Sgt. Stubby

2018-09-14 06:49
 
A scene in from the movie, Sgt. Stubby.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

The incredible true story of America’s most decorated dog. After being rescued off the streets by a young Soldier on the eve of America’s entry in World War I, Stubby is given a home, a family, and the chance to embark on the adventure that will define a century.

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

It would have been interesting to have been at the pitch for this movie. “Let’s make a movie about WWI, but it’s animated and for kids.” But jokes aside, this educational film surprisingly is a great account of the war through the eyes of a dog that teaches kids about the war without traumatising them.

Choosing the dog – which is considered one of the most decorated dogs in US history – as its protagonist, you somehow end up with a story that’s both endearing and real about the horrors of war. But the whole movie you’re going to be stressed about anyone hurting that dog, as we all do with movie dogs.

An US army infantry starts training on the grounds of Yale University, when a street dog shows up and embeds himself as their mascot. He takes a particular shining to one soldier in particular – Robert Conroy (Logan Lerman) – who names him Stubby. He ends up smuggling himself onboard the ship when they head out to the trenches of France. Here Stubby proves himself to be an asset to the team, warning soldiers of incoming gas attacks and finding wounded in No Man’s Land.

While the movie may look more like a straight-to-tv film with animation that’s not exactly Pixar or Disney quality, its strength lies in its story. I was honestly surprised that I enjoyed watching it, and I think a big part of what made it watchable for adults is that the dog isn’t some fast-talking ruffian – it’s just a normal dog with normal dog behaviour, and this lends a lot of credibility to the accuracy of the rest of the film.

Reading up on Stubby’s real story, this is not one of those ‘based on a true story’ clichés but is for the most part completely true. WWI has always taken second place when it comes to WWII which has dominated war movies for a while, and thus I know less about that one than the second one.

If you’re thinking why you should take your child to see a war movie, think of it as an educational trip disguised as entertainment, and your kids won’t even see the difference. We should never shy away from the bloody parts of our history, and while there’s no blood or dead bodies in this war movie, they imply enough that’s it’s still impactful on the audience.

This is wholly a kids movie though and it would be odd to see adults watching this without their brood in tow, but it won’t drill a hole in your skull to watch it with your children and you might learn a few things yourself. It’s not going to beat out any Disney, Dreamworks, Laika or Illumination animation, but at least it’s not boring and you get to listen to Helena Bonham Carter narrate.

The age I would recommend for this movie is about 8 and up, as there’s still mature themes about war that might be disconcerting to younger kids. If your kids is a big history buff Sgt Stubby is definitely the movie for them. 

SPOILER:

The dog doesn’t die, in case you’re hesitant that you might inadvertently traumatise your kid, like Bambi.



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