That Darn Cat (Live Action) (Remastered) (1997)

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Released 25-Jun-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 85:44
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bob Spiers
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Christina Ricci
Doug E. Doug
George Dzundza
Peter Boyle
Michael McKean
Bess Armstrong
Dyan Cannon
Dean Jones
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Richard Kendall Gibbs


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish
Norwegian
Swedish
Danish
Finnish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    OK, everyone. Listen up! I wanna check that we got everything. Sing out when I call you!

    Cute kid who's smarter than her parents and doesn't fit in at school? Present!

    Photogenic animal who is apparently smarter than all the humans? Rowr!

    Rehashed script of a successful movie? Got it right here!

    Well-meaning mom? Here!

    Low-key dad for the heart-touching moment? Here!

    Incompetent FBI agent with the famous father he can't live up to? Here!

    Aging has-been Disney actor? Here!

    Bumbling pair of local law enforcement? Here! Yo! Guys, you'll have to be security guards in this film — we've had bumbling police in the last three films.

    Comic relief minor characters? Present! Here! Here! Present! Here! Over here! Ruff! Hmm, excuse me a moment.

    Hey, Ralph — isn't that an awful lot of comic relief characters? Have you read the script? I think we're gonna need ALL of them. Oh. I knew I should have called in sick today...

    I can't swear that the conversation above happened. But it seems likely. This film is very formulaic, like a checklist of all things Disney. But there's something missing: that Disney sparkle that makes a good Disney film work despite the formulaic elements. It's sorely missed.

    This film is a remake. The original, made in 1965, starred Hayley Mills as the (not so young) girl, and had Dean Jones as the FBI agent. This remake has Christina Ricci as the girl, and Doug E. Doug as the FBI agent. Dean Jones has a minor part in this film. I haven't seen the original, but it must have been considerably better than this for anyone to consider remaking it.

    The plot (if you can call it that) runs like this: a woman is kidnapped. A cat comes up to her, where she's sitting bound to a chair. She puts her wristwatch around the cat's neck. The cat's owner finds the wristwatch, and notifies the FBI. They don't take it seriously, and send an incompetent agent to investigate. He sets up a team of agents to tail the cat to find the woman. Hijinks ensue.

    Christina Ricci is reasonable in this film, but the script is hardly a stretch for her.

    Doug E. Doug was excellent in Cool Runnings (now that was a good Disney film!), but he really strains here — maybe he's better as a supporting actor?

    The supporting cast turn in reasonable performances, although Dyan Cannon probably doesn't include this in her resume. Come to think of it, I don't imagine any of the cast will be listing this film.

    The script might have been a success, with the right director, and a huge special effects budget (something like Cats and Dogs). So we can't blame the script alone. And I don't think we can blame the actors. The director has to shoulder a lot of the blame for this film's lack of appeal.

    Not recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. That's close to the theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. I am bemused by the fact that the transfer is reported (on the cover) as a 14x3 transfer.

    This is the second time this film has been released in Region 4. The previous version was provided in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, too, but was 16x9 enhanced, so this one has gone backwards from there.

    The image is a little soft, but it's clear enough. Shadow detail is not good. There's noticeable film grain. There's no low-level noise.

    Colour is bright and cheerful (this is Disney, after all). There aren't any colour-related artefacts.

    There are plenty of film artefacts. Most of them are small, but there is a very obvious sequence of water spots scattered across several frames from 57:20 to 57:24.

    There is plenty of aliasing, on shutters, blinds, car chrome, US flags — anything that could alias, does. There is some moiré, but to a far lesser extent than the aliasing. There are mo MPEG artefacts.

    There are subtitles in English and five other languages, plus English for the Hearing Impaired. I watched these last, and they are fine — well-timed to the dialogue, accurate, and easy to read.

    The disc is single-sided and single-layered. That means no layer change.

    There's an insert shot at 61:04 featuring what is supposed to be Christina Ricci's hand, but the hand is far too old to be hers.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The English soundtrack (there is another in Spanish) is Dolby Digital 5.1, at 448kbps.

    The dialogue is generally easy to comprehend, and there are no visible audio sync problems. A couple of passages of dialogue sounds overly clear, while at other times it sounds somewhat muffled or distorted (42:31, for example).

    The score, from Richard Kendall Gibbs, is adequate to the task. There is an interesting selection of songs in the soundtrack.

    The surrounds are reasonably active, with a variety of directional sound effects that are clear. The subwoofer isn't needed, and gets minimal use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are no extras at all.

Menu

    The menu is simple, and easy to use. It's static and silent.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this disc was released in 2003.

    The R1 is missing:

    The R4 is missing:

    If you must have a copy of this film, then the R4 disc is preferable, because it is in the original aspect ratio.

Summary

    A poor film given an inferior barebones presentation on DVD.

    The video quality is good enough.

    The audio quality is good.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, January 31, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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