving grace? Its ability to slap a smile on any four to eight-year-old in its colorful blast radius. Cute, playful and packed with cartoonish hijinks, it's the sort of film kids fall in love with for no discernible reason (other than its unflinching silliness). That doesn't make it a great family film by any stretch of the imagination, nor should it spare Cats & Dogs from any critical ire. Just don't be too concerned if your son or daughter can't get enough of its tiresome tongue-in-cheek antics. I still defend drivel like Popeye to this day, so I'm well acquainted with the blinding power of childhood nostalgia. But that also doesn't mean you have to add The Revenge of Kitty Galore to your collection. From the humble beginnings of the home video age, parents have relied on rental services to weed out the duds their children might otherwise ask to watch every other day. So if junior desperately wants to see what's become of dear, dastardly Mr. Tinkles, sacrifice a dollar to the Red Box gods and let the excitable tot have a night of lame laughs. Then return it, cleverly shoot down any request for a second viewing, and move onto better family fare worthy of a permanent home on your shelves. One day, when they have kids of their own, they'll thank you for slowly but surely refining their cinematic palettes over the years.
The Revenge of Kitty Galore scampers onto Blu-ray with a strong (but imperfect) 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer. (That's right, AVC MPEG-4. Between Cats & Dogs and Flipped, it appears Warner may finally be putting the VC-1 codec out to pasture.) Balk at the film's faux-gritty, 007 palette all you want; colors are rich, primaries are ripe, lasers and explosions light up the screen, and black levels are nice and deep (in all but a handful of problematic, effects-heavy nighttime shots). Yes, a few faces are flushed, and a few more skew a bit orange, but fleshtones (or fur-tones as it were) are generally warm and lifelike. Likewise, soft shots pop up from time to time, but none are indicative of a prevailing technical issue. Fine textures are precisely resolved, definition is crisp and clean (without the help of any egregious edge enhancement), and animal hair, practical or CG, bristles believably. Oddities abound though. While the film's grainfield is fairly consistent and largely unobtrusive, it also tends to spike rather violently; so much so that the grain sometimes becomes a ragged, blocky mess. Minor artifacting, banding and crush pop up as well, as does some negligible aliasing. Still, each eyesore is brief, fleeting and easy to overlook. Cats & Dogs may not be a great family film, but Warner's video transfer is impressive enough to prevent parents from regretting every dollar of their purchase.
Kitty Galore's rowdy DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track packs plenty of puppy power, it just lacks the feline finesse of a top tier mix. Not that your kids will notice. LFE output is brassy and robust, bolstering each blaring fireball, violent rocket boost, feral roar, ferocious outburst and clanking robo-beastie Cats & Dogs has to offer. Rear speaker activity is aggressive and effective as well, making every bustling underground HQ an immersive hotspot and every carnival-ride-turned-weapon-of-mass-destruction a convincing 360-degree set piece. Christopher Lennertz's score earns its stripes as well, filling out the soundfield to enveloping ends. Better still, dynamics are bold, pans are perfectly transparent, and directionality is decidedly decent. If I have any lingering reservation, it's in regards to voiceover prioritization. Animal dialogue is occasionally overwhelmed by the ensuing spy-vs-spy chaos, drowning in the cacophony of effects, explosions and music cues that erupt throughout the film. Don't misunderstand: for the most part, the actors' voices are clear and intelligible. But every now and then, the track simply becomes too loud and labored for its own good, muffling quieter lines and dampening delicate elements in the soundscape. Be that as it may, I suspect Warner's lossless track delivers a faithful presentation of the film's ear-throttling, hyperactive sound design, and I know its target audience will be thrilled with the bombastic results.
Warner's supplemental package will appease the kiddies, and that's probably good enough for anyone who adds The Revenge of Kitty Galore to their rental queue or shopping cart.
Coyote Falls (HD, 3 minutes): The best feature of the bunch is this all-new computer-animated Looney Tunes short starring Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. Frankly, it's the only thing I enjoyed in the least. Could Looney Tunes make a successful 21st century comeback? Based on this fun CG throwback, I'd say so.
Dogs Dishing: Tails from the Bark Side of Hollywood (HD, 9 minutes): A fairly obnoxious in-character tell-all with the filmmakers and their four-legged cast members.
Meow-Takes (HD, 4 minutes): This pre-scripted gag reel has little to offer beyond contrived outtakes.
The Best of Cat Vs. Dog Animated Showdowns (HD, 5 minutes): A brief rundown of the canine/feline war that's dominated cartoons for decades.
Yogi Bear Sneak Peek (HD, 3 minutes): Behold the live-action horror that awaits Jellystone regulars and pint-sized moviegoers next year.
What's a parent to do? Give in and add The Revenge of Kitty Galore to the mounting pile of subpar kiddie releases cluttering their shelves? Or simply stick with a rental and save their Amazon dollars for far better family films like Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon? For me, the answer is clear. For others, it isn't worth risking a temper tantrum. Either way, Cats & Dogs isn't quality entertainment or worthwhile family fare by any means, and deserves a special place at the bottom of the proverbial bargain bin. However, those who do fork over more cash than the rest of us will at least get their money's worth with Warner's Blu-ray release. Its supplemental package is all bark and no bite, but its video transfer is crisp and colorful, and its DTS-HD Master Audio track packs ample punch. Choose wisely, mom and dad. Choose wisely.
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Warner Home Video has announced Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (a sequel to 2001's espionage/talking-animal movie Cats & Dogs) for Blu-ray release on November 16, on a BD/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack. This movie will also be available in a 3D Blu-ray ...
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