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.)
The leader of the pedigree gang is a Beauceron.
Dr. V says
A ha! I knew he had to be something I’ve never heard of. Thank you.
I had a friend who used to give their Daschund Benadryl in a tiny dose if they were travelling. Couldnt do that to my pups. I often thought it wasnt a good thing to give a dog , human medication. Felt squeemish even if the vet would reccommend it. Although I have never found one 🙂
I am sure there might be some similiar meds that pups can have , like one time the vet gave my dog Flagyl , along with a soft diet for a short time as part of a treatment when she had contracted Giardia.Didnt seem to hurt her. ??
Good job on the review Dr V.
Actually, many, many drugs that are “human” drugs are not only safe for dogs, but appropriate. Antibiotics like cefalexin & amoxicillin, ABX eye ointment, benedryl, metronidazole, prednisone, robaxin (methocarbamol)…there are TONS.
My vet recommended Benadryl many times for my Rotties when they were suffering from Ohio Valley allergies.
Hmm, I’ll share a story about traveling with pets. A few years ago we moved across the country, with a total of some 22+ hours in the car (stretched out over four days)—and with our two cats, each in a carrier. We had a thorough vet consult before the trip, including all vax and microchips (in case they got lost at a rest stop or something). I don’t remember why, but we didn’t use any sedation for the trip. Probably for the reasons you mentioned—it’s dangerous. Those cats meowed loudly and piteously the entire time they were in the moving car, all 22+ hours. Amazing they didn’t lose their voices. The annoyance to use was surely nothing compared to the anxiety they were feeling, poor things. But, they survived the trip… and from what I hear, if they’d been sedated, they might not have. Still, I wish there were a less traumatic way to travel with them (flying them was not an option).
My curiosity has been spiked. What about things like Rescue Remedy? Is that considered under the umbrella of sedation as well?
I’m glad Marmaduke wasn’t a complete train wreck. Not that I’m going to be watching it myself 🙂 I just like it when dog-centric movies aren’t completely horrible.
Lisa W says
Glad it wasn’t as bad as you thought. Don’t think I’ll be watching though, as I have no human kids and thus miss the whole demographic thing. Give me “Up” any day!
Surf dog Ricochet says
The best part about Ricochet being an “extra” in the movie was for me as a trainer, getting to observe the trainers working with the animals on set. It took hours, and many takes for a simple glance capture!
Love that you pointed out the sedation scene.
Thanks for the review. I had a dog my husband named Marmaduke because he thought she looked like the comic strip Great Dane. I wasn’t sure if it was a boy name or a girl name, but it fit her. She’d been brought back to the shelter twice, so in spite of her behavior challenges, which were many, she found her forever home with us. She was the type of dog who attracted nicknames such as Duke, Dukey and Duke-a-roo (for her leaping ability). Best we could figure, she was a Great Dane-Mastiff mix and her mantra was “count me in!” She died seven years later of cancer, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and smile, even though it’s been 16 years. I’m sure she’ll arrange for a screening in doggie heaven!
Laurel, celebrating the love of dogs at http://laurelhuntbooks.com
Hey Dr. V, one of my blogs (io9) did a review on marmaduke and what they think it’s supposed to be about.
Worth a read, I chuckled.