Tuesday, November 3, 2009

RE: Owen Wilson as Marmaduke

Poodle Bitch rarely reads comic strips. She prefers the humor of authors such illustrators as Roland Topor and Edward Gorey. She is not a snob, but she does readily admit to having refined taste. She also readily admits to having no idea what exactly about this is supposed to be funny:

That is today's, November 3's, installment of a daily newspaper comic strip called "Marmaduke." First of all, Poodle Bitch will suppress the urge to make a joke about newspapers being good for nothing more than picking up her dirt during walks. Plenty of people still read newspapers. But she has to wonder how much enjoyment they get from them, when comics such as the above appear in their pages. Poodle Bitch has studied this illustration for far too long already, and still she cannot see where the humor is supposed to be. Is the humor solely to be found in the fact that the dog is so monstrously larger than the human girl? Is it somehow contained in the dog's mannerism, with the right forepaw pressed to his forehead? Is it in the caption-- is the little girl being ironic? Is the dog?

Poodle Bitch cannot understand.

Nor can she understand why it is that such a comic strip might inspire a feature film.

[I]t’s being reported that Owen Wilson has signed on the dotted line to voice the role of Marmaduke, a giant clumsy CGI dog based on the 1954 comic strip of the same name. ... The plans for a Marmaduke movie have apparently been around for a while now as it has a cast of known names that will surely regret ever agreeing to appear in it down the road. The names include William H. Macy, Judy Greer, and Lee Pace as live-action characters, while Steve Coogan, Emma Stone, Damon Wayans, George Lopez, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Marlon Wayans, and Fergie will all voice CG characters.

Poodle Bitch has only read a few "Marmaduke" comic strips, while composing this blog entry, but one thing she has noticed about every one that she has seen is that the dog does not "speak." She is unsure therefore as to why anyone would bother to create a film based on a comic strip and then change something so fundamental about it. There are plenty of comic strips in which animals "speak." No, Poodle Bitch cannot name any of them, because she does not read comic strips. But she knows at least one human who does with alarming regularity. So she knows a little something about this. But she wonders why it is that the filmmakers don't just purchase the rights to one of these other talking animal comics.

Then again, she wonders why filmmakers don't create original material themselves.

And why is Owen Wilson, a talented and charming performer whose work Poodle Bitch has admired in the past, making yet another cute dog movie? Poodle Bitch reminds the reader that Mr. Wilson recently appeared in the execrable "Marley & Me," in which an obnoxious Labrador seems to take forever to die. (Poodle Bitch did not offer a spoiler alert warning because "Marley & Me" is so rotten that it cannot be spoiled.) The film made light of canine mental illness and neurosis to the point of being offensive. It also manipulated the viewer in the most casually cynical way.

But at least "Marley & Me" starred real dog actors. Poodle Bitch notes that "Marmaduke" will feature CGI, or "computer generated imagery" dog characters. Poodle Bitch wonders about the future for animal performers. Soon they will all be out of work; CGI dogs don't need to be paid scale, don't need to be fed, and don't need to be picked up after.

They also don't turn up their noses at material based on manipulative, treacly books and unfunny comic strips.

1 comment:

Jason said...

Your site is funny. I have a humor site myself and I'd like to exchange links with you, spread some traffic between each other. Let me know.