A Chradvent Carolendar #17: An All Dogs Christmas Carol (1998)

An All Dogs Christmas Carol is the third film in the All Dogs Go To Heaven franchise (which I haven’t seen) and the grand finale of the All Dogs animated series (which I haven’t seen). As such I found it completely incomprehensible. I‘m sure this could’ve been avoided had I been more familiar with All Dogs Cinematic Universe but there was absolutely no way I was going to sit through 2 films and 40 episodes of a shitty cartoon series just to appreciate whatever the fuck this was a bit better, Chradvent is already killing me as it is.

Like the original FrankensteinAn All Dogs Christmas Carol is a story within a story. This is the only comparison to Frankenstein I will make and there are no other similarities but I’ll still include it because it pads for 40 words.

What else… it was released straight to DVD and Don Bluth was not involved in any way.

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I… ugh. I really don’t want to do this.

Annabelle is some sort of angelic whippet who is reading a story to the assorted puppies of Heaven. We are repeatedly reassured that this is a true story and the one responsible for it was: B̺̹EL͈̮̞ͅL̰̥͖̟A̙͙̥͔͈D̮̖͈O̝͟N͖N̛̤̻̤̩̤̟͕A̴̩̯̲̠̰

Nope, me neither. 

ROLL CREDITS

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Dom DeLuise? The Dom DeLuise

We get a pretty bland opening number as the dogs of San Francisco set up their Christmas tree.

I have no idea who any of them are. Tiny Tim is some dog with a bad leg.

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From the few clips I’ve seen of the original I don’t remember everything looking so bland and shitty as it does here. Look at this:

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Compare it to this scene from the first film:

What a pivot. 

This is underpinned by the film’s bad guy, Carface Crothers.

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Compare and contrast:

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What a fucking pivot. 

Carface summons Shenron the Eternal Dragon with what we later learn is a hypnotic dog whistle.

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He uses this to steal everyone’s PRECIOUS BONES and makes off with them. He also makes off with the collection tin for Tiny Tim’s operation. 

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That character you see at the front there, unceremoniously dumping his PRECIOUS BONES onto the pile, was the main character of the last two films. He gets maybe twenty minutes of screen time maximum. 

The dogs come to their senses after Carface leaves and decide NO. The PRECIOUS BONES are theirs. They break into Carface’s house where he’s counting gold coins (presumably he went to one of those Cash4Bones shops in downtown San Francisco) and demand Carface give return Tiny Tim’s collection tin alongside the PRECIOUS BONES. Carface says he’d love to chat but “his boss won’t let [him]”. 

This heralds the entrance of B̺̹EL͈̮̞ͅL̰̥͖̟A̙͙̥͔͈D̮̖͈O̝͟N͖N̛̤̻̤̩̤̟͕A̴̩̯̲̠̰, demonic sister of Annabelle. 

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What a sucky, nothing design. Don Bluth would’ve never settled for that. He’d have drawn something like this:

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I think this movie is making me retroactively like Don Bluth a lot more than I actually do. Also, Belladonna isn’t really Carface’s boss – it’s clearly some sort of freelance situation in the vein of Uber.

She unveils a grand scheme to steal everyone’s presents by hypnotising all the dogs using a massive oversized version of the whistle Carface used earlier. It’s not really on the same level as this, is it?

Scared away by B̺̹EL͈̮̞ͅL̰̥͖̟A̙͙̥͔͈D̮̖͈O̝͟N͖N̛̤̻̤̩̤̟͕A̴̩̯̲̠̰’s immense demonic presence, Dom DeLuise and the other dog run away down a secret hatch (???) that leads into some sewers (?????) 

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But… the front door was open… you opened it… how did you know that going through this trapdoor would allow you to….

Maybe this was a callback to a previous escapade that I missed. I optimistically checked both the Alldogsgotoheaven wiki and the Don Bluth wiki and no, it’s not. Also, far more importantly, in the second film we see Carface die and go to Hell. Guess he just CAME BACK!

The dogs (I don’t know their names) then receive a vision from Annabelle (the good one) who explains that they need to stop B̺̹EL͈̮̞ͅL̰̥͖̟A̙͙̥͔͈D̮̖͈O̝͟N͖N̛̤̻̤̩̤̟͕A̴̩̯̲̠̰ (the bad one) from her evil, wicked scheme to steal everyone’s Christmas presents. 

But why did Carface steal all the bones? Oh, whatever.

Annabelle then says she is not allowed to interfere but gifts the main dog, the one who isn’t Dom DeLuise, a “miracle dog tag”. It quickly becomes clear that this grants the wearer COMPLETE AND TOTAL OMNIPOTENCE.

