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Plague Dogs [DVD]
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Two dogs, Snitter and Rowf, escape from a research institute and go on the run. Both animals have been purposely infected with a deadly virus, and as such, pose a dangerous threat to the human population. As the authorities give chase, the two dogs do their best to find their original owner and dream of a place where they will no longer be harmed by the cruelty of mankind.
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Before I explain the story, I'll make one thing absolutely clear - this film is not for the faint-hearted. Children, animal-lovers and dog-owners alike will probably feel uncomfortable watching this film, for several reasons. And those who have read the book will find the story a couple of shades darker.
However, this is an excellent film and worth watching if you don't flinch from the storyline too much.
The Plague Dogs begins in an animal testing centre in the Lake District. The two protagonists, Rowf, a labrador-cross, and Snitter, a jack russell (voiced by John Hurt), are subjected to experiments out of human curiosity: Rowf is submerged in a tank for as long as he can remain conscious, in order to test canine lung capacity, and Snitter has had brain surgery to determine where the subjective and objective perception of the canine brain begins and ends.
One night, they both escape into the mountains.
This is purely about the animals - we follow Rowf and Snitter on their journey, where they take to attacking sheep to find food, and find friendship in "The Tod", a wily fox, all the while trying to escape from the "whitecoats".Read more ›
From the same creators of Watership Down, this is a dark, thought-provoking story of two dogs named Rowf (a labrador) and Snitter (a fox terrier) who are being used in invasive and inhumane animal testing research. The two dogs escape the laboratory, but their problems have only begun. They try to survive in the wild with a help of the "tod" (fox), but find themselves being hunted down by man after killing a sheep for food. The dogs are also said to be carrying to be carrying the plague.
The film could be found to be too preachy and biased about the animal testing debate as it only shows horrific and appalling abuse of the animals, but the original book goes into far more detail about the evils of it, as the film was intended to be more of an adventure story.
Overall, this is not a film for the kids. The PG rating appears harmless, but there is some truly shocking content here that's enough to upset even the hardest of adults. It is a very good film, not as great as Watership Down I found, but still good. Just don't pop it into your child's video player before bedtime.
In fact, I found that most things, such as Snitter's hallucinations and the building hunt for the dogs and their very likely end, were done in quite a subtle way and not shoved in your face. With perhaps the exception of that rather infamous shooting scene, but even that's a case of if you blink you've missed a good amount of it.
The animation is very good, the dogs are very well drawn, the characters are done very well and it's an ending which will very likely stick with you rather miserably for a little while. Have something on stand-by to cheer you up right afterwards. Personally I'd probably stop just short of calling it a great movie, but it's certainly a good one and I would recommend a watch of it because this is one of those films which proves that animation isn't just for kids, that it can be grown-up and mature as well.
Considerably cut, one imagines against the director's wishes, for the UK and elsewhere, presumably to make it more acceptable for the junior market, PD is apparently only available at home in the truncated version - either on its own or, bizarrely, doubled with an inferior animated version of Flash Gordon.
Those who go to the trouble of seeking out the extended cut (issued for instance in Australia, coupled with the shorter cut for fascinating comparison) will be well rewarded. The extra 17 minutes or so unsuprisingly bring with them a more complex, adult, and satisfying film, restoring nuances here and there, as well as removing the opening song, confirming PD as a major achievement - and one still scandalously treated in its country of origin. The condition of the extended version is not pristine, having been retrieved from the director's sole surviving print, but is perfectly acceptable. Rosen never did anything much of note again, only being credited with one more title on IMDb, STACKING (1987), a nondescript live action feature.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awesome and harrowing film. The product was in original packging and spotless, arrived promptly too!Published 9 months ago by SpicyPorkPuller
Superb but sadly little known British animation. An eloquent and moving antivivisection film, but not for the children.Published 13 months ago by J_ Russell
Brilliant production of a great book. Richard Adams was a memorable and fascinating author.
This was up to the same standard as the film version of Watership Down. Read more