The film noir of animated features.
Don't even think about showing this one to the kiddies. It's about two
abused lab animals that escape only to find that the experiments that
have been conducted on them leave them unfit to survive in the wild.
Their desperate flight for survival leads them through a series of
cruelties, heaped upon their lives already made wretched by torturous
and seemingly unnecessary experimentation, that culminate in one of the
most moving moments in the history of animation.
I've always thought that animation could be more than an after-market
money-machine vehicle for creating cloyingly sweet garbage for which
actors can earn voice-over money without having to be too closely
associated with the work. And yes, that's what I think most animated
But not this one.
Animation is a way of depicting what cannot be shown in live action
films. In this case, we explore the tragedy of animal abuse in a way
that will never let you forget what a crime it really is. Plague Dogs
is insightful, brutally honest, and unflinchingly direct in exposing
the gruesome truth about animal research. This is one of the greatest
animated films ever made. I cannot recommend it highly enough..
Overall, preferable to the book
The Plague Dogs is impressively animated (especially in the opening
scenes) and, for a cartoon, remarkably downbeat.
While the book suffered from a "tell, don't show" attitude, spending
much of its time in an impassioned and sometimes overwrought critique
of animal experimentation (perhaps justified; the horrific and
generally ludicrous experiments in the book were apparently based on
actual horrific and ludicrous animal experiments), the movie is content
to show you what happens and let you be horrified on your own. People
are wisely pushed as far out of the movie as possible, allowing it to
be focused almost entirely on the animal protagonists.
Sadly, the best thing about the book, Snitter's extreme confusion
between fantasy and reality, and his poetic way of speaking, have been
almost entirely lost in the movie. The book's description of Snitter's
experience in the shed is far more surreal than what you get in the