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Kevin Michael Richardson
Clifford overhears Mr. Bleakman say that feeding him must cost a lot of money. A carnival act called "Larry's Amazing Animals" has just been in town, and the animals in the show told Clifford about an animal contest with a prize of a lifetime supply of Tummy Yummies. So he decides to run away along with Cleo and T-Bone, join the carnival act, win the contest, and bring the food back. Soon Clifford is the star of the show, and Shackleford the ferret, who'd always been the star, gets jealous. Clifford just wants to help and win the contest -- but getting back home to Emily Elizabeth may not be as easy as he thinks, even after the contest is over. Written by
After Norman Bridwell's books and the PBS TV series came this movie about a huge red canine. As in the TV series, animals communicate with each other but humans can't understand them (though the animals can understand human speech, as when Clifford overhears the next door neighbor asking Emily Elizabeth's family why they were spending so much money on dog food). Here, Clifford and his dog pals T-Bone and Cleo decide to join a traveling carnival show of "Larry's Amazing Animals". Clifford feels bad that his family does have to spend so much money on food for him, so he runs away from home.
First when Clifford and pals arrive in the big city, they cause a panic as he strides down the streets. But he finds the carnival and they go across country to compete in a contest for a lifetime supply of food; as it turns out, a dogfood bigwig really wants Clifford to be a big pet for his daughter.
As the film moves on, Clifford is torn between continuing with the Amazing Animals or returning to Emily Elizabeth. Other than a jealous ferret named Shackleford, the animals take a liking to the huge pooch. He has to decide whether to seek fame and food, or return to the family that loves him. But Larry's Amazing Animals are a bit of a family, too.
The characters here seem more rounded and real than their flat TV counterparts. Bright colors, good use of light and shadow, and fun characters. Even an adult like me (admittedly a fan of cartoons and "giant and tiny" animals) appreciated this film. Young kids should enjoy it mostly, and it has some good positive messages.
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