Doggy derring-do to get big-screen debut
Adding to the list of upcoming anthropomorphic animal movies, a feature film version of 1980s cartoon Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds was announced at the Annecy Film Festival on June 15.
As the title suggests, Dogtanian was an adaptation of The Three Musketeers, with dogs in the roles of d'Artagnan and his friends. Your humble reporter surely cannot have been the only nascent furry to be stirred by the portrayal of Aramis, one of literature's great lovers, as a Springer Spaniel.
The series was remarkably faithful to the original novel by Alexandre Dumas, with adultery the only major theme to be glossed over. It is memorable for its episodic nature, with an ongoing story and frequent cliffhangers, and for its catchy theme song, which, unusually for children's TV, featured lyrics in praise of drinking beer and fighting.
Dogtanian was conceived by Spanish studio BRB Internacional and produced in Japan by Nippon Animation, with prolific voice actor Cam Clarke voicing the brave yet brash protagonist. It first aired in 1981, and was broadcast in European countries including Spain, Portugal, Italy and the UK, as well as in Japan and Mexico.
The movie will be produced by BRB and Screen21, working with the Chinese Mili Pictures, and directed by children's author Jose Javier Martinez. BRB Internacional's CEO, Carlos Biern, said the plot would deviate from the series, and the novel, to 'increase the surprise factor', but the production would be loyal to the spirit of the original.
Rebooting a beloved childhood cartoon is always a risky business, but the one screenshot released so far appears reassuringly adorable.
It is to be hoped that the movie will introduce a new generation to the joys of classic literature as enacted by anthropomorphic dogs in floppy hats. And that, following the example of recent BBC adaptation The Musketeers, Aramis will seize every opportunity to take his shirt off.