101 Dalmatians

Bomb Rating: 

Hello pet cemetery.

Thank Disney. This movie is about to do for pet euthanasia what JeffreyDahmer did for Zip-Loc freezer bags. Imagine: Thousands of children across the country beg their stupid parents to buy them a dalmatian puppy for Christmas only to discover months later that dalmatians were bred to be carriage dogs, require a tremendous amount of attention and are generally a royal pain in the ass. Goodbye home sweet home. Hello pet cemetery.

Disney, however, has never been one to let a pile of dead dogs stand in the way of potential profit. The nice thing about a making cute animal movie, after all, is that money can be saved by simply borrowing certain elements (such as "plot") from previous cute animal movies. The first portion of the film is the inane adult love story that brings Roger (Jeff Daniels) and Anita (Joely Richardson) together, along with their two dogs, Pongo and Perdy. Then it's up to the animals to rescue the dalmatians once Cruella (Glenn Close) starts stealing them. It's here that the "Babe" effect takes hold. You can bet your left arm that one way or another the filmmakers are going to convey the message that animals are really just people trapped in furry bodies.

Of course nobody is going to be able to train 101 dalmatian puppies to do anything but pee, which Disney discovered early in the production after 86 died under the unforgiving hand of long-time Disney trainer Otto von Discipline. Disney adjusted by simply letting the fifteen remaining pups run around and hired ILM to digitize the rest when they needed 101. The film also features the antics of some wild animals, which begs the question: How do you get wild animals to do cute things? You guessed it: Shoot them for meat and hire Jim Henson's Creature Shop to animate their pelts.

Look closely at the credits and you'll notice that the producer and screenwriter duties belong to none other than John Hughes, the man who "discovered" Molly Ringwald and Macauley Culkin and then inflicted them upon the world. Hughes is part of a new breed of writer/producers called "executioners," who write movies they'd never deign to direct themselves and then hand them to "lesser" directors to risk their careers on. After director Stephen Herek's career nosedives from "101 Dalmatians" to "101 Domino's Pizza deliveries," Hughes would be wise to avoid answering the door altogether.

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