Paramount via Elevation Pictures – Spin Master / Paramount
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Paw Patrol: The Movie
Cal Brunker directs
Written by Cal Brunker. Bob Barlen. Billy Frolick.
This program features the voices of Jimmy Kimmel and Will Brisbin.
Classification G; 89 minutes
Canadian theatres open Aug. 20
I’m not sure that Paw Patrol: The Movie benefits, or even requires, a review. Faced with a never-ending volley of questions from your own child – “When can we see the Paw Patrol movie? When can we see the Paw Patrol movie? WHEN. CAN. WE. SEE. THE. PAW. PATROL. MOVIE???” – are you really going to answer that it all depends on the film’s Rotten Tomatoes score? You already know if Paw Patrol: The Movie is for you. I can only help you prepare for the inevitable.
So: Paw Patrol: The Movie is … fine. On a scale of one to 10 pups (I realize that we’ve dealt away with stars here at The Globe and Mail, but forgive me this one tress-paw-s), I give it a solid six yelps for help. It is slightly smarter than a typical episode on the animated small-screen Canadian-made show. In Paw Patrol-ese, it is the Zuma of the franchise: so inoffensive and eager to please that you’ll forget it exists by the time that you finish reading this sentence.
Paramount via Elevation Pictures.
Unlike the 44-minute Paw Patrol adventure Ready Race Rescue that was released theatrically in 2019, Paw Patrol: The Movie is a real-deal big-budget animated feature film that, visually speaking, goes far beyond the no-frills CGI of the series’ 11-minute episodes. Every detail in this Paw Patrol world has been done with great care, while maintaining the familiarity of the characters. Children will still recognize Ryder, the young tech-wizard (voiced and narrated by Will Brisbin), as well as his army of first-responder pet soldiers.friends/indentured servitors. They will also notice how much Paw Patrol’s world looks more luxurious, slicker, and more expensive.
Plot-wise, too, the film is a slight step up from the series’ repetition-heavy antics. Leaving the comfortable environs of Adventure Bay, the whole crew heads to the go-go-go Adventure City, where the moustache-twirling Mayor Humdinger (Ron Pardo) is set on turning everyone’s lives upside-down. Chase experiences post-traumatic stress after meeting Liberty (MarsaiMartin), their brave new canine friend. It all stems from his early days living in the metropolis. A handful of celebrity parents (Jimmy Kimmel Tyler Perry, Kim Kardashian, etc.) are able to impress their children. kidsYou can voice comic-relief characters.
Paramount via Elevation Pictures.
Canadian director Cal Brunker (The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature) and his team are clearly aiming not only for Paw Patrol’s preschool set, but also viewers who have since aged out of the show and might be dragged to the film by the desires of their younger siblings. The rescue scenes are just that more intense, the script’s pro-social themes that much more subtle. We’re still a long, long way from the heights of animation titan Pixar. But you (parents, that is, not whichever five-year-old might have a Globe subscription) might also put your phone down for a stretch to see just what’s happening on-screen. At the very least, you’ll see which toys you’ll soon have to buy. Yelp!
In the interest of consistency across all critics’ reviews, The Globe has eliminated its star-rating system in film and theatre to align with coverage of music, books, visual arts and dance. Instead, works of excellence will be noted with a Critic’s Pick designation across all coverage.