Monday, April 6, 2015

Post-Holidays Flix: The Plague Dogs

While I didn't do Watership Down on Easter, I am going to do the follow-up on Monday.  That make up for it?  The Director's follow-up to the 1979 Animated Classic is another Book Adaptation.  It is another Book about Animals that isn't exactly light-hearted.  The Film is 1982's The Plague Dogs.  It tells the tale of two Dogs that escape from a Test Facility and try to make it to freedom.  Life in the wild isn't easy though, especially when the most dangerous predator- man- is on your trail too!  Like the more famous Film, this is a bit dark, very realistic and not for young kids.  The realistic, hand-painted look works really well in its favor.  On the flip-side, it is so effective in its message that it may be too much for some.  In other words, it is just like Watership Down.  Is it as good though?  To find out, read on...
These two Dogs are being tested on by some pretty bad Scientists.  One of them had a piece of its brain removed!  What product is that testing for?
Speaking of that dog, he has a sad back-story involving his Master saving him from a truck...and dying...and the dog being locked up because of it.  Not for Kids!
They narrowly escape and now must adapt to life on the outside. a bit of an adjustment.
They befriend a Fox, who helps them survive by feeding on the local wildlife.  They soon get noticed.
In their defense, would you want to go back to this place?  Especially after they claim to have injected you with a Plague?!?
They manage to survive, but things don't always go their way.  In fact, they usually don't!
For example, this Hunter is accidentally killed by the smaller dog (while being dumb!) and the pressure is increased to catch and/or kill them.
As the Military moves in, they swim for a nearby Island and...the Film ends.  Decide for yourself, I guess.  The End.
This one got me and I'm not even a dog person.  I don't hate them- I just like cats better.  They make you earn it, you know?  All of the reasons that Watership Down is good are the same reasons that this is.  It isn't the same Movie, but it hits the same beats.  The Animals are cute, except for when they end up being terrifying.  The Film has an obvious message- Animal Testing is Bad- and certainly makes a good case for it.  It literally begins with a dog being nearly drowned as part of a test.  No introduction for you!  The Film does a good job of almost never showing a human's face.  They show a few, but it is done sparingly.  This is the dogs' tale, not ours!  They make great protagonists and you really feel for them.  Hell, I even started to care about the fox!  This is a very nice and pretty movie about a not so nice and not so pretty subject matter.  If you love Watership, you must see this.  If that one was too much for you, I have a more tentative recommendation for this one.  If nothing else, it has Picard in it!
Up next, the Sasquatch strikes!  Naturally, it strikes a bunch of nobodies in the Woods.  Stay tuned...


  1. Alec,

    I came for the Sasquatch movie review, but I stayed for The Plague Dogs. How did I miss this? You just made me order the book. After I read it I will watch the movie. I like that Fox; if he helped dogs he's OK by me. Humans can really be pieces of crap to animals. Thank you for this review. I hope lots of people see it, watch the thing and are kinder to animals because of it.

    Why can't I ever be in a movie this cool? Geesh.


    Bill Oberst Jr.

    1. I knew that if I reviewed 20,000 Films or so that I'd lead someone to a good one. Leading them to a good book too- that's just a bonus.

      I hope you enjoy them both, Bill.