The first teaser for a live-action remake of the beloved Norman Bridwell children’s book series Clifford the Big Red Dog debuted by Paramount Pictures on Wednesday, and the dog looks sick. They just... dyed a big labrador retriever and called it a day (don’t tell PETA). And why? The other dogs look fine. The dogs in the remake of 2019's Lady and the Tramp? Also fine. Clifford looks like a spawn of Satan, or me in middle school when I thought wine-red hair was obtainable.
I imagine the live-action genre is popular because it allows viewers to experience fictionalized tales in images that resemble their own reality. Perception is fun! But in the case of Clifford, it’s nightmarish—a dog that big would probably die at a young age, due to heart failure, as my colleague Joan Summers pointed out. That poor pup would require, like, horse-sized portions of raw meat and veggies to survive, and the poops.... just think about the shits. Extra excreta. Unfathomable. And doesn’t Clifford live in the suburbs? Who would want to share a cul-de-sac with Cliff? And no doubt, when he’s an uncontrollable puppy, as he is presented to be in this film, he would eat a human child not knowing any better. Do you put him down? Or do you continue to live in fear of the giant dog next door? Wouldn’t they simply... Old Yeller that dog?
In the 20-second teaser, a voiceover assures, “This holiday season, we’re thankful for the pets whose love got us through the year. But next year, get ready to love even bigger.” Simply add in a cinematic movie score and you’d have yourself a harrowing psychological thriller. Perhaps it already is one.
Anyway, the movie is scheduled to drop in 2021. I will watch it drunk, alone, and afraid, exactly how I would live if Clifford the Big Red Dog were my neighbor.