There will always be family films that take advantage of the year-end holiday moments , Clifford the Big Red Dog is one of them. The writing team doesn’t seem to offer much new and uses the family film formula that we often encounter. This is like a double-edged sword.
Of course, time watching cinema with family doesn’t always have to be spent with superhero stories defeating their enemies with violence, right? Therefore, new family films will always be needed as a balance, especially during this holiday. Not to mention we have to count the world of cinema which is still slowly recovering from the ongoing pandemic.
In the midst of massive superhero films that reach almost all ages, viewing options at the cinema must always be there. Not only for adults, but also for children must always be available. In this respect, Clifford the Big Red Dog offers the new option.
We have indeed seen several animated family films that have been released in the last few months. However, the fate of live-action family films like Clifford is still not widely released during this pandemic. Paramount’s steps to release this film should also be appreciated.
Clifford the Big Red Dog is adapted from the children’s book series of the same name written by Norman Bridwell. In writing this scenario, Jay Scherick, David Ronn, Blaise Hemingway, Justin Malen, and Ellen Rapoport did not provide much innovation. The story of this film is like other family films, which uses the same formula that focuses on the film’s protagonist who fights injustice against him.
This idea is also used as an anomaly to raise Clifford, the magical red dog kept by Emily (Darby Camp). The carrying of this value has been emphasized several times and has a pretty sweet resolution.
Camp did well in playing Emily. He appears straightforward as the main character and very well in his speech in the last scene. Likewise Izaac Wang whose appearance is always a scene stealer as Owen. However, the character formation is too stereotypical, namely an intelligent Asian-American child whose intelligence is used to help the main character.
Meanwhile, there are also many stereotypical formulas that are present in this film, from characterization to story plots. Perhaps, Clifford the Big Red Dog really wanted to be present as an ordinary film, as long as it was enough to entertain the family on a weekend together at the cinema.
There are several attempts from the figure of Casey (Jack Whitehall) who often slips in slightly complex jokes that may only be accepted by adults. However, most of these attempts have failed. Finally, this film will be much more effective if watched with children.
Apart from that, one of the most lacking elements of this film is the antagonist, which again, is too stereotypical. The presence of Lyfegro, led by Tieran (Tony Hale) somewhat spoils the time of the film that should be used to strengthen the connection between Emily and Clifford. The part when Clifford grew up surrounded by people recording it on their cell phones is relevant and enjoyable.
Another element might be Clifford’s poor visual effect as a small dog. The figure of this red dog when he grew up was cute and needed visual effects, but when he was small, his body proportions were a bit unlike that of a puppy. This is somewhat disturbing construction when Emily sees him as the cutest puppy she has ever seen.
Overall, there’s nothing new that Clifford the Big Red Dog has to offer . This film is effective if enjoyed without expectations and with children to provide educational values. The formula is easy to enjoy because we often find it in other family films, but it can be boring because it doesn’t offer much innovation.
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