"I can see why this film was stuck in production hell. I don't know why it's doing well on Netfilx, or so we told. Who knows, through? Netfilx is full of itself when it comes to animation and how it's treating its shows and movies and whatnot right now. I used to praise it, but now I'm kind of, like, very concerned about the state of animation with Netfilx. It sounds like they really crossed their skis, and hopefully Marmaduke will not become the norm for them, because if so, then, like... Abandon ship."— Saberspark
Marmaduke is an American-Canadian-Hong Kong-South Korean-British computer-animated movie released on Netflix in 2022, based on the daily comic strip of the same name, and is the second movie adaptation of Marmaduke after the 2010 live-action film, also based on the comic of the same name.
The great dane Marmaduke takes a cannonball dive from the second floor of his family's home into the backyard pool at son Billy's birthday party, releasing a giant tidal wave. Barbara, Billy’s sister, takes a video and it goes viral. It comes to the attention of world renown dog trainer, Guy, who offers to transform Marmaduke into a world class show dog. At first, the family isn’t sure about Marmaduke entering dog competitions. When Phil, the family’s dad, learns that one million dollars is the prize money, he’s persuaded to make an agreement. Marmaduke goes into training and, after some initial resistance, starts to makes progress.
Guy enters Marmaduke into a local dog show to test his skills at the competition level. During the preliminary setup, Marmaduke encounters Zeus, a large dog with sensationally shiny gold white fur. Zeus entices Marmaduke to eat a snack prior to competition, making him instantaneously gassy. Marmadauke does his best to conceal the matter and struts onto the field with Guy. Before one lap around the field, Marmaduke releases voluminous clouds of noxious flatus which envelopes the entire field. Marmaduke soars through the air and lands backside down in the winner’s trophy, releasing his innards to the great dismay of all present.
Disgraced, Guy refuses to keep training Marmaduke. Deflated and dejected, Marmaduke runs away from home. As he’s running down the street, he sees the family cat, King Tut, in the middle of an intersection. Marmaduke saves the cat, but has difficultly in connecting with his character. Persuaded by King Tut, Marmaduke embarks on a trip around the world performing heroic stunts along the way. His circumnavigation convinces Guy to take Marmaduke back on for the World Dog Championship. Marmaduke encounters Zeus again at the competition with many other dog breeds. The competition consists of three challenges, but right after Marmaduke succeeds the second challenge, he lands on Guy, who is hospitalized. Without a trainer, Marmaduke’s owners end up steps in to coach him, allowing him to do the final challenge.
In the third and final challenge, the dogs perform a unique act, with Marmaduke and Billy doing a cowboy act with Kung Tut, pleasing the audience. Later, the judge's final results reveal Zeus as the winner. However, Marmaduke uncovers that Zeus's owner rigged the scores, leading Zeus to be disqualified. Zeus tries to take back the trophy, but Marmaduke stops him. Zeus ends up knocking over a platform, causing Marmaduke to push his owners out of the way, getting crushed by the platform. Marmaduke is initially believed to be dead, but turns out is still alive, and they all live happily afterwards. Meanwhile, Zeus was caught by the security and was sent to the dog pound during the credits.
Why It Should Stay Locked Up In Its Room Until It Learns Its Lesson
- Bringing Marmaduke back as an animated film revival, though isn't the worst idea, it's not exceptional and isn't completely necessary for starters, because the infamous 2010 live-action film has already terribly tainted its legacy. What makes it more useless is that it was bad timing on Netflix's part, as the film was released at a time when the franchise was no longer relevant due to the fact that after the live-action film, there are no been series or specials that could at least hold up the popularity of the franchise and that the comic sent its last strip in the 2015, making this film rather old-fashioned for this era.
- Horrible grasp from the source material, with the result that the film looks nothing like the original comic, to the point where one comes to think that the live-action film is more faithful than the latter.
- Development hell: Announced in 2017, it was originally supposed to be released in 2019, giving it just 2 years to mature. However, it was mysteriously pushed back to an unknown date which turned out to be May 6, 2022. Throughout this time frame, the companies and producers who worked on the film did not consider improving the film, with the result that instead of a 5-year film it looks like a 5-week film.
- Unlike many animated revivals of franchises that had animated cartoon-based live-action movies, which, good or bad, still tried to be better than previous bad live-action movies, this film however deviates, only for it to be even worse than the live-action film.
- Bland and clichéd writing that is nothing more but a typical film of a dog adventure in a regular city, to the point that it becomes very predictable and that the viewer already knows that there will be two choices: Marmaduke will forever remain lazy or will eventually learn to be useful. It will obviously be the latter.
