Bill Plympton’s Dog Days
directed by Bill Plympton
Ironically, the more animation becomes a part of the film industry, the harder it is for an independent animator to make a living, much less establish a reputation. With Hollywood relying more and more on 3D military-grade engineering software and giant rendering farms, Bill Plympton is a refreshing taste of intelligently written and artfully inked cel animation. Dog Days is an update to his best-selling Plymptoons, and collects Plympton’s recent animations, commissions, and videos. The centerpiece of the disc is the dog trilogy, consisting of “Guard Dog,” “Guide Dog,” and “Hot Dog.” All three revolve around how an overweight, nippy, drooling dog misinterprets the world and gets into Looney Tunes-grade trouble. You’ve seen little dogs freak out at the sight of a robin or a baby duck, here’s some insight into what goes on in their microscopic brains.
Backing that up are some music videos, including “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Don’t Download This Song.” It’s a reminder not to mess with the RIAA, and after their recent victories, they are likely to make the Cosa Nostra look gentle. Another video comes from rapper Kanye West with Plympton’s sketched animations providing the back story to a ghetto saga. There’s a United Airlines commercial and promo videos for the Newport and the Delray Film Festivals. This is a nice collection, and if you liked Plymptoons, this is a must have.
Plympton rose to prominence in the early ’80s with Face, an absurd exploration of all the horrible things you could do to a human face while it sang a corny old song. While it didn’t make him rich, it made him famous, and he’s achieved an artistic standing that combines steady production, numerous awards, and a good chance he will make his rent check every month. His secret? Make it funny, make it fast, and make it cheap. I’ll settle for funny.