Marmaduke (2022)

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Marmaduke
MamadukePoster.jpg

"He's a mess"

Guy Hilton
Genre: Animation
Comedy
Directed By: Mark Dippé
Produced By: Dan Chuba
Mark Dippé
Bridget McMeel
Timothy Wayne Peternell
Youngki Lee
Jonghan Kim
Written By/Screenplay: Byron Kavanagh
Based On: Marmaduke by Brad and Paul Anderson
Starring: Pete Davidson
J. K. Simmons
David Koechner
Distributed By: Netflix (United States)
SC Films (international)
Release Date: May 6, 2022 (Netflix)
Runtime: 88 minutes
Country: United States
Canada
Hong Kong
South Korea
United Kingdom
Language: English
Box Office: $860,015


Marmaduke is a 2022 computer-animated comedy film produced by One Cool Animation with Legacy Classics in association with Andrews McMeel Entertainment. The film is based on comic strip of the same name created by Brad Anderson (who is the same person who brought to you Heathcliff, among other things) and much later, his son Paul and is the second movie adaptation of Marmaduke after the infamous 2010 live-action film. The film stars the voices of Pete Davidson as the titular character, J. K. Simmons as Zeus and David Koechner as Phil. The movie was released on May 6, 2022 on Netflix to extremely negative reviews from critics and audiences (even worse than the previous one), and it's often considered not only one of the worst films that Netflix ever came up with, but also one of the worst animated movies of all time.

Plot

Great Dane Marmaduke once had to a belly flop into the pool during a birthday party and ended up flooding all the whole city and provoking several displeasure among the citizens. To pull off Marmaduke's bad behavior and make him a more respectful dog, the Winslow family meets Guy Hilton, a high-rank dog trainer who offers to help the family's pooch to act as a high-class one and seeing to invite it to many fashion dog contests. However, the selfish and renowned Afghan hound, Zeus finds all the clever ways to get rid of Marmaduke.

