Home Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds

Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds (U)

Cast: Julio Perillan, Stephen Hughes, Tomas Ayuso
Genre: Family
Author(s): Doug Langdale
Director: Toni Garcia
Release Date: 25/06/2021
Running Time: 84mins
Country: Sp
Year: 2021

In 17th-century France, ambitious young swordshound Dogtanian dreams of serving King Louis XIII alongside valiant musketeers Aramis, Athos and Porthos. The young mutt gets a chance to prove his worth and earn the respect of his idols. Dogtanian's courage and determination will be vital to protect the King from the villainous Cardinal Richelieu, who is engineering a secret plot to seize power.

Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds (U)

I love the smell of nostalgia in the morning. The animated TV series Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds is fondly embedded in my childhood memories of the early 1980s alongside Battle Of The Planets and Dungeons & Dragons. The anthropomorphised adventures of an aspiring swordshound and his mouse sidekick put a fresh spin on Alexandre Dumas’ swashbuckling 19th-century novel The Three Musketeers. It also tormented my parents with an infuriatingly catchy theme tune composed by Italian duo Guido and Maurizio De Angelis. Those chirpy lyrics – “One for all and all for one, Muskehounds are always ready!” – are spared for the end credits of director Toni Garcia’s feature-length computer-animated revamp, accompanied by karaoke-style words on screen to inspire howling in the aisles…

In a loving nod to the past, soft-focus flashbacks in the film look suspiciously like excerpts from the TV series replete with expressive hand-drawn visuals. Repeated blasts back to the 1980s underline the quintessential sweetness and rumbustious humour that is lacking in Garcia’s remake, based on a script by Doug Langdale that spruces up a plotline from the episode Daggers And Diamonds involving a stolen necklace, a beguiling masked thief and the looming threat of war between France and England.

In 1625, ambitious floppy-eared pooch Dogtanian (voiced by Tomas Ayuso) dreams of serving King Louis XIII (Julio Perillan) alongside valiant musketeers Aramis (Perillan again), Athos (Stephen Hughes) and Porthos (Hughes again). The young mutt bids farewell to his father (Scott Cleverdon) and canters into Paris on the family’s neigh-sayer horse, Sandy, hoping to secure an audience with Monsieur de Treville (Robbie K Jones), leader of the musketeer corps. Alas, spies of scheming Cardinal Richelieu (Hughes again) are everywhere and Monsieur de Treville cannot invite a young whelp like Dogtanian into the musketeer ranks without years of honourable service as proof of allegiance to the king.

A chance encounter with fair maiden Juliette (Karina Matas Piper) and thieving mouse Pip (Jones again) secures Dogtanian separate duels with Aramis, Athos and Porthos. “You fight with skill, you fight with style. I’d rather fight a crocodile,” coos Aramis, who insists on speaking in rhyming couplets. The foursome quickly put aside their differences when Richelieu’s spy Milady de Winter (Elisabeth Gray) steals a necklace belonging to Queen Anne (Piper again).

Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds bounds along pleasantly for 84 minutes. Pristine visuals honour character designs from almost 40 years ago but lack some of the rough and ready charm of bygone days. Vocal performances feel muted compared with the small screen predecessor and the most colourful role in the French court, his eminence Cardinal Richelieu, lacks an air of lip-smacking boo-hiss villainy to pose a serious threat to the heroic canine quartet.

– Sarah Lee

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