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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Plague Dogs [DVD]
Format: DVD|Change
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on 17 May 2015
Great DVD! This edition contains both the theatrical and director's cut of the film, and a theatrical trailer. Some special feature fanatics might see this as not acceptable, but for a film like Plague Dogs, I think it is completely necessary. The only thing that could top this is if the Criterion Collection decides to give Plague Dogs a proper release, unlike the earlier DVD release in the United States, which has been out of print for a while. Until a new, potentially better release comes out, this is the edition to grab. Plus it's not too pricey.
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on 8 April 2017
Brilliant film id recommend to anyone looking for good film this is one of them films.
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This, as many have stated, is a film for the older audience. Many recall it for it's cruel scenes of animal testing, especially as this is set before the Animal Scientific Procedures Act of 1986, but I feel it handles those themes very well. It doesn't feel like the film is trying to preach or tell you off about it, rather it serves as the spring-board for the characters and their adventure where they find that freedom also has its hardships, especially if you're a domesticated animal who just isn't cut out for living wildly on the moors.

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.
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on 22 October 2008
Anyone who has seen Richard Adams/Martin Rosen's adaptation of Watership Down will know what to expect from The Plague Dogs. You've got superb animation - even more polished and fluid in this case - great voice acting, and at the same time, an unrelenting and at times brutal story, which in The Plague Dogs focuses on the cruelty of mankind, as opposed to nature in Watership Down. This is not to say that it's sentimental: like Watership Down, The Plague Dogs presents its story objectively and lets the viewer make up their own mind.

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".
While Snitter is desperate to find them a "master" to look after them, as he used to have, Rowf is bitter towards humans, but at the same time considers that the "whitecoats" are their only masters and perhaps they were right to be tested on in the first place.

The human characters are barely glimpsed, instead portrayed in back-and-forth voice-overs between the scientists and the locals as they try to track the animals down. The fact that Rowf and Snitter are falsely suspected of carrying the plague - a disease secretly being researched at the centre - gives the film its name.

There are several unpleasant sequences in The Plague Dogs, although not always "active" - there is of course the animal testing centre, and a couple of incidences when dogs and humans cross paths.

However, the animation is superb. Like the animated version of Lord of the Rings, no character is ever static on screen, even when they are not the subject of the shot, and there are some wonderful views over the Lake District.

If you are looking for an animated film with a difference I would highly recommend this. But I don't think this is suitable for young children; I would suggest adults watch first before placing their youngsters in front of it, especially since this is the uncut version.
A cult film with an interesting story and intriguing characters, The Plague Dogs in definitely a classic, but it's by no means a children's film.
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on 13 February 2006
Plague Dogs is an animated film. But not every animated film is intended for children. This film pushes its PG rating to the max, and has actually had a scene cut due to it being too horrifying, such as a man shown to be eaten by the dogs. The full film is only available on DVD in Australia I believe.
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.
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on 28 November 2009
After "Watership Down", writer-director Martin Rosen and Nepenthe Productions turned their attention to Richard Adams's "The Plague Dogs".

The film has many strengths: wonderful voice-over work, beautiful animation of wild and wintry moorlands, and a compelling story of two tragic dogs who escape from an animal laboratory to find themselves hunted down by an embarassed government. John Hurt gives a wonderful performance as Snitter - the unwilling victim of a brain operation who constantly searches for the "masters", or good humans, who are so different from the "white-coats" who torment them.

Is it as good as "Watership Down"? Well, no. The film suffers from bad editing - scenes are too short and appear disjointed. The print itself is not as good as it could be, and the picture quality is poor in places. The film also lacks the wonderful musical score of "Watership Down" and in some places it really is begging for it. Alan Price does a haunting theme song, but this is underused throughout. I would also have liked to see more of the humans, rather than just hear them talking, as they are so integral to the plot.

So in all, this is a commendable effort to film a controversial and serious story. The characters are wonderful and the ending is quite moving. But it could have been (and still could be with a few remixes) much better.

Oh, and is it for children? Well, "Watership Down" wasn't exactly a typical children's story, with its fascist rabbits and genocidal humans. I recommend you see it for yourselves and then decide.

Remake, anyone?
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on 19 June 2017
I think I really fell in love with this movie, and I'll watch it a few times. The screenwriter of this film is really great. I watched this movie with my father. The filming was excellent. The performance of all the actors is very realistic. The ending was good and I felt the next one.
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on 31 December 2006
After the popular WATERSHIP DOWN (1978), director co-scripter Martin Rosen waited 4 years until issuing his next project, THE PLAGUE DOGS, an adaption of the considerably darker novel by the same author. This in turn had to wait 2 years before it was finally released. At close to 100 minutes, it is the longest animated feature film to have appeared in the UK so far - and arguably, along with ANIMAL FARM (1954) and Wallace & Gromit, the most significant. It continued the faithful representation of Richard Adams' unsentimental anthropomorphism on screen to sometime disturbing effect, again featuring the distinctive voice talent of John Hurt, together with contributions from the like of James Bolam, Nigel Hawthorne, Bernard Hepton, Christopher Benjamin, etc.

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.
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on 23 April 2003
Plague Dogs is a depressing, powerful tale of Snitter and Rowf, two dogs who escape from a research lab after enduring horrific experiments. As a person who strongly disagrees with any form of animal testing, this film struck a chord with me. It's not a children's film and some scenes are pretty disturbing. It allows the viewer to see the world through the eyes of a laboratory animal and you share the dogs' suffering. Think of the real life Snitters and Rowfs out there and the film is even more powerful.
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on 21 May 2007
Of course, I've seen the Extended Version, and for a purist it's the only version to have. Missing from the US cut (this version) are the captions which keep a tally of how many days it is since the dogs escaped and about twenty minutes of footage which, while thoroughly enjoyable, isn't ESSENTIAL to the story (except maybe the moment when a body is discovered that was clearly eaten by the dogs).

The point I'm trying to make is that, even in its truncated form, this is an outstanding film which will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and fill you with a leaden, depressed feeling and make you question the structure of modern human society. This might not sound like an endorsement, but this IS a very sad film. Please buy it and watch it, though, as it's also one of the finest films ever made, not least because Martin Rosen pursued the truth of the story at the expense of popularist devices, a move which amounted to career suicide for him, as he rarely directed again. This was brave in the extreme, and gives it an integrity which shines through every disturbing minute.
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