‘Marmaduke’ Review: Pete Davidson’s Animated Dog Film That Lifts Up Your Spirit

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Directed by Mark A. Z. Dippe, “Marmaduke” is an animated film that features Pete Davidson in the lead role as the voice of the titular character. Netflix presents a story about a fun-loving, oddly troublesome yet lovable Great Dane, who is trained by the best dog trainer in the world, Guy Hilton, and is all strapped in to participate in and win the World Best Dog Championship. The film is family-friendly and is a peppy and funky film that will put you in a jolly mood. The dog can never sit still, and it perplexes the family. The film follows him around to give a little inner monologue of what he might be going through.

A classic tale of pets attempting to win the world championship to be known as the “greatest dog in the entire world.” Marmaduke is a Great Dane who has been causing all sorts of problems for the family. During the birthday party of Billy, Phil’s son and owner of the dog, they locked the dog in a room to make him repent for causing huge trouble while chasing a cat through the neighborhood. But unfortunately for Marmaduke, a little wasp made him act out in terror. He flew out the window, breaking the glasses, and landed in the pool, which was a part of the party. He effectively drowned the house and caused a flood in the neighborhood that had his owners scratching their heads in disbelief. His little fiasco went viral due to Barbara’s friend, who had made a video of it and uploaded it online. The news portals then issued a challenge to the acclaimed dog trainer, Guy Hilton. Not one to be deterred, Guy Hilton accepts the challenge and rushes over to Marmaduke’s house to meet and train him for the “World Dog Championship.” Guy begins training after having a talk with Phil and his wife, Dottie. Marmaduke has to overcome a lot of his challenges during his rigorous training. After he successfully masters the tips and tricks, Marmaduke is officially ready for his local Dog Championship. Unfortunately, he tanks it and becomes a disappointment. After wallowing in self-pity for a while, he decides to participate in the “World Dog Championship” and lands up on Guy’s porch for a second chance. He works hard for a second chance, and eventually, Guy accepts him back and begins his training. In the World Championship, however, Zeus, a rival dog, attempts his hand at cheating and is later unmasked and disqualified. Shi, a rival dog from Shanghai, ends up as the winner and helps Marmaduke to catch the perpetrators at hand. Marmaduke then goes on to start his acting career in Hollywood and ends up making a huge name for himself.

This is a classic story of rags to riches, a Cinderella archetype portrayed by a dog. The dog teaches the values of hard work and also how to learn from mistakes. The dog strives for a second chance and proves himself worthy of getting one. He goes through a lot of hurdles and passes them with flying colors. Though he does not win the championship, he wins in life. Marmaduke manages to earn a place in everybody’s hearts and also rescues his family from the previous humiliation. The movie also teaches a message that expands on owning up to our mistakes and then working towards fixing them and learning to be a better version of ourselves.

The movie incorporated the familiar storyline of pets, bringing back the nostalgia of similar hits like “Bolt,” “The Secret Life of Pets,” “A Dog’s Journey,” and many more. They have also assimilated a 2D creation in between different takes to highlight the comic strip cartoon style that really hits closer to home. Some of the animation gimmicks also maintain the comic style of exaggeration that the old Walt Disney cartoons like Mickey Mouse, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s cartoon, Tom and Jerry, and Warner Bros. cartoon “The Looney Tunes” were famous for. With a modern twist incorporating longer limbs and smaller heads to exaggerate the stances, this movie is sure to be a sure hit among kids and adults alike. While the dog was performing in the obstacle round, the frenzy of his paws seemed to resemble that of the many cartoons, most likely a tribute to the absolute favorites.

Marmaduke does have a very distinct rival. He goes by the name of Zeus and is overly confident. His owners make a huge profit by selling a shampoo that apparently makes his coat glisten with shimmers and stars, creating a mesmerizing effect on the onlooker. Zeus is very proud of his shimmering coat, yet he feels oddly threatened by the very presence of Marmaduke. He is set on sabotaging every performance of Marmaduke whenever he gets the chance. He made Marmaduke eat before the competition, which was strictly prohibited, and Marmaduke ended up humiliating himself and his family for days to come. However, this only spurred Marmaduke to take action and control his life. He even set a record by solo traveling all around the world to impress Guy and relaunch his training period. In the World Championship, however, Zeus spills the shimmer shampoo strategically so that Marmaduke steps on it and flounders his way through the competition. This only resulted in Guy getting tragically hit by Marmaduke and having to be rushed to the hospital. This leaves the dog without a trainer. The family comes together, and all of them help the dog through the next courses. Zeus was absolutely furious that he could not do anything. Though Zeus ends up winning the championship, it is thwarted by Marmaduke, who recalls the real face of the judge on the panel. With the help of Zhi, he rushes to unmask the perpetrator, and voila, the judge is none other than the second owner of Zeus. The idea that he will not win the trophy makes Zeus lose his mind, and he acts out viciously. The guards catch and restrain him while Zhi wins and receives the trophy. Therefore, Zeus turned out to be a factor that helped Marmaduke improve even more.


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Alokananda Sen
Alokananda Sen
Alokananda Sen holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. She has a keen interest in graphic designing, reading, and photography. Her insatiable appetite for cinema and pop culture enticed her to work as a content writer. She is currently pursuing a Post Graduate Diploma focused in Animation & VFX to explore a new dimension in her career.

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