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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Tim Hill
Cast:
Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Bill Murray, Billy Connolly, Roger Rees, Lucy Davis
Writing Credits:
Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow, Jim Davis (comic strip, "Garfield")

Tagline:
The Ego has landed.

Synopsis:
Garfield (Bill Murray) follows his owner, Jon (Breckin Meyer), to England, where he's mistaken for a lookalike regal cat who has inherited a castle. Garfield loves the royal treatment afforded by his loyal subjects, but when the evil Lord Dargis learns of the deception, he sets out to expose the furry impostor and turn the castle into a tourist resort.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$7.288 million on 2946 screens.
Domestic Gross
$28.382 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby 2.0
French Dolby 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 86 min. (Widescreen Extended Version)/78 min. (Fullscreen Theatrical Version)
Price: $26.98
Release Date: 10/10/2006

Bonus:
• “Drawing With Jim Davis”
• Exclusive Garfield Comic Strip
• Odie’s Photo Album Game
• Garfield’s Maze Game
• Music Video
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Garfield: A Tail Of Two Kitties (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 28, 2006)

Occasionally a movie that enjoyed moderate success spawns a massive hit sequel. Look at the original Austin Powers movie. It earned a modest $53 million, but its sequels – 1999’s The Spy Who Shagged Me and 2002’s Goldmember - each took in more than $200 million. That’s a remarkable improvement over the first flick’s unspectacular box office performance.

I’m sure those responsible for the Garfield franchise hoped similar growth would occur there. 2004’s Garfield: The Movie took in a passable $75 million. That figure impressed no one, but it was enough to encourage the studio to greenlight a sequel: 2006’s A Tail of Two Kitties.

Unfortunately for the suits at Fox, Kitties failed to expand the franchise. Indeed, I’d bet it killed the potential for more Garfield movies. Kitties made a sad $28 million, a figure that seems unlikely to promote more Garfield offerings.

And that’s fine with me. The first flick was fairly weak, and the second does nothing to improve upon its failures. Here Jon Arbuckle (Breckin Meyer) plans to propose to girlfriend Liz Wilson (Jennifer Love Hewitt) but gets undercut by her news that she’s immediately flying to London to speak at a big conference. Undeterred, Jon decides to fly to England and complete his proposal.

Jon intends to leave dog Odie and fat, sassy cat Garfield (voiced by Bill Murray) in the kennel, but the two pets stow away in his bags and go with him to the UK. There we meet fat, spoiled cat Prince (voiced by Tim Curry), a feline who looks a remarkable amount like Garfield. When his owner dies, Prince inherits her estate. This angers her nephew (Billy Connolly), but a silver lining emerges for the snide Lord Dargis: if Prince dies, he takes over Carlyle Castle.

To that end, Dargis puts Prince in a picnic basket that he throws into the river. The kitty floats downstream toward London, where it just so happens Garfield hangs out with Jon and Odie. When caretaker Smithee (Ian Abercrombie) finds Garfield on the street, he takes the cat since he thinks he found Prince. Inevitably, Prince then ends up in Garfield’s place with Jon. The movie follows the shenanigans caused by the switcheroo.

As Babe proved, a good film can come from talking animals. Kitties isn’t that film – and it ain’t even close. Witless and weary, there’s little to make this flick stand out as watchable, much less inspired and entertaining.

The original movie was a bad enough waste of talent since it threw away Murray’s skills. Kitties compounds the disgrace via the presence of many fine actors as animals. Billy Connolly also goes down the toilet in his role. He tries his best but can’t overcome the generic nature of his villain. The flick saddles all its performers with inane situations and lines, so none of them get the chance to come across well.

Kitties is the kind of movie I find it tough to write up simply because there’s so little substance to discuss. It fails to do justice to its literary sources, and it barely manages a coherent story; one could poke many holes in the flabby narrative. If the film mustered some humor beyond its unending string of bad one-liners, then those flaws may become tolerable. However, it just throws out tired gags from start to finish. C’mon – is anyone actually still amused by riffs on “the Artist Formerly Known as Prince”? Those were old in the last century, and they’ve not aged well.

