It’s hard to hate something that does exactly what it says on the tin. Sure, one can accuse a towel horse of being visually unpleasant. But as long as that rack can keep a towel from taking over floor space, one can’t entirely detest it. And curiously enough, that’s where I’m at with PAW Patrol: The Movie. As someone who didn’t watch the tv series, I needed this movie to try to do one single thing: make an argument for why the small ones like it such a lot. Specifically, it had to point out cute, plushy dogs saving people in perilous situations. For all that the movie gets wrong, a minimum of it manages to urge that right.
In fact, sticking to a formula is what the movie does best. this is often a showcase of rescue dogs in action, which comes from the very fact they are doing it with style. Every single PAW Patrol member features a transforming vehicle, and that they are as elaborately crafted as they’re useful. for instance, there’s a fireplace truck with a ladder that will stretch to the space of several multi-story buildings. Furthermore, there’s a helicopter which will become a jet whenever it needs more power to fly. Quite honestly, it gets to some extent where these transformations are more of a spectacle than anything the dogs do. Still, none of it represents the film betraying its audience.
Of course, there’s a trade-off to relying this much on a formula: anything resembling a surprise withers away. this is often first apparent within the narrative that one can lay call at their sleep. Neighboring the PAW Patrol’s home base is Adventure City, where the newly appointed Mayor Humdinger (Ron Pardo) wants to switch it insignificant, dangerous ways. So it’s up to PAW Patrol leader Ryder (Will Brisbin) and his team of rescue dogs to prevent Humdinger from putting people in peril. Along the way, they are available across a dog named Liberty (Marsai Martin), who has an unwavering desire to hitch the team. And to complicate things further, key member Chase (Iain Armitage) starts to struggle together with his duties as his troubled past in Adventure City comes back to haunt him.
That’s tons of moving parts to cram into a brisk 88-minute runtime. And predictably, the filmmakers have a tough time juggling between them. It’s clear that screenwriters Billy Frolick, Cal Brunker, and Bob Barlen wanted to boost the standard “let’s stop the bad guy” narrative. But supported these results, all they did was make things worse. Nowhere is that this more obvious than in how it treats the Chase subplot. Firstly, this storyline pushes the opposite PAW Patrol members into the background. As a result, the movie has no chance of being a fun ensemble piece that provides everyone equal treatment. Secondly, the dive into Chase’s struggle is mightily shallow. Brunker, who also directs, does nothing to convey the character’s fear aside from putting generic pop songs into the soundtrack.
It says tons about PAW Patrol: The Movie that one among its most fascinating scenes comes from a scarcity of attention to detail. within the first major action scene, Ryder and therefore the dogs need to get people out of a burning building. And as long as they need a firetruck at their disposal, surely Ryder would observe the use of it. But that’s not what happens! Instead, Ryder instructs Chase of all dogs to travel to the building. It’s only Chase falls off the balcony of the burning building that the dog with the firetruck bothers to point out up. If this were any sensible writer, this is able to play call at a special fashion. But since these writers aren’t sensible, the result’s a scene so dimwitted that it actually becomes memorable.
I wish the shortage of freshness applied to the story and zip more. But because it seems, the staleness extends to the gags also. Sure, it’s nice that the majority of its running gags aren’t trying to play to the rock bottom common denominator. In fact, the foremost memorable running gag – Humdinger’s infinite supply of top hats – may be a perfectly adequate example of physical humor. However, having jokes that are in any way hilarious would be nicer, and that’s something PAW Patrol: The Movie refuses to possess. More often, the filmmakers are satisfied with crafting dog puns that can’t help but be cringeworthy. And while the highest hat gag is decent, the opposite major running gag – Humdinger’s two henchmen having a fit over who’s the higher one – is nothing in need of tiresome.
To its credit, the transition from television to film works to the movie’s benefit. I’ll not have seen a full episode, but I do know that the series didn’t have elaborate rendering. Meanwhile, the film has the maximum amount of polish as anything from the heavy-hitter animation studios. Although the character designs remain as soft as ever, the lighting and coloring are far more elaborate. due to that, there are action sequences with staging appropriate for a feature-length project. And when it doesn’t plan to detailed renders of straightforward designs, it leans even more into simplicity with 2D animation and eye-popping colors. Granted, this bold style only manifests within the main-on-end sequence, but I’m happy it’s here in the least.
On almost every level, PAW Patrol: The Movie achieves the bare minimum. None of the comedy hits hard, but they need only enough effort put into them to read as jokes. Most of the dogs don’t have strong personalities, but they’re cute and amusing enough. None of the dramatic moments have tons of weight, but they create enough narrative sense that it’s hard to eliminate them. Simply put, it’s A Movie That Exists™ and one that won’t ruin anyone’s day. At an equivalent time, it’s so passionless that anyone outside the audience will likely ditch it during a few hours. – Mark Tan