Dogs on Film

This year cinema has offered some treats for fans of dogs on film. I was intending to write a ‘best films of the year’ list, but this seemed so much more important. Here is a list of the most memorable cinematic dogs of 2011. I haven’t seen every film released this year, so there is a chance I have missed the most fantastic dog on film. Therefore, this is a list of the best from films I have seen; feel free to make suggestions in the comments below.

1. Uggy

The Artist is perhaps the finest film released in 2011, and Uggy the finest dog. Irrepressibly cute, this silent movie canine does everything from starring in movies to saving lives. Often a scene stealer, Uggy is integral to The Artist, and undoubtedly adds to the film’s captivating charm.

2. Snowy

It would not be an exaggeration to assert that Snowy is better than his human companion Tintin on all levels in The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn. Snowy is far smarter and more observant than the boy detective, and is miles ahead in terms of natural charisma. Yet Tintin gets all the glory. Go figure.

3. Arthur

The adorable Arthur is the sidekick to Hal and then his son Oliver in Beginners. Arthur talks through the medium of subtitles, which is truly a delight to behold. Arthur’s comments are insightful and sometimes poignant, more than one may expect from a canine companion. Beginners is a great film, and is all the more enchanting with the inclusion of Arthur.

4. Tulip

The honey badger of the list, Tulip has no time for social airs and graces. Instead, Tulip does whatever she likes, sometimes to the displeasure of her owner in My Dog Tulip. Despite her uncouth ways, Tulip proves to be a loyal and affectionate companion, although others who come into contact with her may disagree.

5. Skeletor

The reason Skeletor features on this list is predominantly because he is named after He-Man’s arch nemesis. A retired greyhound, Skeletor is bought as a companion to Adam, who is diagnosed with cancer in 50/50. In spite of his minor role, Skeletor is memorable for his doe-eyed expressions.

Film Review: The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is a fantastic adventure film that ticks all the boxes. It is superbly crafted and will entertain audiences of all ages.

Reporter Tintin and his canine companion Snowy are well known for solving mysteries and breaking big stories. When a model boat catches Tintin’s eye at the market, he decides he must have it. Tintin is warned against keeping it by a mysterious stranger. It is later stolen from Tintin’s home, but not before a clue is left in the young reporter’s possession…

The Adventures of Tintin is an adventure film of the highest order. Spielberg’s film combines everything you would want from an adventure: mystery, action, suspense, comedy and exotic locales. In this way it recalls some of Spielberg’s earlier work, such as the Indiana Jones films. There is also a very amusing nod to Jaws.

Spielberg directs the film deftly. The chase scene in Morocco in particular is spectacular, with the panning shots and overall fluid movement. There are some wonderful edits between scenes, with one scene seamlessly enveloping the previous one.

The screenplay by Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat is great. Good deal of humour, which should appeal to both adults and children. The chemistry between Tintin and Haddock is most believable, and Thompson and Thompson do a good job of providing the comic relief. Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis do a great job of bringing Tintin and Captain Haddock to life, respectively. Smowy the dog also plays a pivotal role in proceedings. It is nice to see he is always given something to do while the focus is on Tintin; sniffing round the camel while his master speaks to someone, for example.

The animation is superb in The Adventures of Tintin. Unlike some of the other films that have used motion capture, there is a warmth to the characters. The detail is excellent; the strands of Tintin’s hair are incredibly lifelike. The film should give other filmmakers using this technology something to aim for. 3D also works very well in Tintin. It is a film with paying the uplift for to see in 3d on the big screen.

Fans of the books should be satisfied with this adaptation. It references it source material with a few nods, including the cute portrait scene at the beginning. Moreover, this film should bring new fans into the fold as previous knowledge of the stories is not required. From the great opening credits scene to the very last moments, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is immensely entertaining. Highly recommended viewing.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn Trailer

I was never really into Tin Tin as a child, but the new film interests me for a number of reasons. Firstly, the film is directed by Steven Spielberg. Secondly, the film is produced by Peter Jackson. Thirdly, the film features Snowy, Tin Tin’s canine sidekick. And lets face it, films are better when they include dog companions. Check out the new trailer for The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, which is released in 3D on 26th October 2011.