Space Dogs: Return to Earth
Packed with silly comedy for canine lovers, the Space Dogs franchise commemorates two furry friends, Belka and Strelka, who in 1960 became the first Earth-born creatures to go into orbit and return alive. In 2010 they were first popularised with Space Dogs, followed by Space Dogs: Adventure to the Moon (2013) and now Space Dogs: Return to Earth, which marks the end of the trilogy. Though the translation of the script is a little jarring, the dynamic animation and story make for a wonderfully funny treat in the weeks before Christmas.
From its outset, the film is action-packed and engaging, but the dubbing sounds just a bit off to English ears. Turns of phrase in the script like “dear” are slightly distracting when used in the wrong contexts and characters say “must” and “will” in places that sound overly formal. The actors’ accents are flawless but at times the intonation is strange and makes a few lines unclear.
Having said that, as soon as one gets into it, the movie is very entertaining. The animation is beautiful, evoking a sense of magic and adventure that only this genre of cinema can create. The digitally-rendered Belka and Strelka look eerily similar to the real Soviet space pups whilst being loveable and strong personas in their own right. Supporting characters come in every shape, size and colour and so much of the feature’s humour come from the rich variety of animals in its lively world.
The absolute highlight of this picture is the song of the pirate jellyfish. The film could be recommended for that segment alone. Additionally, there are some cracking one-liners, as well as some niche but purposefully comic references to Russian culture – a rat recites Pushkin’s poetry, there are hammer and sickles on car stickers and dog collars and there is a silly but fun Anton Chekhov pun.
Space Dogs: Return to Earth is not an intellectual or sophisticated movie, but rather a very entertaining and amusing bit of escapism that hits just the right spot as we come out of lockdown and into the Christmas season.
Space Dogs: Return to Earth is released nationwide on 11th December 2020.
Watch the trailer for Space Dogs: Return to Earth here: