Clifford, the very big red dog, who began life over forty years ago in Norman Bridwell’s books, here gets a big-screen adventure. Clifford (Ritter) lives on Birdwell Island with doggy pals T-Bone and Cleo and his owner, Emily Elizabeth. Worried that his voracious appetite is costing her family dear, Clifford runs away to the circus, hoping to enter a TV contest that promises the lucky winner a lifetime supply of his favourite canine snacks (Tummy Yummies).
That’s about it, and this plot is stretched fairly thin over seventy-five minutes as Clifford annoys a competing ferret, is dognapped and eventually realises there is no place like home. Young viewers who have got to know Clifford via the TV series (Clifford the Big Red Dog) may take a while to get used to the slicker, flashily animated dog here (the budget was obviously much bigger than for the TV show) but will no doubt enjoy his amiable adventures (and laugh at the high-wire-walking cow he meets at the circus). Note that this was the last movie role for comic actor John Ritter who died suddenly in 2003, aged fifty-five.
Is Clifford's Really Big Movie suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...