Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Boy and His Dog * * *

A Boy and His Dog is a 1975 low budget post-apocalyptic science fiction movie based upon a novel by Harlan Ellison, who is known for writing edgy science fiction.  It takes place in an alternate timeline where man never went to the moon, but chose to develop other technology instead.  After an apocalypse, a few humans live above ground in a kill-or-be-killed world that has little respect for life or dignity.  The boy is a teenager, played by a young Don Johnson, who knows how to live by these rules.  His dog is the result of a lab experiment, and is smarter than the boy and they communicate telepathically.  The dog acts a mentor to the boy.  Apparently there are other dogs that also have this ability.

The teenager come across a young lady in a state of undress and attempts to rape her.  They don't get very far because they are interrupted by a band of murderous thugs.  When the boy successfully defends the young lady from the gang, she temporarily becomes his lover.  But it turns out that she is bait to lure him into an underground city, which is like a Utopian madhouse (not that different from The Prisoner) ruled by religious zealots, who use a deadly android to enforce their tyranny.  The underground rulers want the boy for their own sinister purposes. 

The boy and the girl escape the underground city, but in a controversial twist ending he has to choose between the life of the girl and the life of his dog.  The fact that she tried to lure him into a deadly trap didn't help her cause.

This movie is not going to appeal to most people.  The 1975 trailer (which is worth a look) refers to the movie as "a rather kinky tale of survival."  The somewhat misogynist ending turned off some critics.  But if you like science fiction, or survival films, or post apocalyptic movies, or Mad Max films, then this movie might appeal to you.  I found the first 30 minutes to be rather slow, but I liked everything after that.  The movie is available on Netflix streaming.

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