The flick boasts one cutesy sequence after another, none of which entertain. The filmmakers clearly had to work hard to pad the film out to its still short running time of 86 minutes; there’s a lot of filler on display. The story between Liz and Jon exists as nothing more than a plot device to get Garfield to England, and we never care about the humans.

Or anything else, for that matter. Is Kitties worse than the original Garfield movie? Probably not, but that’s damning with faint praise. The first flick was abysmal, and its sequel never outperforms it. This is one long reel of animal wackiness with no wit or inspiration behind it. Frankly, it becomes embarrassing to watch.

Note that this DVD includes both the 78-minute theatrical cut of Kitties along with an 86-minute extended version. In an unusual choice, the theatrical rendition is available fullscreen while the longer edition is widescreen. That means most fans will probably prefer to watch the extended cut.


The DVD Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B-/ Bonus D

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 and in a fullscreen version on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. I saw no reason to complain about this terrific transfer.

Across the board, I thought sharpness seemed excellent. The movie always came across as nicely crisp and detailed. If any softness occurred, I couldn’t see it. Even with Dargin’s tweed jackets, neither jagged edges nor shimmering marred the presentation, and edge enhancement appeared absent. I also failed to detect any source flaws in this clean image.

Kitties displayed a broad and varied palette, and the DVD replicated these tones nicely. At all times, the hues came across as natural and accurate. Black levels were deep and rich, and shadow detail was appropriately clear but not excessively opaque. The movie always looked great, so I felt very pleased with this image.

As was the case with the first film, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Kitties lacked much to make it memorable. The soundfield seemed heavily oriented toward the front, and it lacked much ambition even there. The elements blended smoothly but didn’t stretch out the spectrum to a significant degree. We got a lot of music and a few effects but not much more. The first flick included an action climax that opened it up, but that didn’t repeat here. This meant the surrounds reinforced the forward speakers and failed to bring much to the party.

Audio quality appeared fine. Speech remained natural and concise, with no signs of edginess or problems connected to intelligibility. Music showed nice range and clarity, and the bass response demonstrated a reasonably solid punch. Effects were fairly bright and accurate, and they presented adequate range. This was a perfectly average soundtrack.

Don’t expect many extras from Kitties. We open with a music video for Brian Anthony’s “Come and Get It”. I thought this would be a cover of Badfinger’s McCartney-penned tune, but instead it’s some generic piece of dance pop. It’s a forgettable, dreadful tune that sounds like a relic of the late 90s boy band days. The video is completely dull, as it simply packages a bunch of movie clips.

Drawing with Jim Davis lets us receive lessons from the cartoon’s creator. He teaches us how to draw Garfield (three minutes, one second), Odie (2:10) and Pooky (2:28). Quick and painless, this is a fun glimpse of Davis’s methods.

Next we get an exclusive Garfield comic strip. This three-panel offering shows Garfield as the king. It’s no better or worse than the daily Garfield strips; take from that what you will.

The DVD opens with some promos. We get ads for Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Care Bears: Oopsy Does It and a few Fox family releases. No trailer for Kitties appears.

Two games round out the disc. Odie’s Photo Album Game shows altered portions of photos and requires you to pick the undoctored versions. It’s more challenging than I expected and reasonably fun, though it comes with no reward for completion.

Garfield’s Maze Game leads you through a CD hedge maze. You have to choose your twists and turns along the way to get out of it. The game moves slowly and fails to offer any fun.

The same could be said for Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. Inane and uninspired, the movie lacks anything to make it entertaining or even vaguely amusing. The DVD provides excellent picture quality as well as passable audio and only some minor extras. Other than the visual transfer, this is a mediocre DVD for a bad film.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.9259 Stars Number of Votes: 27
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