Also in the third part of the popular “Cats & Dogs” series CATS & DOGS 3: PAWS UNITED! there is a meeting of talking cats and dogs on behalf of saving the (animal) world. But it seems as if the time for films about talking animals is over. We reveal more about this in our review.
OT: Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite (USA 2020)
There was a time when dogs and cats were enemies of each other. Over the years, both species have learned that life is better together than against each other. This also applies to dog Roger (original speaker: Max Greenfield) and cat Gwen (Melissa Rauch), two furry agents on an animal mission. But a dark, feathered adversary named Pablo (George Lopez) wants to revive the enmity between the two species so that people lose interest in their four-legged friends and instead bring birds, reptiles and other small animals into their homes. Roger and Gwen must thwart this sinister plan. But to do this they also need the support of master Max (Callum Seagram Airlie) and mistress Zoe (Sarah Giles)…
At the beginning of the new millennium, films about talking animals were somewhat popular. Back then, alongside the Eddie Murphy remake of “Dr. Dolittle” and its sequel “Dr. Dolittle 2” and the furry spy comedy “Cats & Dogs” in cinemas. Dogs and cats have to join forces to save the world together – the result was, let’s call it diplomatic, suitable for the masses. In this country, all of these films performed solidly at the box office; in the USA, the goodwill of viewers was sometimes even higher. The first “Cats & Dogs” film alone brought over $200 million into the box office with production costs of $60 million. With speaker power from Tobey Maguire, Alec Baldwin and Susan Sarandon, among others, it’s no wonder. The fact that the studio only commissioned a sequel eight years later, so that it only came to the screen nine years after part one, could have been one of the reasons why “Cats & Dogs 2 – The Revenge of Kitty Kahlohr” just hung and strangling was able to recoup its production costs.
The four-legged friends come up with a plan to save the world.
The second sequel “Cats & Dogs 3 – Paws United!”, which is now appearing ten years later (this time without any star participation in front of or behind the scenes), is confirmed after the Robert Downey Jr. reissue of “Dr. Dolittle” unfortunately suggests that the time for films about talking animals is no longer in keeping with the zeitgeist. Director Sean McNamara is in charge (“Soul Surfer”) and screenwriter Scott Bindlay (whose works include the third-rate animated film sequels “Operation Nutcracker 2 and 3”) make every effort to adapt the world of four-legged friends to the standards of today’s teenage world. Do the kids spend all their time on their smartphones? Why not put some in the animals’ paws too… Human communication is (almost) only done online? Why not let the animals cooperate with each other via screens and headsets… Virtual reality glasses are the new hot shit with kids? So why not try out what the animals can do with it… Certainly the “Cats & Dogs” films, in their genre positioning as animal spy film parodies, have always been full of technical gimmicks, but this time hardly a scene goes by without the four-legged friends stare at a screen.
“Today’s kids are on their smartphones all the time? Why not put some in the paws of the animals too… Human communication now only takes place online? Why not let the animals cooperate with each other via screens and headsets… Virtual reality glasses are the new hot shit? So why not try out what the animals can do with it…”
With so much digital communication, the actual plot almost falls behind, which is also due to the fact that “Cats & Dogs 3” has such a lifeless production that every photo love story in BRAVO exudes more dynamism. In rigid shot-counter-shot image sequences, you can see the dog and cat talking to each other (the animation of the moving mouths is at least really good, although generally hardly contemporary), performing small tricks and then running out of the picture. The individual scenes are so choppy that there is never a flow of scenes. This may certainly be due to the difficult shooting with the animals – in the end credits you get some exciting insights from the set. You can also notice this in the fact that the sequences that focus on the people seem a bit more fluid overall. Unfortunately, the animals take up a much larger space than the bipeds, so this lack of craftsmanship is very significant. And the subplot surrounding Max, who is trained by his mother to become a tennis professional, and his ever-growing sympathy for his music-loving neighbor Zoe, is only partially entertaining in its predictability and lack of tension. After all: a feathered villain with fantasies of omnipotence is something new…
Teenager Zoe (Sarah Giles) would like to be a musician. However, her father is against it.
Conclusion: The time for films about talking animals is over. No film illustrates this fact better than the carelessly dumbed down “Cats & Dogs 3: Paws United!”
“Cats & Dogs 3: Paws United!” can be seen in USA cinemas from June 24th.