Clifford's Really Big Movie

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Clifford's Really Big Movie
Clifford'sReallyBigMovie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Ramirez
Produced byDeborah Forte
Screenplay by
Based on
Starring
Music byJody Gray
Edited byMonte Bramer
Production
company
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • February 20, 2004 (2004-02-20)
Running time
76 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$70,000
Box office$3.3 million[2]

Clifford's Really Big Movie is a 2004 American animated adventure film based on the PBS Kids TV series Clifford the Big Red Dog, itself an adaptation of the book series of the same name by Norman Bridwell. This film was directed by Robert Ramirez, produced by Scholastic Entertainment and Big Red Dog Productions,[1] and originally released to theaters by Warner Bros. Pictures on February 20, 2004.

The film depicts a giant red Labrador Retriever named Clifford (John Ritter) running away and joining a travelling animal show known as "Larry's Amazing Animals" with his best friends. Larry Gablegobble (Judge Reinhold), the presenter of the animal show, doesn't allow animals who have owners, so they pretend their dog tags are fake. The film takes place in the fictional island of "Birdwell Island", which the name is inspired by Norman Bridwell, the author of the books.

This was John Ritter's final theatrical film role as he died on September 11, 2003. The film was dedicated to his memory, and it served as the series finale to the original show, as no new episodes aired after the film's release, though the show's spin-off Clifford's Puppy Days continued to air before concluding in 2006. The show would later be remade with the 2019 reboot. It is currently the only animated theatrical film directly based on a PBS Kids TV series, not counting Barney's Great Adventure or the films based on Sesame Street (the programming block did not exist at the time said films were made).

The film notably depicts characters with sclera, in contrast to the books and TV series, which portrayed every character except the giant Clifford with black bead eyes. The film received mixed reviews but it was a box office success, grossing $3.3 million against a $70,000 budget.

Plot[edit]

The story begins in Birdwell Island, while Emily Elizabeth calls for her enormous red Labrador Retriever, Clifford. She hears a rustling in the bushes, and Clifford pops up and rushes toward her. Emily Elizabeth tells Clifford that they are going to be late for a carnival. Clifford is excited and then races away.

Clifford visits the carnival with Emily Elizabeth and her friends, Charley and Jetta, and Clifford's friends, Cleo and T-Bone. Clifford, Cleo, and T-Bone are amazed by an animal act known as Larry's Amazing Animals, consisting of Shackelford the High Flying Ferret, Dorothy the High Wire Heifer aka Daring Cow, Dirk the Extreme Dachshund, and Rodrigo, Chihuahua of Steel. However, despite the animals best efforts, their show is failing due to their respective failed acts, but all remain oblivious of the truth as their owner and the show's host, Larry Gablegobble, expresses how proud he is of their efforts. After the show, Larry tells the worrisome carnival owner, Peter Tiberius "P.T." Jones, that the only way for their performances to continue is to win a Tummy Yummies Animal Talent Contest, promising fame, fortune, and a lifetime supply of Tummy Yummies. When Clifford and his friends go to collect their autographs, Shackleford attempts to convince them to join the act, believing Clifford's size and appearance would help them improve and save their show, but none of them agree because they don't want to leave their owners.

The next day, Clifford overhears the Howards' conversation with their neighbor Mr. Bleakman. He mistakenly believes he is a financial burden on the family and decides to join the Amazing Animals, with T-Bone and Cleo joining him. After escaping a town afraid of Clifford, the group finds Larry's animals. Since Gablegobble cannot accept animals with owners, they dispose their dog tags, claiming they are to trick dogcatchers. Larry happily welcomes Clifford and his friends and during their next performance, Clifford manages to save the show, receiving a great round of applause and sparking jealously from Shackleford. Clifford soon begins to make a great and positive impact on the show as he manages to help the others improve their acts, such as helping Dorothy conquer her fear of heights. Clifford immediately becomes the star of the show, much to Shackleford's jealousy and annoyance, believing Clifford has begun to take his place, and the newspapers are sent to P.T., who is proud of Larry. Meanwhile, Emily Elizabeth searches for Clifford and finds out he ran away.

Larry's Amazing Animals finally receives entry for the Tummy Yummies contest that will perform the next night. However, when Clifford goes to find Shackleford and reveals the news, Shackleford reveals his anger and jealousy towards Clifford. He believes they are all better off without him. Hurt by Shackleford's words and missing Emily Elizabeth, Clifford decides to leave early and return home to Birdwell Island to reunite with Emily Elizabeth. Cleo and T-Bone join him, but managed to convince Clifford to return and in the process saves Larry and the others from their broken down bus and make it to the contest. Larry's Amazing Animals wins the contest, but the fun-loving CEO of Tummy Yummies, George Wolfsbottom, tricks Larry into signing a contract giving him full custody of Clifford and kidnaps him for his spoiled daughter Madison.

