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HTF REVIEW: "Cats and Dogs"


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#1 of 12 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted October 24 2001 - 10:17 AM

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CATS & DOGS


To-tal Annihillation!

So it has come down to this. For years cats
have been menacing dogs, and dogs have been
chasing cats. Sooner or later you are going to
piss one side off enough to start a war. That
day has come in Warner's Summer hit, Cats and
Dogs
, just released to DVD in beautiful
widescreen.

The movie is, well, pretty darn good. This is
the best talking animal movie ever made since BABE,
which takes the animal talking/puppetry technology
to the very edge. I'll talk more about that later
in the review.

The premise of the movie is simple. The Brody
family's dog, a secret agent who is part of a
world-wide network of dog agents is catnapped.
The family dog is replaced by a lovable beagle
name Lou (Tobey Maquire), who is taken under the
wing of a gruff older agent dog, Butch (Alec Baldwin).
Together, they must face an evil plot of world
domination being masterminded by the cats.

Leading the cats is Mr. Tinkles (Sean Hayes), who
is a ruthless feline leader, but never seems to
get the respect he thinks he deserves. He's a
determined Persian who is hell-bent on stealing a
secret formula being developed by the Brody family's
father (Jeff Goldum).

How much you will truly enjoy Cats and Dogs
depends on your age. Kids are going to love this
movie. Adults, on the other hand, will find it
initially very entertaining and funny, but the
uneveness in the script really makes the film wear
out its welcome before it is halfway done. It's as
if they had this great idea of doing this talking
animal movie with astounding effects, but somehow
couldn't put together a script that kept the film
on 4 legs for its entire length.

Let's talk about the quality of the DVD...

This is going to be somewhat bias. I just
purchased a new 57" projection television. This
was my first movie in anamorphic progressive scan.
I was simply in awe as to how beautiful the transfer
of this DVD looked. Warner Brothers has been doing
a consistently great job with its transfers with
their latest releases, and Cats and Dogs ranks
right up there with Driven (which I found
to be Warner's absolute best transfer to date).

The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is well balanced with
lots of stray (no pun intended) action going on in
the rear soundfield. The sound is very bright with
lots of punchy, booming bass that came from my SV
Subwoofer.

Cats and Dogs is a terrific throwback to
the Cold War/James Bond action films with all sorts
of cool gadgetry and nasty villains. There's even
a remarkable ninja cat fight with shooting spikes
and ninja stars. You look at this stuff and can't
help but be amazed by how it was all done. Fortunately,
this DVD shows you a lot of secrets behind the film.

The supplements include a HBO "First Look"
documentary hosted by Sean Hayes (who voices Mr.
Tinkles). It's a fun look at the actors who
voiced the characters, as well as a fairly in-depth
look at how regular animals were made to talk and
do all the on-screen stunts. It was interesting to
see how computer models were built and how a computer
wire-frame was placed over the finished filmed
segments of the animals and how using that frame,
the animators were able to manipulate the facial
movements. There is also Teaching A Dog New
Tricks
segment that shows you how the animals
were trained for many of the scenes. There is also
a Storyboard Comparison segment, a
Theatrical Trailer and even a bunch of cool
stuff you can do once you pop your disc into your
CD-ROM.

The film has a feature-length audio commentary
with the major principles involved with the film.

As I said, the film appeals to kids and adults,
though I think adults will become bored with it
faster than the kids will. It's fun to watch, but
the film is not supported by a strong script. The
overall DVD transfer and sound mix is well worth
sitting through, and I think overall this is a disc
that is worth purchasing.


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#2 of 12 OFFLINE   Ricky f

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Posted October 24 2001 - 10:21 AM

Greetings and Salutations I was happy to see that beautiful WIDESCREEN banner. Yes, This one also sounds like another buy for me Thanks for the review Ron Regards, Ricky

#3 of 12 OFFLINE   Elbert Lee

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Posted October 24 2001 - 11:02 AM

I agree with this film losing steam before the halfway mark. The trailer showed promise, but the film ultimately fails to deliver a minimal amount of satisfaction.

#4 of 12 OFFLINE   George Cifrancis

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Posted October 24 2001 - 11:25 AM

I saw the movie at the theater and thought it was a lot of fun and very hilarious. It is worth at least a rental.

George C.


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#5 of 12 OFFLINE   Aryn Leroux

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Posted October 24 2001 - 11:44 AM

I rented Cats & Dogs today. Started Watching it and had to shut it off about 40 minutes into it. Just didn't appeal to me much. The transfer though was excellent.


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[Edited last by Aryn Leroux on October 24, 2001 at 02:45 PM]

[Edited last by Aryn Leroux on October 24, 2001 at 02:45 PM]

#6 of 12 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted October 24 2001 - 11:47 AM

Although these days I tend to rent films I haven't seen rather than buy them, I'm tempted to pick this up just to vote with my dollars in the OAR war.

Sounds like I'd like the movie, anyway.

Also, one correction, Ron. . .it'd have to be the best animal film since Babe 2, not the original! Pig In The City was a work of GENIUS! Posted Image
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#7 of 12 OFFLINE   Mark Ward

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Posted October 24 2001 - 11:56 AM

Sounds Great! Title now on order. Another fine review! I've lost count how many that's been this week. Ron's been busy! Mark Ward. [Edited last by Mark Ward on October 24, 2001 at 03:00 PM]

#8 of 12 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

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Posted October 24 2001 - 12:12 PM

I rented this one yeaterday. In a way, it reminds me a lot of Men In Black the way the cats and dogs hide their true identity from the humans, pretty funny.

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#9 of 12 OFFLINE   Jacob_St

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Posted October 24 2001 - 04:12 PM

I'm a big fan of Babe but I hated this movie. I kept fast forwarding hoping it would get better. This and Spy Kids were disappointments to me.

#10 of 12 OFFLINE   Dave Scarpa

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Posted October 24 2001 - 05:59 PM

I thought this was an excellent little Movie Stolen By Mr. Tinkles. And a Great WS Transfer, thanks Warner for giving in. I Also loved the little Homage to classic films that tinkles does.

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#11 of 12 OFFLINE   DarrenA

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Posted October 24 2001 - 08:38 PM

[quote]

I kept fast forwarding hoping it would get better.

[quote]

That is mind-boggling to me! How can you even know what is going on in a movie if you keep jumping forward without watching the movie in it's entirety?

You should rent and watch the DVD The Straight Story. It has no Chapter Stops and no FFW abilities. This way you either watch the movie, or you don't.

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#12 of 12 OFFLINE   Jacob_St

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Posted October 25 2001 - 02:44 PM

Oh, please. Don't lay your condesending attitude on me. I saw more than enough of the movie to know it stunk. If you like it then great, good for you.




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