Phase9 Movies 2000-12

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Year: 2004
USA & UK: Warner Bros Pictures
Cast: John Ritter, Wayne Brady, Grey DeLisle, Jenna Elfman, John Goodman, Jess Harnell, Kel Mitchell, Judge Reinhold, Kath Soucie, Cree Summer, Wilmer Valderrama, Earl Boen, Cam Clarke, Teresa Ganzel, Ernie Hudson, Nick Jameson, Oren Williams, Gregg Berger, Susan Blu, Alex Nevil, Toby Stone
Director: Robert C Ramirez
Country: USA
USA: 73 mins
UK: 74 mins
USA Rated: G
UK Certificate: U
USA Release Date: 23 April 2004 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 29 April 2005


Everyone's favourite dog for more than 40 years now, bringing the Big Red Dog to the big screen made perfect sense! With the perennially best-selling books and the ongoing hit television series, the audiences just couldn't get enough of Clifford. The challenge was to find a story with big adventure, surprising twists and huge heart that would best showcase the Big Red Dog in his theatrical debut.

The producing team knew that a Clifford movie wouldn't be a Clifford movie without our stars - Clifford, Emily Elizabeth, Cleo and T-Bone - and it had to be a story with a lot of laughs and a lot of love. But where to begin? Birdwell Island, of course. So, the story begins with our favorite characters in their unique home, but then moves into an adventure that takes them elsewhere...

In the story, Clifford (John Ritter) misinterprets a conversation between Mr. Bleakman (Earl Boen) and the Howards and mistakenly concludes that he is a problem because he is so big and eats so much. Concerned that he is a problem for the girl he adores, Clifford sets out to win a Tummy Yummies contest for a lifetime supply of food. Clifford learns about the contest from a ragtag animal troupe, Larry's Amazing Animals, which performs at a visiting carnival. The Amazing Animals are led by Shackelford (Wayne Brady), the high-flying ferret who hopes winning the contest is the key to keeping his ad hoc family together since their act isn't exactly amazing and they haven't exactly been making money. The troupe includes, Dorothy (Jenna Elfman), the tight-rope walking cow; Dirk (Jess Harnell), the extreme dachshund; and Rodrigo (Wilmer Valderamma), Chihuahua of steel. Larry (Judge Reinhold) is the kind-hearted man who loves his animals, but frets for their future as they've fallen on hard times. Although Clifford is on his own mission, Cleo (Cree Summer) and T-Bone (Kel Mitchell) would never let their best friend go on a great, big adventure without them so, of course, they join him.

The making of an animated movie about a Big Red Dog is, appropriately, a leviathan undertaking. Clifford's world underwent a makeover for it's transition to the big screen, giving all the characters and settings more dimension for the feature format. The movie is a combination of traditional 2-D animation as well as CGI animation to give real texture to elements such as water and vehicles such as Clifford's trailer. Multi-planing - a technique which involves multiple background layers with camera moves layered in and which is done in US Animation - was frequently employed to powerfully convey expansive horizons and give a sense of space and real scale of the world that showcases Clifford's size.

Moviemaking is a hugely collaborative effort and the combined talents of the team add up to a winning story that is faithful to all that Clifford is known and loved for and yet takes the audience on an exciting new adventure unlike anything they've experienced before with the Big Red Dog. Big laughs, big adventure and big stakes make for a Really Big Movie for the whole family. It's Clifford like you never seen him before, but you'll want to see again and again!

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