Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale

Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale ★★★★

Obviously, I'm not in the time nor place to really bask in the importance of this movie for its demographic. It is a movie that strived to be "100% Kiwi" from the moment it was conceived, in the 1980s, based on a comic strip I have never heard of until a few days ago, no less. Luckily, I have well-trained myself to take in comics from countries that are not the US, and any adaptations that may follow. I have a high tolerance for movies that don't really have point A-to-point B structures, and certainly a high tolerance for earthy, raunchy animated films.

Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale is a movie for Gen X Kiwis, their children, and animation fans anywhere outside Oceana that venture bravely beyond the Cool World tier of the animation iceberg. And fans of 1980s music, I suppose. A lot of slang you might not understand if you aren't firmly familiar with the setting this was released in, accents I wish I had subtitles for [sorry], and not much in the way of introducing these characters to newbies - this is something I will always give Twelve Tasks of Asterix props for. Yet, even if you're American or British or otherwise, you'll ceratainly understand the plot, a lot of the visual humor, the antics, the character motives. Granted, you'll probably be surprised by how adult-oriented the affair can be, but I'm willing to bet anyone who didn't grow up with this movie is already familiar with cartoons that go further.

Really, it comes down to whether you can take in slightly-messy plots and simply make peace with these hooligans. If you've watched any adaptation of Peanuts, you have an idea of how this movie is paced [Murray Ball and Charles M. Schulz, indeed, greatly respected one another]. Can you handle some jumpy tonal disonance and threats coming out of nowhere sometimes? There is one moment where you see a hog eat a bird on screen, and then after the dogs run off and tumble into a grassy field, a peppy and extremely-horny musical number begins. I'm used to this type of thing, even if the initial surprise gets me.

Also, don't expect super smooth Disney animation - actually, you shouldn't be expecting that all the time with feature animation anyway, but might as well warn in advance. On that note, that absolutely doesn't mean it's bad, dare I say I loved the visuals here! Lovely character acting in a ballpoint-pen style, and some real down-to-earth backgrounds that really make it look like the grimy countryside. Even in the 360p rip I was forced to put up with to even watch the movie outside its home country, you can feel the craftsmanship in each cel, the dust and the sketchlines. I can't not mention Jon McClenahan's involvement, either... I can see his style of movement from a mile away and he... sure has a way with boob physics.

It's another one of those movies I can't recommend whole-heartedly to anyone except the most staunch, brain-poisoned, "no-turning-back-from-Cool World" animation fans. Even if you're from New Zealand or Australia, I'm almost sure this is the kind of thing that only your dad or mum cares about [it's rooted enough in the 80s to be like that]. Maybe I'm wrong! But I don't know, I'm a Gen Z American man who got some enjoyment out of this, maybe you will too.