Cert – U, Run-time – 1 hour 24 minutes, Director – Toni Garcia
A young dog (Tomás Ayuso) sets out from his village to the heights of Paris in the hopes of joining the muskehounds, uncovering a plot to overthrow the King (Julio Perillán) in the process.
The world of Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds is one perhaps unlike any other. While claiming to be set in Paris, one which looks more like a village loosely based in the time of The Three Musketeers (and the 80’s Dogtanian series), the film is filled with a fair share of oddities. Mice which are somehow nearly half as tall as dogs one minute and then magically shrink the next, people run into fights proclaiming “have you any sausages!?” and nearly every character sounds like an odd Nicolas Cage impression. There are plenty of oddities throughout what should be the short 84 minute run-time of the film, and they certainly raise a lot of questions throughout, but not quite enough to distract from the overall quality.
What plot there is sees the titular Dogtanian (Tomás Ayuso) setting out from his small village life to Paris, where he dreams of becoming a member of the acclaimed, honourable muskehounds. All in the hope of restoring his father’s disgraced name. It’s not long until he finds himself arranging battles with three of the best swordsmen in the city. After proving his skills Dogtanian finds his partnership with the three growing as a plot to overthrow the King (Julio Perillán), led by Cardinal Richelieu (Stephen Hughes). It’s easy to tell who the bad guys in the film are due to the fact that they almost always appear in darkly lit rooms with only a couple of candles and speak in slightly deeper voices to everyone else. Plus, the fact that none of them seem to have proper names, only nicknames or titles. And what’s their evil scheme? They’re going to steal the Queen’s (Karina Matas Piper) diamond jewellery that the King wants her to wear so that he doesn’t trust her!
It’s evident from this that Dogtanian is certainly aimed at a very young age group. This is made even clearer by the tone of the humour. From a fart/ poo joke in the opening five minutes to very, very basic character types, one character seems to use “lunch” as their personality and punchline in almost every sentence, and repeated animated slapstick designed for its target audience. The effect is something highly unengaging and unentertaining, perhaps even for the seeming target audience, which doesn’t even appear to be able to fill the short 84 minute run-time. Dream sequences and flashbacks appear, not really adding anything, in 2D form. Pushing the idea that the writers of the tiring screenplay simply thought of ideas which led to ‘how do we get out of this idea?’, and ‘now how do we get out of this idea?’ And when having run out of ideas they simply fade to black and cut to the villain in what seems like a video game cutscene. All of this would certainly explain why the main plot isn’t properly introduced until what feels like roughly 25-30 minutes in.
By the time it finishes Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds is an animated film that raises many questions about many of it’s, sometimes questionably animated, details. Details which simply seem slightly absurd and are slightly more interesting to think about and question than the film that they’re a part of. The core, and perhaps only, audience for this adaptation is certainly very young viewers. There’s little there with the very lengthy 84 minute course for anyone else to take away or enjoy within its various switchings between ideas.
Feeling like a jumble of ideas used to escape other ideas Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds is a long and tiring animation only for very young viewers.