In First Look, Live Action Clifford the Big Red Dog Also Big Red Stuff of Nightmares

Welcome to the uncanine valley


A Labrador Retriever puppy has been dipped in blood (?) in the first teaser for the live-action adaptation of Clifford the Big Red Dog.

The movie is based on the Clifford books by Norman Bridwell, which concern a small girl named Emily Elizabeth and her comically-oversized dog. The transition from animated page to live action screen is full of pitfalls, and director Walt Becker (Wild Hogs) seems to have stepped in all of them.

Beyond the commitment to cadmium red, the pup’s face has that slightly frozen expression common to CGI, where only a few muscles move at a time. The short clip highlights the issue by beginning with a lineup of real dogs, which is meant to sell the joke of Clifford’s size, but merely underscores his corpse-like stiffness. Roboticist Masahiro Mori famously coined the term uncanny valley to describe the creepiness of artificial humans that look nearly lifelike, and now Becker has invented the uncanine valley. Check out the teaser below.

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Via The Hollywood Reporterthe film stars Big Little LiesDarby Camp as Emily Elizabeth and Jack Whitehall has her Uncle Casey. The cast includes Kenan Thompson, Rosie Perez, David Alan Grier, Izaac Wang, Sienna Guillory, and the until-recently uncontroversial John Cleese. Clifford the Big Red Dog will come to theaters and your nightmares in November of 2021.


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