© Twentieth Century Fox of Germany GmbH

U.S.A. 2010

Opening 15 Jul 2010

Directed by: Tom Dey
Writing credits: Tim Rasmussen, Vince Di Meglio, Brad Anderson, Phil Leeming
Principal actors: Owen Wilson, Emma Stone, George Lopez, Raugi Yu, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

Marmaduke is a beautiful, 200-pound Great Dane, an uncoordinated lovable dog. He is forced to adjust to a new environment when his family, (Debbie, Phil and the children Barbara, Brian, and Sarah) move to Orange County, California, where Phil has a new job with an organic pet food company. In California Marmaduke rides in a convertible, wears sunglasses (very classy) and goes surfing. Although just a dog, Marmaduke suffers as any teenager would in a new high school, or, in his case, a new dog park. No doggie clique accepts him: not the Jocks, Drama Geeks, Juvenile Delinquents, or the Pedigrees. Only Mazie and her friends from the Mutts reach out to him, a gesture he fails to value, saying, “I don’t hang out with mutts any more.” He must mark the tough guy against Bosco in order to attract Jezebel (“some can’t handle no longer being top dog”). Unlikely help comes from Carlos, the family cat. In the end all is well and the positive moral of the story is: recognize true friends and be loyal to them; evaluate your priorities. Or as Marmaduke says, “Bees are scary for everyone.”

Marmaduke is a daily cartoon created by Brad Anderson in 1954 and – 56 years later – he is still at it with publications in 600 newspapers in 20 countries. Whether it is especially good is a matter of dispute: there are both Marmaduke fan groups as well as organized Marmaduke fervent haters. The film definitely works well and will appeal to families and dog lovers. Eighty dogs and six cats signed up for sixteen weeks of training for the film. It’s amazing how well animals can speak with the help of a little computer animation. The English version features the voices of top Hollywood actors such as Owen Wilson, George Lopez, Stacy Ferguson (singer from the Black Eyed Peas), Emma Stone, William H. Macy, Kiefer Sutherland, Marlon Wayans, and Damon Wayans Jr. (All speak as dogs except Macy, who is Phil’s boss). In the German version, the speakers are, naturally, German, and for some unexplainable reason, the dogs’ names have been changed, too. Director Tom Dey filmed in Vancouver as well as on the beaches of southern California. (Becky Tan)

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