Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale

Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale ★★½

As someone who's a fan of Footrot Flats it was very nice to see it in motion, but it didn't quite deliver what you'd want from the experience.

To start with the positives, it's lovely to see such a Kiwi/Aussie cartoon. The characters from the comic are portrayed well overall (despite the voice actor for the Dog being miscast in my opinion) and they don't cut back with the style of humour seen in the comic. They speak in slang and swear, there's blood, piss, crap and of course, animal balls, and the slapstick is totally on point. And the animation, though a little lacking at points, is mostly very well done. Overall from a visual standpoint it's a wonderful adaption of the world of the comic, but sadly the story fails to live up to that.

Any doofus could tell you a Footrot Flats film shouldn't have a conventional plot, so that's only half of it. It can't seem to decide between small skit-like scenes akin to the comic strip and the fairly weak standard movie story, so a focus on only one solid approach would have made it a lot better. I respect Murray Ball's refusal to simply adapt parts of the comic in order to make an original story, but he was honestly better off doing that when the end result came off as a bit of a flimsy imitation of other animated movies. As it stands Wal' is definitely the main character instead of the Dog, who seemingly got shafted for this story. With the combination of his average voice actor and downplayed role in the story, Wal' is made much better suited for it anyway. It doesn't help that the soundtrack is ill-suited at best, and the songs downright suck. I have no idea who thought they would be a good idea.

In the end all I wanted to see was a bunch of the comic strips adapted into a cartoon, perhaps with a light original plot thread to connect them, and it would've been a great time. It's still fun to see your beloved characters in action, but this doesn't make for a great movie.