Thursday, 30 March 2017

Bond references galore in Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore

I don’t know if you’ve seen Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (2010), but when I watched it the other day (in the interest of research, you understand), I discovered that the film was packed with James Bond references. Of course, the title gives it away somewhat, but there is a lot more besides to tempt the curious Bond fan.

The essential premise of the film, following that of the first film in the series, Cats & Dogs (2001), is that cats are at war with dogs, and certain individuals, unbeknown to their owners, are agents of secret organisations set up to pursue the struggle. Unlike the first film, however, the spy cats and dogs join forces to stop a rogue agent (aren’t they all these days?).

The film begins with a Bondian pre-titles sequence. A spy infiltrates a military base. The agent is disguised, but once inside a top secret room removes the disguise as if taking off a suit (shades of the opening of Goldfinger here). The agent locates some secret codes and takes pictures of them with a spy camera. The agent then fires a piton gun into the ceiling, is hauled up to the room and escapes. Cue the titles and music.

Were it not for the dog and cat motifs, dog bones and paw prints among them, the title sequence could come straight out of a Bond film. It evokes the title sequences of GoldenEye and Casino Royale in particular, and is even accompanied by a song sung by the queen of the Bond themes, Shirley Bassey.

 
The title sequence from Cats & Dogs (top) and its inspirations below (Casino Royale, right, GoldenEye, left)
After the titles, we're introduced to Diggs, a police dog whose inability to follow orders is rewarded with frequent stints in the pound. His handler's chief is, incidentally, called Captain Flemming (sic), possibly a nod to Ian Fleming. Diggs's latest stay in the pound is, however, cut short when he's busted out by Butch, an agent of D.O.G.S. (the spy organisation for dogs, obviously) and recruited. Once at D.O.G.S. headquarters, Diggs meets the film's Q-like character, who has a workshop and a team of white-coated boffins.

 
The 'Q' scene in Cats & Dogs
In the briefing room, Diggs and others receive a video message from Kitty Galore, who in Blofeld-like manner swivels round on a high-backed chair and strokes a white mouse. The villainous cat is a hairless Sphinx, but according to her back story was originally a fluffy white cat. It's possible that the hairless element alludes to the bald heads of the Blofelds of You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Kitty Galore's scheme, hinted in her message, threatens both cats and dogs and so D.O.G.S. joins forces with the equivalent cat organisation, M.E.O.W.S., whose chief is voiced by none other than former Bond, Roger Moore. The cat chief is black and white and wears a bow tie, as if wearing a dinner suit, and his name, Tab Lazenby, must be inspired by another Bond actor.

 
Roger Moore as Tab Lazenby in Cats & Dogs
The action takes place in San Francisco. Though there's no fight on top of the Golden Gate Bridge, A View to a Kill seems to be referenced with images of the bridge incorporated into the title sequence and a scene at Fisherman's Wharf. Both locations feature in the 1985 Bond film. There's also a nod to The Spy Who Loved Me. Kitty Galore's henchman is Paws, a hulk of a cat with metal teeth and clearly influenced by Jaws.

 
Paws, the feline Jaws in Cats & Dogs
The denouement of the film is set on the roof of a fairground carousel, where Kitty Galore attempts to put her dastardly scheme into action. The carousel disguises a satellite dish which controls a satellite in space. This in turn is designed to send out a signal that drives dogs mad and turns them against their owners. Satellites feature fairly prominently in Bond films, but the struggle on top of the dish and the use of the satellite to send out a pulse to catastrophic effect in Cats & Dogs are not too dissimilar from the conclusion of GoldenEye.

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore is one of many children's films that express the tropes of memes of the James Bond films, and is worth watching for curiosity value, if nothing else. It’s doubtful that children would be aware of the references, but such allusions keep the parents interested, and perhaps serve to introduce the Bond films to children, which in turn ultimately helps keep Bond relevant for the next generation of film viewers.

1 comment:

  1. Really a very interesting and attention grabbing piece of movie for children.The movie is full if curiosity that kids even donot want to miss any single scene.

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