Paw Patrol: The Movie, by Cameron J. Czaja

Hello everyone! For those who are wondering, yes, I am still part of The Legionnaire, and I still plan on writing reviews down the road. I do apologize for my absence as I’ve had a crazy work schedule, working eight days in a row at one point, and I had no weekend days off in the entire month of August. To quote the film Nightcrawler (2014), “If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy the ticket.” Hopefully, I can review that film in the future, but today I present to you a treat of a film I saw that made me question the future of our youth, which is Paw Patrol: The Movie. Sigh. . . .

Unless you have kids or are associated with them via family, then you probably have no clue what Paw Patrol: The Movie is all about. My only exposure to that franchise, other than seeing their merchandise from walking billboards, er, I mean kids, with their clothing and toys, was the trailer for the movie. This wasn’t planned as I saw it when viewing Space Jam: A New Legacy. Also, I know what you’re thinking, and no, I did not see this in a theater. Fortunately, like most streaming services that are doing same day release (i.e. HBO Max), this film was available to watch on Paramount Plus, another streaming service to which I fell victim. Thankfully, I only spent a small fee for a year’s worth of streaming, and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to subject myself to an eighty-six-minute commercial. Was this somewhat decent? As usual let’s find out. 

Paw Patrol: The Movie starts in a small town called Adventure Bay with a truck driver (voiced by Tyler Perry) getting into an accident as he tries to avoid a family of turtles crossing the street. He is hanging over the town’s suspension bridge and starts yelling for help, which grabs the attention Cap’n Turbot (voiced by Ron Pardo), who is oblivious to the gravity of the situation. When the truck driver begs Cap’n Turbot for emergency service, he contacts the Paw Patrol to save the day. This group of search and rescue dogs consists of the following: there’s Chase (voiced by Iain Armitage), a German Shepherd who serves as a police pup; Rubble (voiced by Keegan Hedley), a bulldog who is a construction canine; Skye (voiced by Lilly Bartlam), a cockapoo who act as an aviator dog; Marshall (voiced by Kingsley Marshall), a dalmatian who is the firefighter of the pack; Rocky (voiced by Callum Shoniker), a mixed-breed who is the recycler; and Zuma (voiced by Shayle Simons) who performs aquatic rescues. All of these dogs are led by Ryder (voiced by Will Brisbin), who sends them on regular missions which includes saving the truck driver from the beginning. After completing this task, they get a call from Liberty (voiced by Marsai Martin), who is a dachshund that lives in Adventure City. Liberty informs them that the Paw Patrol’s archenemy, Mayor Humdinger (voiced by Ron Pardo), has been elected mayor of Adventure City and she needs their help due to his infamous wrong-doings from the series. Ryder and the dogs are up for the job in Adventure City, however Chase doesn’t want to go due to having a “history” in the city when he was a younger pup. After a motivational speech from Ryder, him and the Paw Patrol set out for Adventure City. When they get there, they settle into their new headquarters in the middle of town and from there the Paw Patrol assert themselves in situations caused by Mayor Humdinger, such as a fireworks show going haywire, a subway line built like a roller coaster (in the middle of the city mind you), and a weather machine that sucks up clouds. Yes, you read that right.

I think it’s pretty obvious by now, but I’ll say it anyway, I did not care for Paw Patrol: The Movie. I know, shocker, right?  I had a good guess that I wouldn’t enjoy it, but I was hoping to find some value in it, whether from a Catholic perspective and/or a life lesson that small children can benefit from. Short answer: there is but it’s overshadowed by the mountain of questions about the logic in this film. Yes, I know it’s a children’s film, but still.

If you’ve read some of my reviews on The Legionnaire, then you’re probably aware that I’m a fan of animated films. Much like musicals, they allow the narrative to be somewhat loose with logic and do its own thing. Paw Patrol: The Movie, however, kept making me ask questions throughout the film, but not in a philosophical way that makes people think critically. For example, why are the dogs the only animals that talk? Why is Ryder (a ten-year-old, mind you) in charge of this canine search and rescue force where he drives (yes drives) them around Adventure City? How do they have already have a headquarters in the city on short notice? How did Mayor Humdinger get elected so easily and how did he do get approval for some of his stunts like the roller coaster train in the city? Why are all these dogs still puppies when they have been doing these missions for years? And my biggest question, which I’m embarrassed that I only realized at the end of the film, is where are all the emergency services in this film that are human?! Not counting the one in Adventure Bay, there were at least four incidents that required emergency services and there isn’t a cop car or ambulance in sight. I can somewhat understand if this is a small town like Adventure Bay, but Adventure City is a metropolis, and yet somehow they’ve been incident free until the Paw Patrol showed up. I know it’s a children’s show, which is why I’m not as hard on it as I want to be. At the same time, I’ve seen G rated films and shows that not only have more logic than this, but they’re also not a big commercial. This last bit is ironic as the films that I’m mostly thinking of are Disney.

I did mention that there is some value in Paw Patrol: The Movie that children will take in and I wouldn’t be doing my job on The Legionnaire if I didn’t mention it. Much like superheroes in comic book films or the action hero in a blockbuster, there is a moment where Chase must take a leap of faith to overcome an obstacle as he lost his confidence when got to Adventure City. He then gains it back when he has to save Ryder at the end of the film. I know that isn’t much of a Christian angle, but this film wasn’t giving me much to work with in general.

If this was a PG rated animated film with unnecessary amounts of crude humor that I would rip Paw Patrol: The Movie a new one. But because it’s a G rated children’s film that already has a built-in audience, it’s something I can’t be too tough on. In the ‘90s I had the Power Rangers, and if I was a kid today, I would probably be a fan of Paw Patrol to where I would be begging my parents for merchandise as this franchise is one big commercial for toys. I’m just not looking forward to the sequel, which I know they’re going to make because this made over $100 million in a pandemic, while this was also available to stream, against a $26 million budget. Sigh. . . . 

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