I finally checked out an animated movie I’ve been curious about for years! ‘The Plague Dogs’ from 1982 is from the same team who brought us ‘Watership Down’ so if you’re familiar with that you know right off the bat that you’re in for something quite special. Like Watership down The Plague Dogs is hardly a children’s movie, it deals with some pretty damn heavy stuff. We the follow two dogs Snitter (John Hurt) & Rowf (Christopher Benjamin) who’re caged in a lab where they’re continuously abused by scientists for testing purposes.
However one day, one of the “white coats” (as the dog’s call the doctors) accidentally leaves Snitter’s cage door ajar and both him and Rowf escape to the open countryside. In the wild they struggle to find food and shelter and find help from a mischevious fox named the Tod (James Bolam). The three of them go on an epic journey. where the two dogs long to find a new kind family to take them in, but once the Government tell the locals that the two of them are infected with the bubonic plague, it becomes a race for survival as true danger lurks around every corner.
The Plague Dogs goes in some shockingly dark directions, some sequences so surprising I’d paused the movie to double check the rating. Much of it’s admittedly depressing and bleak but done so beautifully with it’s animation and painted backdrops that’s it’s really worth the effort. It’s the morning after and the movie still weighs heavily in my mind so much so that I’d really rank this in the top 10 best animated features I’ve seen. There’s so much heart in it’s characters and by mid point in the movie there’s nothing more I’d wanted than to see these characters get a happy ending. Be warned though, this one doesn’t play out like a Disney movie of the 80’s, no one remains safe here and some of the directions it goes in will literally have you on the edge of your seat. At least it did for me. All that being said I’d wondered who they made this movie for back in the early 1980s, as most kids seeing it might be fully scarred after viewing. I suppose ‘Watership Down’ follows this same formula and has a similar reputation. I’m surprised it took me this long to finally view as it’s clearly in a league of it’s own, one that nearly had me in tears several times, unlike anything I’ve seen in recent years. Continue reading
I may be late to the party with this one, but I got to see Snowpiercer last night in the theater finally! It’s one helluva flick and I’d really expect nothing less from Boon Joon-ho who also directed the amazing monster movie “The Host” years ago. For one I love movies that take place on trains but this one is certainly not your average adventure on the tracks! This wild ride takes place years after a chemical is released into the atmosphere to solve climate change problems on the Earth, instead it turns the planet into a frigid ball of ice and one man builds his ultimate dream, a fast moving train to house the existing survivors of the ice age. The only problem is that the rich survivors live a lavish life far at the front and the poor are jam packed like sardines to live in filth in the back tail end cars, suffering from brutality and starvation from their higher ups. This situation could only last for so long before a revolt is planned by the poor box car rebels who are lead by none other than Chris “Captain America” Evans, who’s nearly unrecognizable in the role.
Evans finally really gets a chance to prove he’s far more than a Marvel superhero delivering an excellent performance filled with real emotion. I also have to mention his role in this movie is far more ass kicking than anything you’re likely to get from a Disney Marvel movie. It really made me see him in a whole new light and judging from the film’s nearly flawless critical reception it was clearly a great move for him. Cudos to Evans for taking the role.
We’ve got an incredible adventure here, that in a way really has something to say about the divide today between the rich and the poor, all taking place on huge, high speed train that travels continuously across the globe with no plans of ever stopping in fear of the icy otherworld. It’s a crazy idea as the people aboard the Snowpiercer refer to the train as “the world”. What’s most interesting is seeing Evans and his crew fight their way through each car and with each the decor changing and changing dramatically. It’s some of the most stunning visuals I’ve seen in recent times and gives the perfect backdrop to this breath taking tale.
I’ve got to mention the role of Song Kang-ho who’s a personal fave of mine from many other flicks. He plays the ass kicking, drug addict who almost steals the show himself and Tilda Swinton’s villainous role is one that you’re not likely to forget anytime soon either. This movie will also make you look at “protein bars” and forst bite in a whole new light. Bottom line here is you need to go check this out asap, it’s one of the best movies of the year and I hope it busts the door wide open for Boon Joon-ho here in the USA, we need more movies with amazing original ideas like this on the big screen hitting the major theaters, it’s a shame this one got such a small limited release…