The dogs decide to fake three Christmas Carol-like visitations for Carface and by fake I mean make happen literally. You might think that it’d be fun to see how the dogs convincingly fake a haunting well enough to make a villain turn over a new leaf, but no. Using the power of the Doomsday Medallion they hijack Carface’s television and pull him inside of it, sending him back in time. This scene also has some of the suckiest animation I’ve seen yet.

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During that 6 second clip he says the following:

“In this story you will be visited by three ghosts. Each will arrive by the chiming of a bell, hmm?”

There’s absolutely no sync between his actions and the words whatsoever. Why won’t he stop moving? There’s no shading, everything’s brown and his eyes. are. dead.

Dog DeLuise is the first ghost. In Carface’s past we see him as a puppy, a “heckraiser”, who eventually gets turfed out onto the streeets because he pissed behind the Christmas tree. Truly a relatable story. 

For the Ghost of Present, he gets pulled into the radio. What next, a fucking gramaphone? Truly the malevolent forces of the Shadow Amulet act in stupid, confusing ways.

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Who’s the Ghost of Present?

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Uhh… who?

The Alldogsgotoheaven wiki says she’s called Sasha – stupid name for a dog – and she’s Charlie’s on and off girlfriend. She’s in on this now? I guess Charlie’s the dog who isn’t Dom DeLuise?

Whoever they all are, Carface is taken to see Tiny Tim, whose owner doesn’t rat him out for breaking a plate. This makes Carface break down into tears.

We also get some more context on Tim’s illness: he has a bad leg. This will still kill him, we learn. Even so, why are the dogs collecting for Tim despite the fact he has human owners? Even if the dogs managed to raise the thousands of dollars presumably necessary how would they explain it to the owners? Whatever.

Carface is sucked into a comic book and the main dog is the Ghost of Future. For some reason the whole segment is an allusion to the 1994 Jim Carrey film The Mask.

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He starts with “It’s showtime!” and it carries on in that same way for a while. It’s all very weird.

Instead of showing anyone’s tombstone or empty crutch, Ipkiss’ divinely bestowed future vision shows the effects of the giant hypnotic dog whistle being activated. Under its spell, Tim carries a present out of the house and Carface repents, saying that Tim will be kicked out for this! It can’t go on!

Hang on a second guys, I see a flaw in B̺̹EL͈̮̞ͅL̰̥͖̟A̙͙̥͔͈D̮̖͈O̝͟N͖N̛̤̻̤̩̤̟͕A̴̩̯̲̠̰’s plan. Sorry to break up the flow. Hypnotising the dogs won’t get her all the presents in San Francisco, it will get her all the presents that each individual dog can carry in its mouth out of the dog flap. At best she’s going to end up with a few stocking fillers and a Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

Also, having been granted total omniscience of the future, can’t the main dog use his new knowledge to educate himself on the flaws of her machine? Can’t he trap her in a television or a radio or something? Can’t they just destroy the device? Why leave a margin of error? What if Carface doesn’t reform? What if it makes no difference if he does? For that matter, what role does he play in Belladonna’s plan? He’s completely surplus to requirements. The construction of the giant whistle is already completed by Christmas morning without his help and all he actually gets to do when it comes to it is pull the lever.

And pull the lever he does. Three visitations indeed. Stupid idea. 1998l.png

Couldn’t Belladonna have just done that? She’s not doing anything else. In the end Carface redeems himself by blowing up the giant whistle, though I’m not entirely sure how. 

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He connects the barrel to its power source which turns it red hot and causes it to explode, I think? Also the lightning cel overlaps the cel it’s meant to be behind oops.

That’s the end really. The dogs gather back under the Christmas tree and Carface returns the presents and Tim’s collection tin, which he has now filled. 

One of the dogs remarks 

“This will be a story to repeat for years to come.”

You’re telling me, mate.

Carface says :

“Don’t expect this to last for long, I have a business to run.”

And Sasha replies with 

“Well at least it lasted for a day.”

It’s always a sign of quality when your Scrooge says he’s only going to be nice for the remainder of the film. I guess they wanted to milk his highly interesting character a bit more in series. They never did, it got cancelled and they never made a fourth movie. 

Then it’s back to Annabelle, who’s reading the story to the puppies in heaven. 

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Wait a minute – these puppies are dead, aren’t they? Why is Tiny Tim still living on this miserable Earth with a broken leg when he could be in eternal paradise? Guess it was all pointless.

This was bad, but it was for kids. You can forgive it a few things for that but being aimed at a younger audience is no excuse for mediocre storytelling and animation, especially when it’s a sequel to one of Don Bluth’s better movies. 

Whatever.

2 1/2 dogs whose names I never learnt out of 10


So, so lame. I think I may have even preferred The Flintstones one to this. At least with The Flintstones it’s not pretending to be a fucking horrifying Don Bluth film.

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