Clifford's Really Big Movie

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Clifford's Really Big Movie
Clifford'sReallyBigMovie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Ramirez
Screenplay by
Based onClifford the Big Red Dog
by Deborah Forte
Clifford the Big Red Dog
by Norman Bridwell
Produced byDeborah Forte
Starring
Edited byMonte Bramer
Music byJody Gray
Production
companies
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 comedy 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 Clifford joining a traveling animal show known as "Larry's Amazing Animals" with his best friends. Larry Gablegobble (Judge Reinhold), the owner and ringmaster, won't allow animals already owned by others in his show, so they pretend to have false pet tags.

The film takes place on the fictional "Birdwell Island", which the name is inspired by Norman Bridwell, the author of the books. It is one of only two separate films based on a PBS children's property (including Barney's Great Adventure), not counting the two films based on Sesame Street. The film served as John Ritter's final theatrical film role after his unexpected death on September 11, 2003, and it was dedicated to his memory. It also served as the series finale for the television series. However, Clifford's Puppy Days continues to make some more episodes before ending in 2006.

The low-budget film was easily successful at the box office, grossing $3.3 million against a $70,000 budget, though receiving mixed overall critical reviews.[2]

Plot[edit]

The film begins in Birdwell Island, while Emily Elizabeth calls for 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, Charley, Jetta, 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 his pride towards 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 revive the group's popularity, but they decline, unwilling to leave their owners.

The next day, Clifford overhears the Howards talking with Mr. Bleakman. He mistakenly believes he is financially burdening 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 Larry cannot accept animals with owners, they dispose their pet 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 jealousy from Shackleford. Clifford soon begins to benefit the show as he manages to help the others improve their acts, such as helping Dorothy conquer her acrophobia. He immediately becomes the star of the show, much to Shackleford's jealousy, believing Clifford has replaced him, and the newspapers are sent to P.T., who is proud of Larry. Meanwhile, Emily Elizabeth discovers Clifford 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 jealousy towards Clifford, believing 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 manage to convince Clifford to return and consequently, they save Larry and the others from their broken-down bus, making it to the contest. Larry's Amazing Animals wins, but the CEO of Tummy Yummies, George Wolfsbottom, tricks Gablegobble into signing a contract giving him full custody of Clifford and kidnaps him for his spoiled daughter Madison.

At a hotel, Shackleford tries to convince everyone Clifford just wanted the Tummy Yummies, prompting 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, convinces her father to release Clifford. Wolfsbottom complies and allows Clifford to go to Birdwell Island where he truly belongs. Cleo and T-Bone bid the Amazing Animals a farewell and Clifford reconciles with Shackleford. The film ends with the dogs and Emily Elizabeth returning home.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film marked John Ritter's last film role after his death on September 11, 2003, several months before its release, though he had fully completed his voice work for the project during the summer hiatus from his sitcom 8 Simple Rules. The film was dedicated in his memory. It has no continuity with the later live-action 2021 film produced and distributed by Paramount.

Clifford's Really Big Movie was the last Warner Bros. Pictures film to utilize hand-drawn/traditional animation until 2018's Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.

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. It is also available through Prime Video as part of its PBS Kids output deal.

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 on the same day that the film had released.

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]

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. The site's critical consensus reads, "While a dull affair for parents, Clifford's Really Big Movie should charm its intended preschool audience."[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. ^ "Clifford's Really Big Movie".
  8. ^ "Clifford's Really Big Movie". 29 April 2005.
  9. ^ "Clifford's Really Big Movie (2004)".
  10. ^ "Clifford's Really Big Movie - Movie Review". 8 September 2009.

External links[edit]