Cats and Dogs (2001)
1st January 2002
There's a war that has been carrying on for thousands of years, and its a war that humans are totally unaware of. It is the battle for the hearts and minds of humans and for the past few hundred years the dogs have had the upper hand. Now it is the turn of the cats to rule with a devious plan to dominate the world by stealing a formula that would finally overcome the human allergies to dogs.
The formula is under development by Professor Brody who, working from a laboratory in his basement, is close to perfecting the serum. When the family dog, and agent, mysteriously disappears the dog council decide to monitor the family by sending in a replacement.
However, their plan doesn't quite work and a complete novice is sent to protect the Brody family. The dog agents are going have their paws full protecting the family from the devious attempts from parachuting ninjas and Russian assassin cats to infiltrate the laboratory.
The picture is bright and colourful with plenty of detail. It is a very good picture transfer indeed with an above average bit-rate throughout the film with no hints of pixelisation or artifacting. The special effects blend in well with the surroundings, especially the expressions and mouth movements on the dogs, and you'll be hard pushed to see where the computer has been at work.
Similar to the picture, the sound is just as good with a rich and active soundtrack. The dialogue is crisp and clear in the centre channel with no bleeding to the other channels and once things start to get 'hairy' there's plenty of activity in the surround channels by both effects and the soundtrack. It certainly adds to the enjoyment of the film.
The menus are nicely animated and scored and even offer the viewer a choice of camps. If you're a cat lover then you're sure to plump for the cats menu, whilst dog lovers will pick the dog menu. Once selected you'll get a different style of menus for each of the two opposing "forces". A simple and quite effective use of the menu system.
There's a good set of extras with a director's commentary, behind the scenes featurettes and the usual theatrical trailer. There's even some Easter eggs that are quite easy to find, so much so that I doubt that they are suppose to be as such.
The DVD-ROM section contains the usual screen savers and picture gallery but for some bizarre reason they have decide to place an alternate ending scene there too, which is a little annoying if you don't own a DVD-ROM drive. Overall it's a good set of extras to add value to the package.
It manages to be one of those films that doesn't completely depend on the computer for its special effects. Naturally, you have the real life animal heroes as well as animatronics and the trusty computer pixel. However, the scenes blend in well together and although some of more action intensive scenes tend to show their CGI origins the animatronics, especially Mr. Tinkles, are excellent.
If you put all of these elements together you end up with a novel and interesting film that the entire family will enjoy, although the only problem may be with cat lovers as the cat is the enemy whilst the dogs are the heroes. Mind you, I've often wondered about that shifty looking tabby cat that keeps staring at me through the window. You never know what dastardly deed its plotting with its pals.
- Feature Length Commentary
- HBO Behind-the-scenes Documentary
- "Teaching a New Dog New Tricks" Documentary
- Storyboard Comparisons
- Interactive Trivia Quiz
- Mr. Tinkles Screen Test
- Concept Sketches
- Theatrical Trailer
- DVD-ROM Enhanced