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CATS AND DOGS: REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE

Designing A Pet-Centric World
Where a jacket with tails really means… a jacket with tails.

Brad Peyton and production designer Rusty Smith agreed that DOG headquarters should have a large central area that offers viewers an immediate sense of its depth and energy. "The bulk of it is contained in one very large subdivided central area that opens from the rocket car dock,” notes Smith.

When Diggs first arrives with Butch, the large view simultaneously takes in a gym, with dogs training on treadmills, and a bathroom, which consists of a row of fire hydrants. From there, a U-turn reveals the lab and, above it all, Lou's office. Smith describes the décor, complete with NORAD-like surveillance monitors, as "a little retro, with a nod toward spy movies, and a lot of cool, small-scale furniture.”

Acknowledging cats' affinity for small, enclosed hideaways, Smith based the MEOWS headquarters on the popular cat condo design. It was particularly challenging because of its small scale, only 6-to-8 feet high, and spherical shape. "Everyone had to crouch down to work in it,” he laughs. At the same time, he had to be mindful of leaving enough access for the puppeteers to maneuver, with raised platforms or other creative access routes on all the sets, wherever possible. The crew especially had fun with creative prop ideas, littering both sets with items like dog- and cat-treat vending machines and customized computer keyboards.

For one of the major set pieces, Mr. Tinkles' big prison scene, Smith accompanied Brad Peyton and the screenwriters to Alcatraz for a sense of its layout and tone. Because filming there is prohibited, they shot exteriors at Riverview, near Vancouver, Canada, to double for the facility's outer wall, and built the interior set on a stage.

Costumes for the animal actors further extended the theme that it was business-as-usual in this realm where cats and dogs rule. The four-legged stars were appropriately decked out in a variety of workaday ensembles, from shirts and ties to lab coats and motorcycle jackets. Costume designer Tish Monaghan refers to the wardrobe range as "the ridiculous to the sublime, with business wear at one end and Kitty Galore's costumes and the miniature Hannibal Lecter outfit at the far end of the spectrum.”

With an emphasis on the animals' comfort, Monaghan consulted the trainers and used a lot of soft and stretchy material, saying, "We wanted them to be able to shine with their personalities coming through and not be hampered by the clothing.”

Whenever we see the world where dogs and cats can be themselves and drop their pet pretense, Peyton wanted it to look as if it was entirely designed and built by them. When they're interacting in our world, they have to accommodate themselves to human scale and expectations, but it's always with the implied knowledge that there is more going on than we are aware of, with our limited senses and human-centric perspective.

"What we wanted to do with this movie was deepen the mythology introduced in ‘Cats & Dogs,' about a world of spies and counterspies and all the intrigue and drama playing out among our trusted household pets every day, while we think they're napping,” he says. "But you don't have to have seen ‘Cats & Dogs' to be in on the joke. ‘The Revenge of Kitty Galore' is a stand-alone adventure.”

It could also be, as Andrew Lazar suggests, "A wake-up call to those of us who share our lives with cats and dogs, to maybe think twice about what they're really doing when we're not around.”

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