Thoughtful reviews, the Boulder film scene

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— Colm Meaney, Con Air

MRQE Top Critic

Winsor McCay -- The Master Edition

A new DVD offers an opportunity to see films by a master of animation —Andrea Birgers (DVD review...)

Gertie the Dinosaur, born of Winsor McCay

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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single kitten at play, must be in want of having its picture taken. And apparently if you’ve got a litter of them, you can make an entire DVD. You could say that such a DVD would be like catnip to kitten-lovers everywhere and nobody is a bigger sucker for a kitten than me. I mean, here I am reviewing a DVD that is nothing but KITTENS!

The folks at Bright Red Rocket had a solid idea. Sadly this is not the film I had hoped it would be. In fact it’s not a film at all. Rather it’s more along the lines of some of Warhol’s more tedious experiments such as cameras trained on buildings or slumbering people. Kittens! is completely without content. Apart from a lot of kitten-wrestling and running around (which is darned cute), there is nothing there.

Kitty porn comes to DVD
Kitty porn comes to DVD

In fact Kittens!is so devoid of content that I thought the whole thing might be an art-prank... or something that was put together on a rainy Saturday in-between gigs by a bored filmmaker. The other product coming from Bright Red Rocket (as seen in their attached trailers and on their web site) looks like interesting stuff, stuff I wished I was watching instead of Kittens!

Kittens!is a failed effort, and the proof is in the two (out of 10 or so) episodes where it actually does work. In one we see the litter exploring a doll house, and in the other they are simply sleeping (there’s that Warhol thing again). But at least there’s something going on in the dollhouse, even if it is random motion, and the nice framing and pacing of the sleeping portraits really lives up to the cuteness potential of an all-kitten, all-the-time DVD. Kittens!is not quite 50 minutes long, but it seems longer.

At the same time, I have to credit BRR for not anthropomorphizing the stars of Kittens!by doing clever voiceovers, or putting hats on them and pretending they’re doing something other than just being kittens. It is just kittens pure and simple. It’s almost like BRR might have done the project with an eye to pitching the clips to PBS as bumpers between Sesame Street segments (and if you folks at BRR hadn’t thought of that, maybe it’s something you should try).

If there is an audience for Kittens!, it’s probably toddlers. And maybe your cat. One of my kitties stopped by to watch while I was screening the DVD. It held her interest for a couple minutes before she went to sleep. I’m not sure what that says about Kittens!

Kittens!is not helped by the fact that these are some of the ugliest kittens I’ve ever seen. A couple of them don’t even have tails (sorry Manx fans). It reminds me of the Seinfeld’s “Ugly Baby” episode... but then I’m an American Shorthair Tabby man myself.

And I didn’t connect with the musical accompaniment. The fault is mine and you might think that it’s the best kitten music ever. But it’s pretty much the same score throughout. It might have worked better if the other clips had something different... even some simple piano noodling or Satie-like riffs would have done.

Kittens!will go up on the shelf with my other DVDs if for no other reason than for me to enjoy the WTF moment when a visitor reads the titles. But it’s unlikely I’ll watch it again and that’s sad because ... well come on, they’re KITTENS!

DVD Extras

Some trailers for other Bright Red Rocket product... which looked interesting. Filmstrips and astronomy.

Picture and Sound

Well, the footage is mostly in focus and not too loud.

How to Use This DVD

The DVD I screened had the bad habit of going back to the main menu instead of going through the episodes in ‘play all’ mode. Or maybe it’s supposed to do that to keep you awake.