Woof 237: An Interstellar Game of Ball Chase

After a brief respite to recuperate from the narrowing thought trail of dog murder, our optimism was in need of refueling. Having focused too heavily on their mortality, we had began to lose focus on the spiritual gift that dogs have given us. Thinking big was the right move, real big. What is more grand and opposed to death than questioning the very life of dogs?

From the end back to the beginning, we had to discuss the origin of dogs to discover the origin of dog movies. Mount your cork boards and unravel your red string because we’re unraveling the mounting discovery of humanity’s future guided through canine past.

“There is a ferret in this movie voiced by Amy Sedaris.”

Devon: I thought that perhaps there’s some benefit to our investigation in going back to the very beginning. Follow the clues, tie the red string together, and discover an origin story akin to Prometheus. Let’s just get right to the mystery box at hand, and throw this out like Seinfeld himself would, where do dogs come? What is the deal?

Alexander: Sure, sounds good! Although, I’ve never actually seen Prometheus, oops.

Devon: Its… alright. Good showreel for the cinematographer, that’s for sure. There’s a compliment to be had there, that Ridley Scott can design a solid computer wallpaper.

Alexander: I always thought it looked nice from the promotional material, I was just not up for getting that involved in the lore.

Devon: The film isn’t too interested in that either.

Alexander: I have no clue what dogs are. The only one that I can sort of explain is pugs; they’re old as all hell and from China. Dog as a concept? I’m no Alan Grant out there digging up dog bones.

Devon: We potentially have China as a setting, then. Not that we’re pitching another original story, but that’s at least different than the suburbs from the One Week video that every other dog film is set in. You would think the best archaeologists would be dogs.

Alexander: Disappointing and shocking there aren’t more dog archaeologists. I guess they just don’t care about their history, maybe they’re evolution deniers.

Devon: A discussion piece I had never considered. There’s story material right there to chew into, if we’re talking Prometheus origins then, perhaps the dogs just aren’t telling us something. It’s entirely possible they know that our concept of evolution is utter bullshit, at least for the canine species.

Alexander: There are chances that dogs are not of earthly origin? Like Gonzo in Muppets from Space.

Devon: Very possible, or to continue my extremely narrow reference push, the Engineers in the Alien franchise. There’s some kind of big, bald, blue doggie that became our dogs…?

Alexander: Having not seen Prometheus, big, bald, and blue simply makes me think of Tobias. There was something before dogs that then evolved, or devolved, into them?

Devon: The science boys suggest dogs were once wolves once, no? Wolves, of course, come from werewolves, who then come from… wait, us? Did that come from monkey men becoming dogs rather than proper people? Stupid Darwin maths, the only way it makes any possible sense is if dogs were an alien strain! My uncle ain’t no monkey, my uncle’s uncle ain’t no monkey, and my dog sure ain’t no monkey.

Alexander: The wolf theory is too obvious. Just because they look alike; some trees look like lampposts, doesn’t mean they’re related. I believe there is another strain, dogs can’t not be wolfie’s uncle. Dog’s are definitely not monkeys, we’ve worked this much out, otherwise Planet of the Apes would be adorable. Imagine being the uncle of a member of The Monkees? Then you literally would be a Monkee’s uncle.

Devon: Save that for your twitter, mate. Real conversation here, we’re not in the foam corner!

Alexander: I got over-excited, we want people to think, not laugh themselves to death.

Devon: We are having a lot of talk on what aren’t dogs, which is fine and dandy, but what are dogs? We’re venturing along some path of logic here; they’re alien in nature, we know that much. Let’s make a slight adjustment in trajectory; was this a completely arbitrary co-existence as they rode along a space rock, or were they planted right here deliberately?

Alexander: It could’ve been an accident, they were searching for evidence that the universe is bone shaped, maybe they saw our blue marble called Earth and instinct kicked in like an interstellar game of ball chase.

Devon: There’s something then that concerns me, even if they came here via accident; why are they man’s best friend? What is their motive? They could just be biding their time, right by our feet in a cute snuggled roll! When overbearing pet owners say their pets own them, there may well be some insidious unintentional truth. They could simply be using us as a piss stop before they hop over to another planet.

History we do know; in 1957, the Russians did shoot the dog Laika into space. This may very well be their closest attempt at returning back into the cosmos, we can only pray their intentions are benevolent after Earth becomes the old dog house.

Alexander: 2001: A Space Odyssey; an alien race sends the monolith to Earth to gauge humankind’s progress. Maybe the dogs stayed on to monitor us and see how we progress? They’re taking notes on us, and once we perfect the ability to travel to Planet of the Pups, that’s when they know we’re worthy of existence.

Devon: That is kind of, almost, maybe, the plot of Prometheus, too. Though the alien there didn’t seem too pleased we followed the conveniently left map. A very different and strange relationship here, though, more equal and beneficial like in Arrival.

Once we discover their planet, what is our power balance with them? We’ve been led to comfortably believe we’re the masters this entire time, in that regard maybe our final test in humanity would be whether or not we try to leash and own them. Enslaved on their home planet by the race they’ve so consciously raised and befriended.

Alexander: Perhaps it’s that dogs were always willing to be equals with us. Our bastard hubris caused us to enslave them, essentially, and they’re so good and patient that they accepted it. Once on their turf, they’ll impart to us the knowledge that we are truly equal.

Devon: If our hubris allows that. I can’t imagine the consequences if we try to conquer them, at which point, they reveal the true influential power they’ve had over our civilisation this entire allegiance. They abandon us and we’re suddenly thrown back into the dark ages, a global unconscious link unplugged that degrades our very society. We have explored how pets are an emotional mirror that reflects our humanity, without them we’d be blind.

