It's been nine years since "Cats & Dogs" was released. Kids who saw it are in middle school, high school or beyond now. For today's 7-and-up crowd, the sequel offers 3-D (but not too much in-your-face 3-D) and better technology for mixing live action and digital effects. This time, the lips of dogs and cats move quite convincingly when they talk to one another. "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore" is a reasonably clever, intermittently amusing, if gimmicky, confection. It uses the supposed war between dogs and cats as the hook, and the idea that when humans aren't looking, both species operate high-tech spy networks to prevent one another from taking over human hearts and minds.

This time, the leader of the doggy spy agency, the beagle Lou (voice of Neil Patrick Harris), sends out a team including grizzled agent Butch (Nick Nolte) and his new recruit Diggs (James Marsden), a former police dog who was fired for ignoring orders. Their mission - to stop the rogue MEOWS agent Kitty Galore (Bette Midler) from broadcasting a satellite signal that will disempower all canines and allow cats to rule the world. A pidgeon also joins in the fight.

The bottom line: Kids will not pick up on all the James Bond references and the dogs-playing-poker spoof, but that will amuse parents. There's an explosion, and an amusement park ride that turns into a menacing satellite dish Kitty Galore will use to disable all dogs. There are chase scenes with cats and dogs flying through the air and falling and seeming to be in jeopardy. There are butt-sniffing and hairball jokes.

Jane Horwitz, Washington Post