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
So it seems that DC is really giving the whole R-Rated comic book cartoon thing a shot these days and after seeing how The Killing Joke turned out I’m really pretty skeptical. The Killing Joke movie should have been amazing, it really didn’t need to be a full feature film either. It could have worked as 45 minute short flick. It really tried way to hard to flesh out Barbara Gordon with a flimsy story that had little to do with the plot of the comic and an unnecessary “racy” sex scene with Batman (to give it that edge it thought it needed for some reason). Pair that with some pretty flat animation and what you’ve got is a totally forgettable cartoon adaptation to steer clear of.
Well now we’ve got another attempt from DC to get gritty with the animated Justice League Dark. Normally I’d be super pumped on the idea but after that Killing Joke cartoon I’m wondering if the R-rated cartoon is something DC really is really excelling at? There’ve been some attempts from Marvel to make more adult friendly adaptations over the years that were honestly pretty forgettable as well, so I’m not just faulting DC.
An animated Justice League Dark film should by all means be something to be truly excited about. I think the people behind these animated features should be putting some serious time behind the artwork and the detail of it all. They should be producing animation with quality and perhaps even adding more frames for a much more impressive outcome. It seems though the animation isn’t much better than a standard Saturday morning cartoon. The quality should shine in 2016, these animated comic movies should be easily on par with the classics. Think of Akira, Fire & Ice or The Secret of Nimh, these were animated movies that were unforgettable. There’s no reason why Marvel or DC can’t be creating true animated superhero classics. From this new trailer I’d say it looks like we might be in for another mediocre slice of R-rated animation. What do you think?
Any attempt I can get, I love to relive the cartoons and movies of my childhood. In this particular case, it occurred to me…what about that movie Watership Down? I am sure many of the loyal readers are familiar but are most likely in the same position I found myself…I remember that movie, I remember rabbits fighting…lots of blood, it being very confusing…and very dark. Well, I sat down the other night and watched the classic again and I highly recommend that all the readers, if you have not seen this recently, take the time…it is a classic story for a reason.