Alexander: Why do you think your people houses look so much like dog houses? Every major development of humanity is predated by dog developments. Everything in our culture is co-opted and influenced from indigenous dog culture.

Devon: Human beds are basically just big dog beds. Dog food comes in cans, so does ours. Dogs love to play with balls, all of our sports involve balls.

Alexander: They are a powerful, benevolent species; going from lonely planet to lonely planet, encouraging culture growth and multiculturalism, and all they want in return is be our best friend. This went a lot more smoothly than Prometheus.

Devon: They know they’ve succeeded when we’ve come together as a species to perfect space flight and connect with their true potential in the reaches of the universe. Once we build it, we will come, to their planet, not a baseball field.

Alexander: Again, they like to carry sticks as a sport, we do the same. They gave us sticks! Things to eat out of too, bowls in particular; before that we just poured soup right into our naked laps. I couldn’t go back to that. Let’s never war with the planet of the dogs! We need them more than we realise! We can not go back to bowl-less soup! Although the burn cream companies loved the pre-bowl era.

Devon: Now that we know where dogs legitimately come from, let’s not forget this is an article on canine cinema. Are some of the different dogs we’ve seen on screen representative of what they could become, or what they’ve been all along? In the ways of human speech, fortunate adventures, and general, deliberate mischief.

Alexander: I think they are the truest representations of what dogs are. We might go fawn at how cute the sight is of a dog playing basketball, talking like us, or even becoming a member of the police force. In fact, the portrayals of dogs where they don’t add much value to our society, like Beethoven, are the least progressive and most unrealistic.

Devon: Those are the ones truly directed by arrogant and short sighted man. In relation to dog movies, I have the wiki open for Space Buddies. There are some Armageddon set-pieces in this, as in downright the exact same sequence where they connect to a Soviet ship to refuel and narrowly avoid a huge space explosion.

Alexander: I’m not sure in this narrative what purpose the dogs have to go into space, but I hope it has something to do with deflecting a meteor.

Devon: Oh, they literally end up in the ship launch accidentally; the first act and establishing plot point is very lighthearted for the journey ahead. At one point, however, someone at home base attempts to remotely steer their ship into the path of a meteor shower. The motive is strangely absent, they dodge it, and he gets arrested in what is a strange, arbitrary second act.

Alexander: I don’t like that they end up there via accident. That gives the dogs no agency; in reality, they’d be smart enough to stay clear, and as much as I like the image of a dog being blasted into deep space, I just don’t think it would happen.

Devon: From what the summary provides, they are active protagonists in their narrative; while their youthful owner boy is on a school trip to a shuttle launch, they tag along to watch it themselves. They do deliberately choose to be there, their own actions lead them into the shuttle just prior to launch, and potentially through performances we can read into their motivations.

Alexander: Maybe they were there to quietly oversee things, then, to make sure we didn’t mess up our venture into the cosmos too badly.

Devon: You are very much on the same wavelength as they do make contact with a Soviet dog, which I can only assume has been up there since the Cold War. To the naive humans back in Houston, this is all a goofy mishap, but there is intentional conspiring occurring above us.

Alexander: Makes you wonder what would happen to the person who uncovered the dog’s plans. They’re surely too friendly to permanently silence anyone, but they’d have to figure out how to keep someone quiet.

Devon: Imagine the chomp on those nads. Maybe bit on the bottom, now my bottom’s big.

Alexander: A classic junk munch? That makes sense, it would shut me up. The good thing is who would believe anyone who tried to explain this conspiracy? He’d get the classic set up for the, “what’s he been smoking?” comedy pause from everyone.

Devon: I should also note, there is a ferret in this movie voiced by Amy Sedaris.

Alexander: Terrific! They do get surprisingly decent people to voice animals in these ridiculous movies. Oscar winner Don Ameche was Shadow in Homeward Bound.

Devon: Hmm, to move immediately on from that aside and onto another but excuse me, where is space?

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Alexander: I guess Canada is so out of this world that they felt the audience wouldn’t notice.

Devon: I suppose there’s a logic to the three dimensional geography in that it could be set in Canada. Just really, really high up.

Alexander: It makes me realise we’ve never seen a space movie where any of it was filmed in space, and I’m including the Apollo 11 footage. Space Buddies should’ve been the first to actually accomplish this feat, given the dogs traveled down here in the first place.

Devon: It might’ve been; those dogs won’t declassify the production notes.

Alexander: The most sought after studio files! Once the buddies pass away, it’ll be released like Kurt Cobain’s diaries, and then the whole truth will come out. Do you think Kubrick got help from the canine companions?

Devon: The possibility of that definitely throws Room 237 into the garbage for missing the most real world affecting conspiracy connected to The Shining. Those pretentious, yet near-sighted, idiots, so preoccupied with Kubrick’s supposed genius that they didn’t even consider the genius of a bog standard Labrador.

Alexander: Until our expose Woof 237 is released, we just need to guard our gennies intently. If I even so much as see a dog, I’m instinctively guarding those soft boys. Public gen-emy no. 1.

Devon: If there’a any conclusion we can gather from this that could aid our continued articles, it’s that we now know where dogs come from and their influence on the entertainment industry. Does that answer our overall thesis on why there are so many dog movies?

Alexander: I have to say, it nearly does. We know they’ve helped advance our culture and technology, so it could be understood that all of these dog films are an ode to them. Even if we can’t allow ourselves to acknowledge that we owe it all to them, we give them the quiet nod that is the dog film.

Devon: From the collective unconscious, the truth is too much to bare, but if we wrap it in the illusion it’s all fiction we can accept it that way. #TheTruthIsOutThere

Alexander: It may sound barking mad, but it’s the truth that we’re too proud to admit.

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