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‘Clifford the Big Red Dog’ Trailer’s Nostalgic Aesthetic

Are you nostalgic for a simpler time when “Ice Age” was a box office draw and the Razor was the best phone on the market? Then this is your trailer! “Clifford the Big Red Dog” boasts an old-school feeling for those who loved PBS Kids in the early 2000s.

For the uninformed, Clifford is a red dog whose owner loved him so much that he grows to be house-sized. The story was originally in children’s books, some of which I read as a child. But Clifford is probably most famous for the animated series on PBS that aired from 2000 to 2003 and had several reruns and reboots on the channel since. If you didn’t have cable as a kid, you knew who Clifford was.

Now Paramount Pictures is ready to cash in on that nostalgia. The trailer evokes the cheap animal movies of the mid to late 2000s, such as “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” “Stuart Little,” and “G-Force,” without the celebrity voice cast. The series featured “Three’s Company” actor John Ritter as the voice of the titular dog. However, it seems like the live-action film will give no voice to the character. Instead, the film will feature Keenan Thompson, of SNL fame, as a veterinarian.

The first teaser had many horrified reactions to Clifford’s look, but the CGI dog looks decent enough. It’s the film’s too cutesy (and too visible) magic that seems cheesy, even for this premise. However, I would predict the movie will employ some immature humor to cover for its magic. This is due to the film’s director Walt Becker,who is no stranger to animal movies. This film is his followup to “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip” in 2015. Becker is also the director of the John Travolta and Robin Williams comedy “Old Dogs.” His films have been critically panned for their childish potty humor and bad physical comedy.

Perhaps “Clifford the Big Red Dog” will entertain children enough to scrape by. “A Dog’s Purpose” and “A Dog’s Way Home” have brought a lot of canine love to the theaters the past few years. It is possible we are in the renaissance of live-action pets! Let us just hope that the series doesn’t go on for as long as the “Air Buddies” franchise.

“Clifford the Big Red Dog” is premiering September 17 of this year.

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