At a hotel, Shackleford tries to get everyone to realize Clifford just wanted the Tummy Yummies, prompting a furiously disgusted Cleo to expose his true intentions. Shackleford realizes he was wrong about him and shows the tags to Larry, who contacts Emily Elizabeth. Larry drives the animals to Wolfsbottom's mansion. While Larry talks to a security guard, the animals infiltrate the mansion and Shackleford breaks Clifford out of his cage. Shackleford apologizes to Clifford for being jealous, but T-Bone accidentally sets off the alarm and Wolfsbottom's security guards try to capture the animals. The group narrowly escape from the security guards and Emily Elizabeth arrives in time to claim Clifford before Wolfsbottom can get him. Wolfsbottom refuses to let her keep Clifford, showing his contract, but Madison, having a change of heart, steps in and convinces her dad to let Clifford go. Wolfsbottom tears up the contract and allows Clifford to go where he truly belongs. Cleo and T-Bone bid the Amazing Animals a farewell and Clifford reconciles with Shackleford. The film ends with Clifford, Emily Elizabeth, Cleo and T-Bone returning to Birdwell Island and moving on with their lives.

Cast[edit]

  • John Ritter as Clifford, an enormous red Labrador Retriever who joins a travelling animal show named "Larry's Amazing Animals" along with his two friends, T-Bone and Cleo. Ritter had died five months before the film was released in theaters.
  • Wayne Brady as Shackelford, a blue ferret in "Larry's Amazing Animals".
  • Grey DeLisle as Emily- Elizabeth Howard, Clifford's owner.
    • DeLisle also voices Caroline Howard, Emily-Elizabeth's mother.
  • Jenna Elfman as Dorothy, a cow and the only female in "Larry's Amazing Animals".
  • John Goodman as George Wolfsbottom, the founder and CEO of "Tummy Yummies", a dog food brand and the main antagonist.
  • Judge Reinhold as Larry Gablegobble, the presenter and namesake of "Larry's Amazing Animals”.
  • Jess Harnell as Dirk, a dachshund in "Larry's Amazing Animals".
  • Kel Mitchell as T-Bone, a yellow bulldog who joins "Larry's Amazing Animals" along with Clifford and Cleo.
  • Nick Jameson as Sheriff Lewis, T-Bone's owner.
  • Kath Soucie as Madison Wolfsbottom, Wolfsbottom's daughter.
    • Soucie also voices Jetta Handover, one of Emily-Elizabeth's friends.
  • Oren Williams as Charley, one of Emily Elizabeth's friends.
  • Cree Summer as Cleo, a purple poodle who is one of Clifford's friends who joins "Larry's Amazing Animals" along with Clifford and T-Bone.
    • Summer also voices Ms. Diller, Cleo's owner.
  • Wilmer Valderrama as Rodrigo, a chihuahua who is in "Larry's Amazing Animals".
  • Cam Clarke as Mark Howard, Emily Elizabeth's father.
  • Earl Boen as Horace Bleakman, Emily Elizabeth's neighbor.
  • Ernie Hudson as P.T., the carnival owner and another friend of Larry.

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and VHS on August 24, 2004 by Warner Home Video.[3][4] In September 2015, it was re-released by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Soundtrack[edit]

Clifford's Really Big Movie
Soundtrack album by
various artists
ReleasedFebruary 20, 2004
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerJody Gray

Jody Gray composed the score for the film. The soundtrack was released by Warner Bros. Records.

Songs from soundtrack[edit]

  • "Until I Go" – Kyle Gordon
  • "Party Time" – Jody Gray
  • "I'm Not Scared Anymore" – Renee Cologne
  • "You and Me" – Jody Gray
  • "Big Time" – Jody Gray
  • "Larry's Amazing Animals" – Jody Gray
  • "Until I Go Reprise" – Laura Berman
  • "Home Where I Belong" – Romaine Jones

Reception[edit]

Box-office[edit]

The film grossed $3.3 million on a $70,000 budget.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed reviews. On review aggregation website, Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 53% based on 32 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10.[5] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to on reviews, the film has a score of 49 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6]

Anna Smith of Empire Magazine, gave the film a three out of five stars, stating: "The humour, though, is aimed squarely at the under-tens, so the rest of us will find it a bit bland. Bland, but wholesome - in a very inoffensive, family-friendly way."[7] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, gave the film a two out of five stars, saying: "Easygoing and amiable, it is none the less dull compared to the brilliant new players on the scene. The way to challenge them is with an extra-good script and storyline, and this one doesn't exactly stand out."[8] Solan Freer of RadioTimes, also gave the film a two out of five stars, saying: "With its unsophisticated plot and flat, simplistic animation, this is an undemanding film with no appeal beyond its target audience. Entirely unsuitable for the cinema, it's best watched at home, where little ones will most appreciate its bouncy, sunny style and gaudy block colouring."[9] Common Sense Media rated the film a 3 out of 5 stars, stating "Charming and harmless. Nap while your kid enjoys."[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b McCarthy, Todd (April 22, 2004). "Review: 'Clifford's Really Big Movie'". Variety. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Clifford's Really Big Movie". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  3. ^ Warner Home Video (August 5, 2004). "``Clifford's Really Big Movie, The Big Red Dog's First Feature Film, Comes to DVD and VHS on August 24" (Press release). Business Wire. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  4. ^ "A partial schedule of upcoming movies on video and DVD..." Chicago Tribune. August 19, 2004. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  5. ^ "Clifford's Really Big Movie (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  6. ^ "Clifford's Really Big Movie". Metacritic. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  7. ^ https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/clifford-really-big-movie-review/
  8. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2005/apr/29/4
  9. ^ https://www.radiotimes.com/film/m9r4t/cliffords-really-big-movie/
  10. ^ https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/cliffords-really-big-movie

External links[edit]