Review of “The Plague Dogs,” a film (1982)

 Character motives, Eco characters  Comments Off on Review of “The Plague Dogs,” a film (1982)
Apr 122011

I watched this animated film recently. The film is based on on the book of the same title by Richard Adams. In this work, the two main characters are dogs, Rowf and Snitter. Rowf and Snitter escape from a research station (given the acronym ARSE) that performs vivesection and animal testing, located within an extensive natural area.

The dogs are befriended by a fox, called “The Tod.” This friendship is on-again and off-again, and provides some conflict among these three characters as the larger story plays out. As problems ensue, the dogs become the target of a full-scale military quest, since they are thought to possibly have been exposed to the bubonic plague through laboratory rats at the same research center.

The motives of the dogs are largely three-fold – escape, survival, and, to some extent, finding a good home, at least in the case of Snitter. The fox seems to also have some altrustic motives in helping the dogs. Though the accidents with the people in the story seem a bit far-fetched, Snitter’s mental troubles due to the experimentation are awkwardly conveyed at times, and The Tod’s willingness to help the dogs seems like it was dropped in from a younger child-oriented film, the short version of the film works well enough. While the film has scenes of interaction voiced with members of the research station throughout the film, for the most part the camera follows the animals, even during the voiceovers of human characters. There’s no question that the camera’s sympathies lie with the animals, which is fine for those concerned with animal protection.

Despite being animated, the film isn’t particualrly geared to young children due to bloodshed and deaths, though they may be more capable of handling such matters than I’m guessing. If concerned about vivisection and animal research from the animal protection view, I’d recommend the film for most.

The film is available through itunes and amazon.

The book is also available through book sellers such as Barnes & Noble.

(Note: I’m not an affiliate for any businesses linked in this post.)

The Lorax and Once-ler

 Eco characters  Comments Off on The Lorax and Once-ler
Mar 302011

So, I bought “The Lorax” app for my phone.  It’s a great read – even on the small screen.  One of the things I love about this story is how iconic both the Lorax and Once-ler characters are.  Even though the Once-ler is not clearly seen, he is a sort of everyman that gets caught up in his enterprise and overuses resources to his own, eventual detriment.  The Lorax, who “speaks for the trees,” is angry and shows Once-ler what he is doing, but can never quite get through to him until after the last Truffala tree is cut down.


Part of the Lorax character’s frustration is that he finds it incomprehensible that anyone would value the “thneeds” that Once-ler produces.  This makes the interaction between the characters more multidimensional rather than too simple and one-sided.  The motives of Once-ler’s thneed buyers are something the Lorax can’t easily fathom.  The Lorax’s motives are to protect nature while the Once-ler’s motives are to become wealthy via working and industrialization.  While the storyline is clearcut, its delivery is a marvel that has captivated generations.


For those interested in a paperless version of the book, the app version of the Lorax is available here.  I am not an affiliate for the link and can only vouch for the iphone version of the app for personal use.  I will say I think the paperless version fits the original spirit of the book.


Finally, from several sources, it looks like the anticipated release date of “The Lorax” as a feature animated film is currently scheduled for March 2, 2012.  After the delightful “Horton Hears a Who” film last decade, I’m hopeful that this film based on Dr. Suess’ book will reach even more with this great story’s environmental theme .