The titular dog in Clifford the Big Red Dog looks cute, I’ll give you that. The digital effects, at times, seem pretty impressive. But I don’t want to see a giant dog endangering the lives of everyone around him—or attempting to eat someone else’s pet.
Paramount Pictures has released the first trailer for Clifford the Big Red Dog, a movie that seems designed for kids who liked The Secret Life of Pets, with a few Alvin and the Chipmunks shenanigans thrown in there for good measure. The movie feels like it was written by a computer algorithm trying to gauge what “kids these days (circa 2010)” would be into. At least that’s the impression I garnered from the trailer. Down-on-her-luck “not like other girls” girl with magic tears who’s also an orphan? Check. Cute digitally created animal who inspires winces and “awws” in equal measure? Check-check. Hapless paternal figure we can toss into walls without repercussions? That’s a check-a-roonie right there. Oh, and don’t forget the weird side-plot about a villainous genetics lab because all these movies need one of those. What the algorithm didn’t anticipate, though, was watching a giant dog try to eat another dog. What the heck, Clifford? I know you’re a puppy but I also like to think you’re not a murdering one.
It’s no surprise the movie trailer feels like it was engineered in the same lab that, presumably, is going to attempt to dognap Clifford at some point. A live-action and CGI hybrid adaptation of Clifford the Big Red Dog has been in the works since 2012, starting as a Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment project before switching hands (and filmmakers) a few times, landing at Paramount Pictures in 2016 with another new director and a rewritten script. Given it’s been almost a decade in the works, it’s no surprise it feels like a relic of kids movies past. But I’m a parent now, and children love watching silly stuff like this so I’m going to have to get used to it at some point. If I have to suffer through it, so do all of you.
Clifford the Big Red Dog arrives in theaters on September 17.
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