I’ve never been a huge fan of the ‘live action’ pet movies. Garfield, G force, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, all movies that never made it into my Netflix cue. It’s just not my thing.
But times, they are a changing, and I did see Marmaduke this weekend. This change occurred for two reasons:
1. I have a 5 year old and a 4 year old who are pretty much right in the target demographic.
2. We saw the dog who played Marmaduke at the Loews Surf Dog competition a few weeks ago and had to check out his film debut.
It got something like an 11/100 at Rotten Tomatoes, which certainly didn’t bode well for my viewing experience. That being said, I don’t think the filmmakers set out to make an Academy Award winning sweeping epic tale that would appeal to the average movie critic. What do movie critics know anyway? The guy at the Chicago Tribune called the little Aussie standing next to Marmaduke a Queensland heeler.
It’s a cutesy family film with some cute pups and and an easy tie-in to fast food distribution, and as long as that’s all you are expecting, sure, it was fine.
And of course, they have the ability to go online and, um, make your dog talk. I did it with Brody. Why not.
Of course there were things that made me crazy about the movie, but I’d be shocked if there weren’t. That picture above showing Marmaduke and his friends? They were the gang known as the ‘mutts’. I mean, I didn’t use a Wisdom Panel on them or anything, but that looks to me like a Great Dane, an Australian Shepherd, a Dachshund, and a Chinese crested. To add insult to injury, the leader of the ‘pedigrees’ gang is a dog I can’t identify. A Rottie/Dobie something? Anyone know? Not that it matters all that much, but it would have been nice to have some actual mutts in the film if you’re going to make a statement about how they are just as great as pedigrees (which they are.)
Skipping over some of the other sillier things that drove me nuts, I will just touch down briefly on the scene where the owner fed Marmaduke and the cat a spiked meatball before they got on the plane so they’d pass out. It was good for a joke about hallucinating cats, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that sedating pets before flight is a dangerous thing. (Scene 2, fade in: Forlorn family standing at Long Beach airport, huddled in the cargo area around their cat lying dead in the carrier. Marmaduke makes stupid joke to make everyone smile. End scene. Not the same, is it?)
I mentioned this on Facebook and several people asked me why I took issue with the sedation thing, so I thought I’d make this a Teachable Moment and pass that on. To borrow from the AVMA’s Traveling with Your Pet FAQ:
It is recommended that you DO NOT give tranquilizers to your pet when traveling by air because it can increase the risk of heart and respiratory problems. Short-nosed dogs and cats sometimes have even more difficulty with travel.
Airlines may require a signed statement that your pet has not been tranquilized prior to flying.
According to Dr. Patricia Olsen with the American Humane Association, “An animal’s natural ability to balance and maintain equilibrium is altered under sedation and when the kennel is moved, a sedated animal may not be able to brace and prevent injury.”
Thanks for letting me get that out of my system. I feel better now.
Our local paper ran a cute article today going into the making of the movie a little more in-depth. Tidbits? Getting the dogs to look at the humans involved “meat glasses”- maybe I should get some of those for work- and getting kisses takes no more than smearing your face with chicken baby food.
Anyone else see this movie? Did you see Surf Dog Ricochet? I hear she’s a sliver in the background in the surfing scene (which was, of course, my favorite part.)