Lionsgate // 2007 // 104 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 14th, 2007
You know what would be awesome? An episode where Clifford got rabies. Imagine the possibilities.
Emily Elizabeth is a feisty little blonde girl who wears striped knee-high stockings and apparently hangs out with the offspring of all the U.N. ambassadors. And she has a dog named Clifford, a freakish red giant of a canine which, if he wasn't so friendly and gentle, would likely be euthanized immediately. Clifford and Emily live on an island big enough to house Clifford and his sure-to-be colossal droppings. Also on the island are plenty of friends, other dogs and adventures for the two to embark upon.
Clifford the Big Red Dog is based on the well-known series of Scholastic stories from Norman Bridwell. This series allows Clifford (voiced by the late John Ritter) to converse with his dog pals, a factor I believe wasn't present in the stories. When the humans are looking, it's back to barking, but at least we get to hear Clifford's voice and for my money, it's a nice addition. Nine stories are included on this disc:
* "Clifford Cleans His Room"
* "Doggie Garden"
* "Screaming for Ice Cream"
* "Jetta's Project"
* "Then Came Bob"
* "Clothes Don't Make the Dog"
* "Limelight Fright"
* "Clifford's Cookie Craving:
* "Guess Who's Coming to Birdwell"
The episodes are short and deal with simple morals like sharing, friendship and responsibility. According to the parent's guide, your kids will also learn lessons about chores, contributing to the community and teamwork. That's an awful lot of positive reinforcement and lesson-learning, and I assure you there is much more of it to be had. As far as the entertainment aspect, the show is subdued and charming, a far cry from the abundance of overly noisy kids shows bloating the airwaves. The series is aimed toward the very young, which, along with the laid-back source material, explains the easygoing nature of the show. The full-frame animation is simple, but attractive and the music is the typical saccharine kids show remixes. In the bonus bin is a cruise control auto-play feature, three micro-shorts starring Speckle the dog and an interactive game.
Final verdict: Dog House Adventures is typical early childhood entertainment, benefiting from a larger-than-life, iconic character, engaging animation, a generous helping of multiculturalism and an effective blending of simplistic storytelling and covert lesson-learning.
Review content copyright © 2007 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Direct Play
* Speckle Stories
* "Where Did Clifford Hide It?" Game
* Official Site