The Queen’s Corgi (2019) Review

There’re so many problematic aspects to “The Queen’s Corgi” it’s kind of baffling it ever made it to cinema screens. A cute cartoon fable about the Queen’s beloved pets may seem like a slam-dunk for the Saturday kid’s club crowd and, if you’re determined to see it, it’s definitely worth waiting for it to reach the bargain screening circuit. Nobody should pay full price to see this.

At its core, it’s a story of Rex (Jack Whitehall), an adorable but arrogant Corgi who lets being the ‘top dog’ go to his head and ends up in the doghouse, stranded outside the Palace and at the mercy of the ferocious leader of the pack at the local dog pound. So far, so predictable.

Where “The Queen’s Corgi” surprises is in its decision to include in cutesy cartoon form the undeniably divisive figure of President Trump and his current wife, especially as it involves the real-life self-confessed sexual predator in a sub-plot about mating his (fictional) Corgi with one of the Queen’s pets, a storyline rife with casual coercion and ‘comic’ canine sexual assault. From that tawdry and uncomfortable opening, we progress onwards to the meat of the plot which sees Rex encounter an underground illegal dogfighting ring operating at the Pound.

Add in a couple of pretty scary sequences involving nearly getting run over, a surprisingly graphic near-drowning and an attempted murder by arson and you start to understand why this European production has been rated PG when its subject should be an easy-U. It earns it.

Some of this will, of course, pass over the heads of younger children, at least on a conscious level, but there’s such a nasty undertone to the whole movie that you should be thinking twice about seeing it. The Littlest Craggling enjoyed the cute dogs and seeing The Queen, whom she had been learning about in school and, to be fair, most of the palace-based stuff is good harmless fun, except for anything involving the Trumps. The disturbing Trump subtext passed her by, thankfully, but she didn’t much like the the dog fighting or the attempted murder by arson.

To UK children, of course, Donald Trump is something of a distant, already cartoonish figure, if possibly a bit of a bogeyman. However the casual humanisation and normalising of a figure like Trump is a dangerous and slippery slope (as Jimmy Kimmel can attest to) and sets an unpleasant precedent for future ‘family entertainment’. The fact that it pokes fun at him up to and including him getting bitten in the dick by a Corgi doesn’t mitigate his appearance, it just makes it all the more inappropriate.

I’m genuinely surprised this has been allowed to pass without comment from the Royal Household but perhaps they hope it will quickly fade into obscurity. This, though, would benefit from a more activist Royal prerogative: this is a movie which should be consigned to The Tower for the rest of time.