Why It's a Zoser

  1. To get Marmaduke out of the doghouse: The main idea of bringing back an old comic strip character such as Marmaduke throughout an animated movie nowadays, while not inherently bad, is quite unnecessary and pointless. That's because the comic strips are not as popular nowadays as they were 20-30 years ago, and also due to the 2010 20th Century Fox movie which completely contaminated the series' essence, and the absence of TV series or spin-offs to sustain the franchise during these years. It's true that they wanted to revive the character with this film and we can't disagree with this, but due to the issues reported below, the execution is far from being perfect.
    • The most tasteless thing to note here is that the original inventor of the strips, Brad Anderson, unfortunately died in 2015, so what's the point of making a revival movie if the creator has left us two years before the production started? Not to mention, if this film was even made to be dedicated to Anderson, we would say easily now that's more than offensive.
    • Another tasteless thing here is, unlike other revivals of the genre, both good or bad, which always tried to be better than the original live-action movies that were based off, this movie particularly does the exact opposite of them, being even worse than the 2010 movie. Even the Alvin and the Chipmunks CGI series, even mediocre, tries at least to be better than the live-action trilogy, not to mention that 2017's Smurfs: The Lost Village animated movie was a big improvement over the original live-action duology and results in a decent movie after all, which 2022 Marmaduke doesn't.
  2. The movie had a troubled developing story. The film was first announced in 2017 with the purpose of releasing it in 2019 and having its all-star cast announced by that time. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was moved to an unknown date which was revealed to be May 6, 2022 after the announcement that Netflix bought the rights. During these 4 years of abstinence, nobody thought to improve things like the story or the animation (after many attempts to create a high-end animated film didn't work, instead went to StoryBerry, mainly to avoid costs), with the result of resembling a movie made in 4 weeks rather than one made in 4 years.
  3. It's extremely unfaithful to the original comic strips with a horrible grasp of the source material. Misses what made the original Marmaduke a special classic and doesn't try to represent it in the movie. The source strips were about an almost troublemaker dog named Marmaduke involved in much housework and lived with a family who really loved him as he loved them. Here it's about the same alleged dog which is a lazy slacker and a complete troublemaker who doesn't care about his family even when the dad tries to scold him, causes discontent to everybody and is very dumb.
    • Speaking of being unfaithful, such like Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go!, the fourth season onwards of The Loud House, the first two seasons of The Garfield Show and the 2015 incarnation of Alvin and the Chipmunks, another problem about this version of Marmaduke it's, it features things that, clearly don't belong to the universe of Marmaduke, and loses the real factor the comic had. Sure, both Marmaduke and King Tut were animals that had the capacity to talk and act as humans do in the comic, but still was something quite near to reality and wasn't an exaggeration at all. Here, instead, it gets turned up to 11, featuring random nonsense such as pools that can flood an entire city, highly advanced technology, magic spells and (more infamously) Marmaduke covering an entire stadium with a giant fart cloud (See WIAZ#9).
  4. Apart from being unfaithful to the source material, the plot itself is generic and unoriginal and rips off the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Grooming Gary", yet even worse. All of that it's just yet another dog movie featuring a dog contest with Marmaduke shoved in it for profit. You can easily substitute Marmaduke with another dog, the Winslows with another family, King Tut with another cat or just remove them and nothing will change.
  5. Voice acting that varies from being mediocre to really egregious. Pete Davidson's performance as Marmaduke, in particular, even with some funny moments here and there, results quite strange, because makes his character sound like somewhere in between a too-grown child and a drunken man, which earned him the nomination for the Worst Actor at the Golden Raspberry Awards, especially if compared with Owen Wilson's one in the previous movie. At the same time, Stephen Stanton as King Tut gives us a boring performance which makes him appear to be on the verge of suicide. Meanwhile, Brian Hull as Guy Hilton appears to be everywhere, where sometimes sounds too flamboyant which makes Guy sounds like a sort of gay stereotype, other times he performs so seriously that it's difficult to bear him.
    • J. K. Simmons, despite being the only good actor here and doing a good job as Zeus, is far from being perfect, because he makes Zeus sound a little too hoarse and a high-class stereotype, whose voice can be annoying quickly.
  6. All of the previous characters are quite flanderized:
    • Marmaduke, though acts quite friendly, has changed from a golden-hearted dog, a little troublemaker yet even though likable, which cared a lot about his family and especially to his owner, to an incredibly lazy, completely troublemaking, naïve flea bag who falls constantly in his adversaries' traps, cares more about food than his family and refuses any critics given to him.
    • King Tut, though he's likable too, mostly changed from being a serious cat and Marmaduke's voice of reason to being a lazy character that doesn't care too much about the latter. Furthermore, he's so underused in the movie that you can easily remove him.
    • The Winslows changed from being a happy family that cared a lot about their pets and they scolded them when it was necessary to an unidimensional, generic, Simpsons-style corrupted family in which the father is a complete prick who scolds Marmaduke for everything.
  7. The new characters aren't so better, rather they feel forced to be in the story and others don't contribute so much:
    • Guy Hilton, Marmaduke's trainer, though is probably the nicest character of the film, suffers of a scarce characterization: at the start seems to be an evil guy to judge by his voice and the way his behavior seems to be painted, however, when he starts to train Marmaduke, acts similar to how Mr. Greene was in Norm of the North and becomes a stereotyped Asian-like trainer.
    • Zeus, the main antagonist, even though tolerable and has his moments, is an unpleasant enemy to Marmaduke because consists to be a beautiful and rich being which his interaction with the latter is a generic pro-vs-noob battle. He drives Marmaduke to do some outrageous things like giving him a lot of food to make him bloated or let him slip on a shampoo to hurt his trainer, making him a big cheater.
      • At the end of the film, he and his owners got karma for cheating in the dog contest by rigging.
    • Marmaduke's love interest, Shantrelle, it's a very useless character, because not only hasn't an adequate presentation (with he being literally presented at end of the movie), but it's a generic fashion lady which and a French stereotype and doesn't make nothing in the story apart from being Marmaduke's love interest.
    • The other competition dogs are just filler characters that are stereotypes of their respective countries, such as a strong English bulldog, a Mexican Chihuahua obsessed with tacos, and a Chinese "master" Shih-Tzu who had psychic Chi powers without any explanation of them (he even helps to revive Marmaduke at the end by them).
    • The clown character exists just to be a useless background butt-monkey.
    • Barbara's bullies friends are just unsympathetic and even ridicule Marmaduke due to the fart incident.
    • Bill's friends don't do anything whatsoever.
  8. The movie feels belong more to a Beethoven format than a Marmaduke one, because the humor and the story are more nearby to the former franchise.
  9. Incredibly nasty toilet humor. In particular, a focus point of the plot comes from a scene in which there's a pre-competition and Zeus challenges Marmaduke's naivety to eat all the buffet and makes him gets fat. So, during the competition, Marmaduke gets bloated, which makes him fart and belch a lot and roll like a ball. Trying to approach to the hydrant to relieve himself (implying that he has diarrhea), Marmaduke stumbles on the #1 prize cup and starts to poop in it and release fart clouds around the stadium, provoking panic among audience and even discouraging Zeus himself. What sort of script is this?
  10. Bad, crappy, cheap, and rather bizarre CGI animation that looks more like a student's first-time animated project or yet compared to other bad CGI animated films that are on par with Norm of the North, Arctic Dogs/Arctic Justice, and Pets United. It also looks more like a direct-to-video film from the mid-2000s film than a 2022 film. Even the 2D animations used in the film and even the end credits are pretty bad and choppy to the point of being a motion comic rather than an actual animation.
  11. The character designs are very ugly and uncanny, and they look like The Addams Family 2019 rejects. Ironically enough, the character designs were made by the same people who worked on The Addams Family and The Addams Family 2.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Although this movie is unnecessary, it is great to see Marmaduke back twelve years after his last cinematic outing.
  2. Some of the characters are likable like King Tut, Guy Hilton, and even Marmaduke, despite him being flanderized, and he has his original personality.
    • As discussed at WIAZ#7, Zeus is a tolerable villain, despite his cheating habits.
  3. The soundtrack by Nicholas Schnier can be very fun to listen to, especially Marmaduke's rap song in the end credits.
  4. Despite mostly poor voice acting, some of it is decent.
    • While Stephen Stanton does a bad job voicing King Tut, his voice can come off as a little funny.
    • Despite being miscast, Pete Davidson's voice for Marmaduke comes off as a little funny.
    • In addition, J. K. Simmons does an amazing job voicing Zeus despite the issues mentioned in WIAZ#5.

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