Clifford the Big Red Dog

#Review: Clifford the Big Red Dog

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Out tomorrow all across Ireland and starring Darby Camp, Jack Whitehall and Izaac Wang, Clifford the Big Red Dog is the live-action debut of everyone’s favourite crimson canine.

Whenever a child meets a young pup there is magic and in Clifford the Big Red Dog the magic is real as we and Emily (Camp) learn that her love makes her newly adopted pet pooch into a baby Kaiju. With her layabout uncle Casey (Whitehall) and new bestie Owen (Wang) in tow, Emily and Clifford are going to go on quite the adventure.

Bigger than your average pooch

Clifford the Big Red Dog is a lot of giddy fun. It’s a film right out of the early 90s, it’s the CGI laden spiritual successor of films like Beethoven and 101 Dalmations. It has heart in all the right places. This is due in large part to the gorgeous design of Clifford (who doesn’t love a giant puppy?) as well as the rapport he has with Emily. Darby Camp is energetic, sweet and wears her heart on her sleeve and it makes her all the more endearing. She brings the same charming energy she had from The Christmas Chronicles films.

She and Clifford are accompanied by uncle Casey who is played by Jack Whitehall who is giving his best slacker American accent. He’s fun but he does have the unenvious job of being the naysayer to the adventure for the majority of the film. The best character in the film (apart from Clifford of course) is Owen. Izaac Wang brings an awkward charm to the role and his comedic timing is on point. Maybe it’s the old nerd in me but he’s a relatable character and was an excellent addition to the group.

As big as your heart

A lot of what makes Clifford the Big Red Dog so engaging is how Clifford himself interacts with the world around him. The animation team in my opinion did a great job with him. He’s incredibly emotive and if it’s possible he has a great rapport with those around him in particular the younger members of the cast. I will say though one of the best scenes he has is with uncle Casey, it’s a combination of physical humour and some delightful CGI wizardry.

Ultimately this is a perfect family film which means it may not be for everyone over a certain age demographic. The jokes don’t always land and some of the characters (particularly the villain) are quite two-dimensional. This doesn’t take away from the fact that your kids will be enraptured by this big red dog and his little partner in crime. I for one know this is true because I was in a cinema filled with kids who laughed, cried and cheered for Clifford’s first big-screen adventure.

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