Thursday, July 30, 2009

"The Plague Dogs"(1982)d/Martin Rosen

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I've deprived the sexy young grogwenches at my local watering hole the extreme pleasure of seeing my ruggedly good-looking face for one night(at least...)to bring you another installment of B.W. goes to the movies,and as it's that time of week,we'll focus our lens on another cartoon that you probably wouldn't want your kiddies to viddy.'Course I couldn't focus my glassies on much of anything after this week's bonfire of irresponsibility,which included three bars,a case of Perroni,cod on the grill at Smith-tips' estate,and passing out sideways on the bed while listening to the local constabulary,lights a' flashing,grilling a suspect who wasn't me for a change.How sweet it is!
This week's animated feature is another grim 'toon from the team responsible for Watership Down(1978),only this one is even grimmer still!The misleading poster promises adventure,but I must have missed it in between all the death,blood,and gloomy set pieces throughout.'Course I'm just the target audience the film's makers were looking for,as I enjoy a real bummer as much as anybody.If frothing war-crazed bunnies didn't grab you,director Martin Rosen and writer Richard Adams focus on two escaped test animals from a British laboratory where scientists secretly eff with bubonic plague behind closed doors!Sound like your kind of "buddy picture" too?John Hurt is on board to lend his vocal talents,as well as Patrick Stewart(as a Major near the end,if you listen carefully enough)and 70's Brit horror staple Judy Geeson as a chatty Pekingese.If Umberto Lenzi made cartoons in his heyday they'd probably look a lot like this.
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They don't come when you call, they don't chase squirrels at all...
Rowf,a lab mix, is one of many dogs they experiment on at the Lake District animal research facility.Every day they throw him in a big tank of water,and every day he drowns real good.His friend Snitter,a fox terrier who's undergone experimental brain surgery,convinces him to break the fuck out like the measles before they end up on the business end of a shovel headed for the incinerator.After their daring escape amidst mobs of screaming monkeys and schitzy rats,the taste of freedom is bittersweet when they must regress to primal survival instincts in the dismal British countryside.Snitter has frequent black and white flashbacks to happier days at his master's side before he got pinballed in front of a moving car.Once the facility realizes the dogs have escaped,they attempt a cover up of the secret tests they've been carrying out using the bubonic plague virus,and set hunters upon the fugitive animals at the same time.
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Blowing your own face off with a rifle,a staple nowadays in animated features.
While feasting on the local sheepherders' stock,they befriend a fox who teaches them how to get in touch with their wild roots in exchange for shared meals,but when the sheep start dropping with regularity,the authorities take notice.Off on his own,Snitter is about to befriend a hunter when his paw hits the trigger of the man's gun,effectively blowing the poor bloke's face off(!)and intensifying the pair's status as outlaws.The research center sends out their own hunter,hoping to end the negative publicity once and for all,but their secret testing involving bubonic plague leaks out,and the hunter falls off a cliff,ending up as a meal(!!) for the escaped mutts and their foxy friend.The government shuts down the facility,sending soldiers and attack dogs to sweep the countryside for the pair of pooches,and when the fox risks himself to throw the dogs off their trail,he is killed.The dogs make it to the shore,but find choppers and soldiers at every juncture, and when Snitter wades out into the ocean believing he can see an island ahead,Rowf follows soon afterwards with a flurry of bullets hitting the surf behind him.Both dogs,near exhaustion,paddle with the last of their strength against the tide,the hardships of freedom more satisfying than either one could have imagined.
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Rowf and Snitter weren't best friends to this poor son of a bitch.
Rosen's screen adaption of Adams' book leaves out a lot of human interaction,choosing instead to cover the material through voiceover narration juxtaposed over the animals arduous journey.He also nixes the tome's happy ending where both dogs reach Snitter's original master,as in the film,he is killed by a car in the street,and the dogs' survival is unlikely on the screen,but makes for a much more powerful movie,in my opinion.As it stands,the director wasn't speaking out against vivisection, but was one of the first to bring the suffering of laboratory animals to light none-the-less.As for my thoughts on the subject,I feel any unneccesary pain and suffering to these creatures should be left out altogether,unless there are very definite medical advances to be gained for humanity by doing so.As a side note,one of my crazier ex-girlfriend's online nicknames was Vivesection(sp),adding to the foul taste in my mouth that I get whenever I say the word.Plague Dogs is another stellar film to add to your collection,an uncut region two disc with the disturbing gore intact plus extras is floating around,so get your hands on it.It comes highly recommended,with the highest scale rating possible:
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The doggie-equivalent to the ending of Thelma and Louise.
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6 comments:

Tommy Salami said...

This one makes Watership Down look like a friggin Disney movie!
Remember the dog voiced by John Hurt goes through the whole story with an exposed skull and sees things because he was experimented on. The only bleaker animated film is Grave of the Fireflies, about kids surviving the Hiroshima bomb.

beedubelhue said...

I'd imagine dogs'd have an easier time in a kennel at Michael Vick's place than our hairy heroes did in this one.Since bleak isn't a word in the Disney vocab,it simply must not exist!I'd take either one of these cartoons over any of the post-Walt fodder the folks at big D cheez-whiz onto the public paper plate and expect us to rub our collective bellies over!

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viagra online said...

nice blog, when I was a kid I remember watching Watership Down, was a cartoon and now I look incredible yearning to see this new production The Plague Dogs"(1982)d/Martin Rosen

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dude, I got to say that movie really caught my attention. It seems like a very strange one, but those are my right type! I hope I can see it online. thanx dude

 
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