After years in the making, the Clifford the Big Red Dog live-action movie trailer has finally been released. For dedicated fans of the books, this has been a long-time coming, since the books were first published back in 1963. But not everyone is thrilled to see how the adaptation is coming along. The internet has been a hotbed of reactions, ranging from mediocre to absolutely negative. It's easy to see where the criticism comes from -- Clifford is not as big as he is in the books, despite the fact that he's animated, and a lot of people seem to have preferred an animated adaptation over a live-action.
Judging from all the lackluster headlines, it's clear that reporters and writers are struggling to find the right words to describe the trailer, as one Twitter use points out.
really enjoying the reporting on this one https://t.co/f1i0Y3UQLi pic.twitter.com/n8FY3lSX3f— Michal (@Miexriir) June 29, 2021
Another Twitter user makes it clear that this would have been better done as a fully animated movie, not live-action, which is totally understandable since the CG seems to leave a lot to be desired.
Yet another clear example as to why certain concepts fully belong in the realm of animation. https://t.co/RJQVehX6NM— J. Skyler (@jskylerinc) June 29, 2021
Overall, the reactions have been mostly negative despite the hype. Though one particular tweet, posted by the Kaiju News Outlet, drew a very different reaction: Clifford the big red dog could actually be the newest kaiju.
The term "kaiju" generally means "Strange Creature" in Japanese. Clifford is both bright red and giant, the second defining trait being a modern prerequisite for being a kaiju and the first being an unusual trait for dogs.— RJM (@rjm_fnglhr) June 29, 2021
Clifford's a kaiju.
For those that need a refresher, kaiju is a term that can reflect a genre of Japanese movies and TV shows that feature giant monsters or refer to the monsters themselves. They are typically depicted attacking cities, causing mayhem and looming over normal-sized citizens. Some noteworthy kaiju are Godzilla, King Kong and Mothra. These monsters dominate Japanese entertainment, getting critical acclaim and drawing in fans around the world to their films or shows. Simply put, kaiju are not just big animals -- they are "strange" monsters that have an almost divine presence.
So, when Twitter user @rjm_fnglhr drew the connection between Clifford and kaiju, it made total sense. Clifford is inarguably a "strange" creature. To begin with, what other fictional dog towers over buildings and cities? While the depiction of Clifford in the new trailer leaves his size a little smaller than expected, he's still a huge dog that seems more of a monster than a normal animal.
Besides his sheer size, another aspect of Clifford that most definitely makes him a kaiju is his color. Simply put, dogs are not red. Even when they have physical deformities or biological differences, one would still never see a red dog. (At least, not the type of red that is Clifford's trademark.) Not only does it set him apart from other dogs, but it also gives him a very strange look, generally. Traditionally, the color red is used to suggest antagonism, especially in anime. When you see an anime character with red eyes, for example, you know that person is bound to be an enemy. Clifford is no different -- his size, paired with the weird color of his fur, elicits fearful reactions. Even though the audience, and readers of the book, know that Clifford is gentle, seeing him in live-action definitely makes him look more like a kaiju than a normal, household pet.
In addition, dogs are notably powerful creatures, even at their normal size. Dog bites are treated with strict consequences and children learn to be gentle and cautious around dogs. At Clifford's size, he could cause severe devastation to buildings, entire cities, and people. It would take very little for Clifford to accidentally hurt someone, which doesn't exactly fit in with the PG theme of the new movie.
Even without taking Clifford's actual personality into account, the giant red dog can definitely be classified as a kaiju. Every external aspect of Clifford fits more into the kaiju genre than it does for other out-of-place animals. And if that wasn't enough, the trailer teases that Clifford causes a lot of mayhem in the new movie, which is a staple for any good kaiju. While the movie will likely err on the side of Clifford being a lovable giant, it's absolutely noteworthy that he fits right into the kaiju genre. Perhaps the MonsterVerse might get a new addition soon.