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Clifford The Big Red Dog Blu-ray Review

“Clifford The Big Red Dog” bites.

Based on the book series by Norman Bridwell, “Clifford The Big Red Dog” is a live-action movie adaptation. The New York set story concerns a young girl (Emily) who encounters the initially tiny red pup at an animal rescue tent. She immediately falls for him, but is unable to bring him home. Somehow though Clifford stows away in her backpack. Her Uncle Casey (who is looking after Emily while her mom is away on business) says the dog must be returned the following day. The next morning Clifford becomes a 10 foot tall dog overnight which leads to some BIG problems including a corporation called Lyfegro that seeks the dog for their own research.

There’s no denying that Norman Bridwell’s book series is a timeless classic that is beloved by many. It’s unfortunate then that the iconic character is done a complete disservice here in director Walt Becker’s big screen feature. First and foremost, this movie should have never been live-action. Clifford is made for animation. Seeing a giant CGI just doesn’t work whatsoever. The movements, the expressions, the actions, none of them ring true. It’s just unnatural and distracting. 

The script by David Ronn, Blaise Hemingway and Jay Scherick is a mess. This is the type of movie where the big humor moments involve a farting dog and a 2 headed sheep. Granted, this movie is clearly targeted at kids, but even kids deserve something more intelligent than that. The story is a meandering mess that goes off on a number of tangents including trying to make Clifford normal sized, finding a new home for Clifford, Lyfegro pursuing him, the mysterious Bridwell, etc. It’s all just a thinly plotted excuse for Clifford antics in the Big Apple. Sure, the story has its heart in the right place as it delves into themes of family, love, fitting in and community, but that’s not enough.

The cast is stacked with talent like John Cleese, Tony Hale, Rosie Perez, Kenan Thompson, Jack Whitehall, David Alan Grier, Russell Wong, and Darby Camp (best known from “The Christmas Chronicles” movies). Mostly you’ll be left wondering why any of these people are in this movie (especially Cleese). The standout here is Jack Whitehall who has the best arc and the most sincere performance.

Overall Thoughts: Stick with the books.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.00:1 1080p. Grade: A

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. Grade: A

Extras:
* Digital copy
* 3 deleted scenes
* “Tips And Tricks For Taking Care Of A 10 Foot Dog”- The title says it all.
* “The Magic Of Bridwell”- A featurette that sheds light on the history of Norman Bridwell’s books. Great extra.
* “Acting Is For The Dogs”- A behind-the-scenes featurette on the Clifford stand-in puppet.
* “Part Of The Pack”- A featurette on the characters and themes. Interviews and set footage are included.

February 11, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | ,

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