Just to clear the air, in the same two week span that I recommended and encouraged everyone to watch Antichrist, I am now telling everyone that I enjoyed watching the Cats and Dogs sequel made nine years after the original. Would some context be beneficial?
Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore isn't really a sequel to the original. There are a couple of returning characters, but beyond that this is a new adventure altogether. So an intimate knowledge of the mythos of the C&D universe is not really needed to even partly enjoy this film.
The plot, such as it stands, involves the maniacal Kitty Galore (voiced by Bette Midler, yes the "Wind Beneath My Wings" Bette Midler) trying to flood the world with a sound that will make all dogs insane. The dogs are understandably not cool with this happening, so they decide to recruit a renegade police dog named Diggs (James Marsden) to assist in apprehending the evil Galore. Diggs' superior dogficer Butch (Nick Nolte) tries to find ways of dealing with him and eventually runs afoul of Catherine (Christina Applegate), a cat trying to catch Kitty Galore for her own purposes.
So, in a truly shocking moment, cats and dogs are united for the first time against the forces of evil. Which, for those of you playing the home game, she is still a cat so any "evil cat" myths can still stay alive and well. Then, for some reason, both the maniacal supervillaness and the do-gooder cat/dog alliance are chasing after a forgetful pigeon (Katt Williams) who is integral to the plot for reasons that seem all to clear in the movie but aren't easily explained.
The animation techniques that are used to give cat, dog and bird their voices range from great to creepy. We've been making cats and dogs talk and move their mouths like humans for some time now, but still can't quite seem to get the full gist of how to do it correctly. Some of the characters are fully computer generated, some of them are only partly generated, and in the unsettling moments the characters seem to be animatronically generated.
Ok, so now would be a good time to explain why I enjoyed myself. On the basest level, I enjoyed the spirit of the enterprise. The film is a giant riff on one of the most inexplicably popular James Bond films (Moonraker), and it's filled with tons of little throwaway gags and touches that other films have but don't quite have the subtlety to do appropriately. Not that the jokes themselves are subtle, but the current level of pop culture saturation has gotten to the point where every reference has a flashing neon sign pointing to its origin so that you don't miss it. If they did that here, the film would run an easy extra two hours in length, simply because so many references are one shot visual details that are otherwise left uncommented on.
It's also just a simple, quick and fun, throw away sort of film. There's nothing in here that's going to approach greatness, but it's not a bad way to spend the afternoon. The script is ludicrous in the best way, filled with cheesy puns, completely absent of any sort of sentimentality or unnecessary human interaction, and pets are adorable.
So I don't hate the fact that I spent my time watching this. It's fun, utterly disposable, and knows it. Over the hour and twenty minutes it was there were fun references to The Silence of the Lambs, Moonraker, Serenity, Goldfinger, The Big Lebowski, both Tim Burton Batman films, and way too many others. If you happen to catch it, and find a few that I missed, please let me know. Maybe this thing has layers.
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (2010)
Directed by Brad Peyton.
Written by Ron J. Friedman and Steve Bencich.
Featuring a voice ensemble cast led by James Marsden, Christina Applegate and Nick Nolte.