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Review: Animated ‘Chance’ takes on dog fighting with overly earnest yet well-intended spirit

Review: Animated ‘Chance’ takes on dog fighting with overly earnest yet well-intended spirit
Chance in a scene from the animated movie "Chance." (Arconyx Animation Studios)

The CG animated feature “Chance” is a well-intended but heavy-handed denunciation of the barbaric blood sport of dog fighting.

The title character (voiced by Will Canon) is a dreamer of a pit bull, who believes in a canine god and a peaceful place where “Hatonas” (dogs) can live idyllic lives. Taken from his mother as a puppy, Chance is forced to fight and kill other dogs in the ring to entertain “Krots” (humans).

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The other dogs Chance befriends initially dismiss his beliefs, but his sincerity wins them over. After numerous battles, deaths and escapes, he ends his last fight by leading the dogs in the arena in a Spartacus-like revolt against their owners.

Unfortunately, the animation is too limited and weightless to convey the movements of the dog characters believably. Nor do the animators create the nuanced expressions needed to bring life to the often on-the-nose dialogue. Director Kenny Roy’s use of mime and slow-motion sequences only highlights the limits of the animation.

Although dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states, the ASPCA estimates that tens of thousands of dogs are brutalized and killed every year in the U.S., with the highest numbers in Florida and California. The filmmakers’ righteous anger is palpable, and screenwriter Kenny Young has partnered with Anti-Dogfighting Campaign International to work to end the cruel practice. But the filmmakers might have made their case more effectively with a documentary, rather than an animated fantasy.

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‘Chance’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Noho 7, North Hollywood

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