Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds
Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds is an unexpected cinematic revival of the 1981 Spanish-Japanese cartoon. It tells the tale of the titular pup, who travels to Paris to become a “Muskehound” and clear his father’s name after he was framed for bribery by the evil Cardinal Richelieu.
This film attempts to condense the 26-episode run of the original show into a 75-minute feature, and while technically it manages to accomplish this, a great deal is compromised in the process. The story clearly struggles with juggling all the narrative balls of the series but addresses this problem by telling rather than showing; the script is very dialogue-heavy and filled with exposition, making the picture move slower than it perhaps should, in a way that could frustrate children and parents alike.
The script’s key demographic is the younger generation, with its simple plot and emphasis on slapstick comedy. However, the dialogue is a bit too verbose and formal in a way that could alienate much of its junior audience. The exposition is so dense and uninteresting that even the most patient of children could be left out in the cold. This is somewhat balanced out by the action scenes, which have a fun comedic beat, but these moments are too few and far between.
The animation is stiff and lifeless, robbing much of the action of excitement and dynamism. In a film based on the swashbuckling story of The Three Musketeers, this misuse of the medium is unfortunate. Besides a few genuinely beautiful establishing shots at the beginning of the movie, all of the CG assets are very flat and unpolished. This makes for some uninspiring environments that serve to exacerbate the problems caused by the bland style.
Children’s animation has come a long way since the 80s, but Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds unfortunately does not reflect that; it updates the visuals of the original cartoon but adds very little else of value, and makes for an uninteresting 75 minutes.
Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds is released nationwide on 25th June 2021.
Watch the trailer for Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds here: