Featuring the voices of Pete Davidson, JK Simmons, and David Koechner.
Directed By: Four People. FOUR. It took FOUR people to direct this.
Where I Was Submitted To This Torture: Netflix
Wass There At Least Audio Description?: Yes
Who Made The Audio Description?: I believe “Post Trax Digital”.
Narrated By: Rachelle Hagar
Description Written By: Anna McClellan
The Plot: Your child’s @#1 most recognizable and popular cartoon dog is in his first animated feature, where after Marmaduke is “bad”, he is locked in a room during a birthday party, but he breaks out, causes chaos and someone videos it and it goes viral. It’s so viral, it attracts the attention of a six time championship winning dog trainer, who chooses Marmaduke as his next champion, as he only takes challenging dogs on. hi jinx ensues.
What Works: Unless you’ve had a lobotomy, if you are above the age of 10, it’s unlikely anything in this film will work for you. However, I can’t speak for little children, as I am not one. All I can say is this is not a film for “the entire family”, like say Encanto, The Bad Guys, Luca, Rya and the last Dragon, Sonic The hedgehog, or The Mitchells Vs the machines. To be fair, it is rated TV-Y7, so Netflix is saying it’s meant for kids, otherwise it would have a tVG rating, or TVPG.
So maybe your five year old will love it. I’m just telling you to let him watch it without you, if that’s something you feel like you need in your household.
What Doesn’t Work: Do i need a list?
1) Your kids will lack a fundamental understanding of the capability of a bee, after one flies in his ear and then comes out Marmaduke’s mouth. This is just the beginning.
2) I enjoy Pete Davidson, but his voice work here is awful. he’s horribly miscast, and reads the entire thing like he’s in a hostage situation, and couldn’t care less if his voice work is any good. It’s actually the worst thing he’s ever done, unquestionably.
3) When we are introduced to our trainer, he has a song. i don’t know why. I really, do not understand why. It makes no sense. He sings, but it’s the only song in the movie. There are no other songs, except this one awful song. This isn’t a musical, the trainer just has a little song while driving to Marmaduke’s house. And it’s one of those songs that came from wherever music died on the day the music died in American pie.
4) When the trainer starts to train Marmaduke, they go to a dojo. Why? That’s a great question. He’s just a dog trainer. Then, among his other actual dog skills, Marmaduke also trains in martial arts. Why/ i have no idea. And they play that stereotypical Japanese dojo music behind during the scene. The entire thing is bordering on cultural appropriation at the very least, and this is not the last time it will have problematic portrayal of Asian culture.
5) Speaking of cultural appropriation, this film goes out of its way to give certain dogs certain accents, but the Chihuahua doesn’t have that stereotypical Mexican accent. Which feels progressive, but in a film where dogs are assigned to represent culture, it also feels like an odd choice. I don’t know what the correct answer is here, but it’s not this half assed attempt.
6) In Marmaduke’s first competition, his enemy, Zeus (voiced by JK Simmons) convinces him to eat an unholy amount of hot dogs, which actually changes Marmaduke’s body size. This eating of food also prompts Marmaduke to need to take a massive dump, but he’s too fat to move over to the designated area for the dogs, and when he farts, the audio description makes sure to let us know he emits a cloud of green gas. The closest place for Marmaduke becomes the winner’s trophy, which he manages to get into, and takes his massive dump, which creates such a large cloud of green fart gas that people run screaming from the venue, people vomit, and a lady dies.
8) After obviously losing the competition, we build up to this pep talk moment where the dad just tells Marmaduke that he is who he is. He pulls up a chair and everything, for one sentence of dialogue, because this film has the emotional intelligence of a dead pigeon.
9) The trainer bills the family for over a million dollars, because dog training is that expensive. And because Marmaduke lost, and the trainer’s fees were supposed to come from the winnings. Apparently, he thought this competition would net him over a million dollars.
10) After Marmaduke hears that he has financially crippled his family, he runs away. The cat, King Tut (voiced by someone clearly in their first voice acting gig), chases after him and proves Marmaduke is a champion by having himself almost hit by a car and forcing Marmaduke to save his life.
11) This moment prompts Marmaduke to go beg his trainer for forgiveness, and when his trainer won’t give it, Marmaduke circumnavigates the world. Yes. Because. That’s possible.
12) After he returns, and gets his trainer back, he’s entered into a new competition, where we get three new dogs. A British Bulldog, a French poodle, and a Chinese Shih Tzu. The Chinese dog for some reason has all these mystical powers, he creates a force field, provides wisdom to Marmaduke, and the announcer cannot pronounce his name correctly. Again, more problematic racial depictions.
I’m not done, but do you need more? I mean, seriously? The whole voice cast is awful, and from a visual source, I’ve heard the animation is terrible. All of this is inexcusable for a film with FOUR FUCKING DIRECTORS. FOUR. Steven Spielberg made Saving Private Ryan by himself, and four functional adults couldn’t direct a coherent Marmaduke?
The Blind Perspective: This film has lovely audio description, if you have blind children. She has a great voice for little kids that makes it feel like story time. Delightful. I have no problems with the audio description. the worst movies have the best audio description sometimes.
Final Thoughts: Like Marmaduke does during this competition, this film is dogshit. Maybe a child will enjoy this, but parents would rather be doing literally anything else. As of this writing, it has a 3.0 on IMDB. So, no, I’m not just the guy bashing this film that everyone else likes. This film has been declared officially awful by a sizeable amount of people.
Final Grade: F