- Indescribably unfunny and juvenile attempts at humor that mostly consist of dog puns and even toilet humor like in the infamous scene where Marmaduke defecates in the award cup, followed with a fart that takes up the whole field and evacuates everyone.
- Almost all the characters are just annoying, bland, or downright uninteresting like Marmaduke himself who has been flanderized from a kind-hearted, clumsy, and always a helpful dog into a lazy, selfish, unruly, kind of dumb, and an overly accident-prone dog with a huge fixation on food, although he is still likable.
- The Winslow family is the stereotypical cartoon family.
- Shantelle is the main character's love interest.
- The dog champions are kind of bland and they barely do anything in the entire film, as well as being a stereotype of their countries, an example is a Mexican Chihuahua who is obsessed with tacos.
- Zeus, while he can be somewhat amusing and tolerable as the main antagonist, he isn't the most intimidating and his motives to make Marmaduke can get bland since he's basically a selfish villain. As he gaslights and frames Marmaduke during his performance, making him eat a huge amount of food to make him fat and sliding him on the shampoo to energetically injure his instructor, he then becomes fallible because of his underhanded plans that fail. Plus, he barely has any screen time.
- Crappy and cheap looking CGI animation that is on par with the same quality of animation as Norm of the North and Pets United. Not to mention, it looks more like a direct-to-video DVD film from the mid-2000s due to the character animation, as they move in a somewhat fast way alongside some layer issues and physics of falling objects who seems like it's floating and this is noticeable in the scene of Mr. Winslow grilling some sausages with some of them look like it's in the top of the fire.
- The visual effects look very cheap with the green smoke effect used in the scene where Marmaduke's fart seems far too thick to be a fart. It is also lazily reused for burps and recolored for car smog.
- Ugly and uncanny character designs that don't look like their original counterparts, especially with Marmaduke that feels like a bootleg Scooby-Doo from Be Cool, Scooby-Doo (Ironically enough, he was called Scooby Poo in one scene). Speaking of Marmaduke, this is also misleading since in the promotional poster he has orange fur just like he had in the comics. By the way, the human characters look like The Addams Family (2019) rejects, with their limbs look like uncooked pasta as well as Dottie (the mother) having abnormally thick hips and legs.
- Lots of crappy and childish dialogue, like:
- "Ladies and gentlemen, one of the seven wonders of the world: Marmaduke!"
- "Here comes EL STINKO!"
- "Some dogs are must to be champions, others to be ... dogs."
- "See ya later Zoser."
- Most of the voice acting ranges from passable to downright irritating, bland or hollow. Pete Davidson, while funny, is a huge miscast for Marmaduke since there is no striking performance that fits his character.
- Another talented voice actor, Brian Hull, voices Guy; who happens to give off a very unremarkable voice performance despite Brian's true talents.
- The 2D animation used in the intro and ending credits are laughably choppy and lazy (it looks like if Nostalgia Critic's 2D animations in his videos had a little more movement), and it doesn't help either that it was animated by the Disney veteran Phil Nibbelink.
- An prime example of this is the segue to the ending credits, where after Marmaduke gets a smooch from Shantrelle, there is an assortment of floaty hearts that literally blocks most of the screen. It's as if the screenplay editors just knew that anyone, including kids, would be terrified at a closeup of Marmaduke's eyes.
- Some of the characters are likable like King Tut (Carlos), Guy Hilton, and even Marmaduke, despite him being flanderized.
- As discussed at WIS#5, Zeus is a tolerable villain.
- The soundtrack can be very fun to listen to, especially Marmaduke's rap song in the end credits.
- The competition scenes were exciting and can be considered the only enjoyable scene throughout the movie.
- J.K. Simmons is the best voice actor in the entire movie. He did his best to give Zeus' voice some life to his character with what he had to work with and his line delivery can be hilarious to listen to at times. While Pete Davidson is, of course, miscast as Marmaduke, his voice for Marmaduke comes off as a little funny.
- While the humor is beyond unfunny and cringeworthy, it has its funny moments here and there (this often happens unintentionally).
- Zeus's snarky nature does provide many funny moments here and there.
- The idea of an animated Marmaduke movie does sound good on paper if they handled the concept a lot better.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 0% based on 10 reviews, making it one of the rare animated films to hold a 0% rating on the site. Aurora Amidon of Paste Magazine criticized the formulaic and predictable plot, but praised the voice acting of Davidson, Simmons, and Koechner.