Imagine, if you will, a world without Lassie. What’s that, you say? We’re living in it? Well, yes. But this weekend, Lassie returns, after a more-than-five-year absence. (Lois Lane has, once again, moved on, this time with a bipolar Shitzu.)
So Lassie’s coming back, in a film designed to return the story to its English roots. (The American TV series cheesed up the old girl.) But what kind of world will she find waiting for her? A world too jaded for Lassie perhaps? Instead of finding Timmy down a well, she’ll discover Saddam in a spider hole or Dick Cheney in his undisclosed location. (Once a year, I am allowed to channel the rhythmic nonsense of Maureen Dowd.)
Seriously, though: Has the world outgrown (or rather, mutated away from) the story of a loyal collie and her boy? This summer, kids’ movies have been especially violent, intense and adult-themed. (I’d never take my imaginary 8-year-old to Monster House, even though it’s perhaps the best-written, best-directed blockbuster of the summer.) Will the fall bring a return to gentleness?
I think Lassie’s got a shot. Why? Because I am a giant sap. Because kids love dogs. Because we find it easier to cry for an innocent canine than for our fellow bastard. The world doesn’t deserve you, Lassie. But we might need you, just the same. [EDITOR’S NOTE: (sniff)]