Cats and Indoctrination
Today I, the Atlantis Mantis, donned my inpenetrable human disguise and ventured into your cinemas to see if your kind had perhaps at last come to terms with its own tragic folly and had set about on a new road of social understanding and prosperity. Had it bollocks.
You wanna know the truth about Cats and Dogs? You can't handle the truth (as people KEEP saying). This is possibly the most horribly immoral and wrong film I have ever seen, far far worse than Pearl Harbour. At least Pearl Harbour had the common decency to only indoctrinate adults who should know better with confused jingoistic metaphors and lies about history. Cats and Dogs, on the other hand, delivers the same confused and convoluted messages of xenophobia and the joys of militancy to the mouths of babes.
Let us begin this weighty rant in the traditional manner and first discuss the plot. There was this rumour going around that Cats and Dogs is a humourous account of the supposed cat/dog war that has secretly raged for millenia, but it bloody well isn't. Cats and Dogs is about cats and/or dogs for about twenty minutes somewhere in the middle. You know, THAT twenty minutes. The twenty minutes that Cop and a Half is about a child cop, or Stop or My Mom Will Shoot is about a Mom stopping and shooting, or that Getting even with Dad is about getting even with Dad. The twenty minutes in which anything is done with the supposed premise of the film before the irrelevant and tedious plot kicks in. After this point, when they have run out of dog/cat puns and wisecracks (which they do run out of surprisingly quickly) the plot becomes an amorphous blur of a thing as it meshes with any other film you care to think of involving a combination or super vilian/master plan/exploding warehouse, and applies it in such a fashion as requires no specific dog/cat action.
The plot goes thus. There isn't a cat/dog war at all. There is actually ONE cat, a crappy British (of course) fluffy cat and his handfull of underlings who have some tedious plan for world domination and only the frigging Road Rovers can stop him. Apparently. And why does a fluffy white cat want to take over the world you may ask (apart from because its nicked off The Emperors New Groove) well its because its EVIL. Yes that's right, EVIL. Good old Biblical evil, the non specific policy-free system by which all movie loons wish to establish totalitarian control. And apparently they are all evil - cats. Evil cats. Cats are Evil. Did you know that? World domination, that's their game. Cats, you see, were the dark masters of ancient Egypt, enslaving humans (!) until the dogs stepped in. The dogs drove the cats from egypt and then, rather sinisterly, took their place at the right hand of the humans where thay seem to have been quite happy to stay ever since. Quite whats supposed to have been happening in the meantime is never explained anymore than why the film makers believe for a second that cats (I mean CATS for Quetzalcoatl's sake!) of all creatures would ever be up for joining forces and obeying the word of one leader. I mean YOU try house training a cat.
The cats roles in the film are reduced to the sort of Death Star style cut aways that represented Japan's role in Pearl Harbour, occupying about five minutes of the film while they lurk about in their scarey mansion getting up to the sort of comedy villian style antics familiar to anyone who has ever seen Avenger Penguins. When we first come across said storm lit castle, where the cats are having an evil board meeting, I was slightly confused as to how a cat had come about possesion of a mansion. It was then that the human house maid came in and I made the leap of assumption that Cat HQ was going to be one of those sort of cat infested big houses that dying rich people are supposed to have. But NOOOOOOO. The Mantis was once again getting ahead of itself and conjuring up a better film than the one presented. Strangely it was decided that all the other cats present had to hide themselves, thus failing to use an obvious but fairly clever plot devise.
The rest of the screen time is spent forcing some ghastly relationship betwixt a fifties devil-child and his new fucking puppy down the audiences throat while it grasps desperately for a hint of irony to make the affair remotely stomachable. Dogs are Nice. That's what this film should be called. It is made very very clear from the outset that this is a dog movie. Dogs are good. Dogs are integral to the infastructure of the fifties american suburban environment. Dogs are the reliable suporter of (American) man in his endless pursuit of the joys of capitalism. Cats, in contrast, are EVIL. Cats are strange. Cats are fascist. Cats are FOREIGN. This strikes the Mantis as a strange decision to have been made because surely it eliminates half of the core audience. Even in a nation of dog lovers one asumes there must be some children out there who own and LIKE cats. Surely these sort of films exist solely on the premise that children like ALL animals?
None the less, this is the decision that was made. Whether millions of children went home crying asking if their cat wants to take over the world, and subsequently living in morbid fear of their once beloved moggy I can tell you not. What I can tell you though is that while Pearl Harbour (see previous rant) was made exclusively to justify, nay promote the bombing of Hiroshima, this film was green lighted because it provides Hollywood with a long awaited opportunity (because they are cats) to slag off and demonise all those nasty communist nations that they aren't allowed to officially take the piss out of any more. There are no cats in America. That's what they sang at the beginning of An American Tail, and perhaps it is for this reason that there are no American cats of significance in this film. There are Chinese/Japanese cats and there are Russian cats, and course they are led by a British cat because the British have always played communists in the past and Hollywood can't tell the fucking difference.
What Cats and Dogs is about is this. America, or maybe just Hollywood, or maybe just Jerry Bruckheimer, is in a state of Closet Communism. The film makers chose the dog to represent America because they think the dog is upstanding, wholesome, a symbol of the family. Let me tell you something about dogs. Dogs are territorial to the point of paranoic nihilism. Dogs bark at anyone or anything that they think might even have an interest in walking past their property without discrimination or common sense. Dogs are followers and servants, both shepherd and sheep. Dogs are the military, and this film damn well plays them as such. The key message in Cats and Dogs is that any problem, even a simple domestic one, even a boy's relationship to his puppy, can only be ultimately resolved by military action. That so long as there is a covert government-style operation in action watching your home and surveying your every move then it's okay to walk the streets. But ONLY then mind, because otherwise any number of alien forces who quite specificaly want to harm YOUR family are quite free to do so. Heck, even the fucking CATS are after you.
Is it any wonder America has such a paranoic gun fetish?
Cats and Dogs symbolises Hollywoods constant struggle to figure out what the hell message it is trying to give America. The dog (in the film) represents team work and the American dream of people pulling together under adversity to protect their nation and their freedom. The dog represents the noble sacrifice of one for the greater good. The cat, in contrast, represents single minded solidarity and a belief in the nation before the individual. The cat represents the stability of military protection. The cat....um, wait a minute.
What DOES seperate the cats from the dogs in this film? What does seperate capitalism from communism as an ideal catalyst for social harmony? Is it a diametric opposition of political philosophies? It doesnt seem to be. No, the only difference seems to be (because they tell us so) is that the cats (damn commies!) are EVIL. Quite what cat politics entails over dog politics is never mentioned, the enemy are simply demonised from the absolute outset. Don't trust the COMMIES son, they only want world domination, every last one of em'. The Dogs (American military) on the other hand seem quite happy, having proved adequately that they COULD take over the world if they damn well wanted, instead take a seat and quietly protect the good old fifties American man, which is all they ever really wanted to do anyway. My compound eye!
"We should all work together - but not so much as to be communist. We should fight for our country and our beliefs, so long as they are the RIGHT beliefs and we don't get so involved as to be a bit too nationalist there. The power of the individual - but no, we should work togehter because team work will always over come um- unions and the solidarity of the workers - no wait a minute. Communism. Capitalism. Communism. Capitalism. Where does one end and the other begin? Oh fuckit, lets make a film about Nazi cats, I hate cats."
Beware puny humans, for I am going to get you, and your little dogs too!
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