Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Boy and His Dog


Dir: L.Q. Jones (The Devil's Bedroom)

Harlan Ellison supplies the award winning source material for this low budget post-apocalyptic satire. The film fails to do justice to the novella (I wager) but does hint at some potential in more capable hands.

Don Johnson gives one of his first performances as a very horny young man, whose psychic connection with his trusting dog facilitates a symbiotic relationship; Johnson gets the dog fed (Blood has lost his hunting ability) and Blood gets the boy laid (he sniffs out the few females left on the desert landscape so they can be raped). Why the dog can talk/think, or cannot hunt, or even why so few females are left the movie leaves to conjecture. But that's OK, I am ready to suspend disbelief.

For once in a film a talking animal is somewhat interesting. Blood (voiced by singer/actor Tim McIntire) is intelligent, cynical, witty, and realizes the odious nature of his life. But after World War IV, survival comes first. Over time, the Boy and His Dog develop a close relationship.

Then, an attractive woman shows up who is willing to submit to Johnson. He follows her into "The Down Below," an underground dystopian society. Now here the movie gets good, no doubt capturing all of the bizarre social commentary that made the book famous. But Jones saves the good stuff for essentially the last half hour, after an hour of wandering the desert looking for fun.

The dystopia has modeled itself after home spun country values. Everyone dresses like farmers, the oppressive "Town Council" punishes any transgression with a "trip to the farm" and certain death. Bake sales and marching bands and one room schools all strictly regiment the lives of the denizens of "Topeka." But apparently the women cannot get pregnant. So Johnson has been lured down to supply sperm to the women, and not in a pleasant way. It is a satisfying turn of the tables on the roving rapist of the top world. I am sure there was much more to explore in terms of the gender relationships and politics of the whole thing, but we don't get it here.

There is some sort of rebellion, and a chase, and some robots. The end of the film (which I might as well reveal) involves the Boy reuniting with his abandoned Blood, and turning the tables on the duplicitious young lady once more, in about the most permanent and taboo way possible. But after the Apocalypse, you have to get food where you can get it.

The underworld scenes are bizarre enough that you won't hate this movie. But it strikes me as such a missed opportunity, ripe for a remake by a filmmaker who has a clue for what is interesting in a script. And it has talking animals!

Not recommended.



Blogger ronvon2 noted on 6/06/2006 12:46:00 PM that...

Now this is a movie I saw as a youngin, and remember being weirded out by it (but I did like the idea of a talking dog, Omri), but was considering returning to it. Sounds like a pass. I'll stick with Miami Vice reruns.  

Blogger paroske noted on 6/06/2006 11:36:00 PM that...

This is kind of icky. I feel odd if I convinced someone not to watch a movie. I will watch just about any movie ever. I watch movies as many movies as anyone I know.

No, Ron. Watch this thing and tell me if I am wrong or not. Even the worst movie, as I know you can confirm, is worth watching if only for the experience.


Blogger ronvon2 noted on 6/07/2006 12:07:00 AM that...

I guess I was confused by the "Not Recommended" statement.  

Blogger Paul Johnson noted on 6/07/2006 08:08:00 AM that...

Umm the dog seeks out chicks for Nash Bridges to rape? Thats nuts.