In a move that feels like a Mandela Effect-type fever dream in the making, Netflix is releasing an animated "Marmaduke" movie featuring the voices of Pete Davidson and J.K. Simmons. The movie follows that big goofy dog from the classic comic strip, only now the Great Dane (and his owners) all have a stick-thin, funkily computer animated look to them.
The first "Marmaduke" movie since 2010's poorly received live-action version (that one also sounds like a fever dream, but it apparently starred Owen Wilson, Judy Greer, and Lee Pace), the Netflix version doesn't particularly look like it's aiming to bring the once-beloved property back in a big way. Rather, it looks like the sort of mostly arc-less storytelling the 1950's comic strip was famous for. Marmaduke gets into trouble, but everyone loves him anyway.
Check out the first trailer for Netflix's "Marmaduke" below:
Everyone's Favorite *Checks Notes* Comic Strip Dog Character Is Back
Curiously, you wouldn't know the movie starred Davidson based on this trailer. The "Saturday Night Live" regular can be heard saying "cannonball!" early in the footage, but otherwise, the clumsy Great Dane mostly groans and whimpers his way through a series of misadventures. We do see the trusty companion leap off a roof, go viral on the internet, and fart his way through a fancy dog show, though.
As with any animated project, a team of creatives likely worked hard on this movie, but I can't help thinking it looks like one of those educational CD-ROM computer games from the early 2000s. As a property, the "Marmaduke" comics -- originally created by Brad Anderson -- probably don't have the same strong fanbase that led "Sonic the Hedgehog" fans to push for that film's animation redesign, but as is, it doesn't look great.
Of course, "Marmaduke" is a kids' movie, and there's no doubt some kids will love it no matter how wonky the animation turns out to be. Netflix has a long track record of taking known properties in children's' entertainment and revamping them into Netflix Originals, from "Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous" to "Angry Birds: Summer Madness" to, somehow, a TV show version of "Green Eggs and Ham." Some of these are obvious cash grabs, sure, but Netflix has some great family programming under its belt too, with shows like "A Series of Unfortunate Events" and "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power."
I mention TV shows here because if "Marmaduke" doesn't premiere on Netflix and disappear into the recesses of children's' memories immediately, it looks like the type of endlessly renewable IP that could easily be turned into a TV show next. And it might all be worth it if Davidson jokes about getting that sweet, sweet "Marmaduke" money on his next stand-up special.
"Marmaduke" will premiere on Netflix May 6, 2022.
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