Every time we turned on our Roku over the past few days, we were inundated with commercials for Paw Patrol: The Movie. My kids are 5, 9 and 11, and have been into Paw Patrol on and off over the years. It’s not a stalwart in our house, but it is something they will watch and play with if it’s presented to them. Given the chance they will happily get on the case with Chase.
I was ill prepared for the fervor with which their little souls needed, and I mean needed with about sixteen “e”’s, Paw Patrol: The Movie. We are pretty stingy with our subscription services, choosing DisneyPlus over Netflix, Hulu over Amazon Prime. Yet with so many of our usual summer activities closed to us, it took very little persuading to add Paramount Plus to our list, so I’d say the ad campaign is paying off.
The action quickly shifts from Adventure Bay to Adventure City, where the newly elected mayor is a cat person, not a dog person, much to the chagrin of Liberty, a wiener dog who seems to possess all the qualities of our intrepid team. Mayor Humdinger, who only won due to being the only name on the ballot, wants to put the “adventure” back into Adventure city, but with a nefarious chuckle and a team of cats who look oddly like our patrol pups, you know that can’t be a good thing. Liberty quickly puts in a call to the Paw Patrol, and fangirls out when she comes face to face with the team.
By the time the team are off to the city, we have learned that Chase has a past in Adventure City that he is worried about, and my 9 year old is screaming “I just want to cuddle them” over, and over, and over, again.The story line is as saccharin as you would expect and want, there are twists and turns on the way to a satisfactory conclusion. The regular animation style of the show has been left behind in favor of something more sleek, and a movie gives them the chance for some great cameos. Randall Park, Dax Shepard, and Jimmy Kimmell all make an appearance.
The story keeps coming back to the insecurities of one of the team, along with the heart and soul of new dog Liberty. One dog intimidated by the city, the other emboldened by it. One of the nice things about Paw Patrol is that it has always focused on teamwork, and how everyone doesn’t have to be the same. They really work on that theme in this movie, and having the insecurity be located in stalwart Chase is a nice way of showing that everyone has their own fears and insecurities. My kids spent a good chunk of time arguing about whether this movie was about Chase or about the team, with the younger kids seeing it more about Chase, and my eldest son seeing the bigger picture. One of the things I love about my kids, he happily watches Paw Patrol: The Movie in the morning where tonight we will be continuing our way through the MCU with Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
With the way things are going right now, new dog Liberty is just the pup we need for 2021.
I might just be one small pup alone in the big city, but I can still make a difference.
Voiced by Marsai Martin of Blackish she is hands on, where Paw Patrol is all tech. She pounds the pavement for information instead of using a tracker. She has hope, hope that cannot be quenched. She is at home on the streets she lives in, and confident enough to call herself an honorary member of the Paw Patrol, knowing she is worthy of it without needing to wait for anyone else to confirm it. When Ryder finally says the words, and hands over her vehicle, she is just full of pure joy
There are so many moments littered throughout the movie where the writers drop in gags just for the parents, about Instagram, and parenting, about voting. My favorite is a moment very early on when the franchise acknowledges what this is. When the pups see their new city headquarters they ask “But how can we afford this?” to which their team leader, and human, Ryder responds by holding up a Paw Patrol t-shirt; merchandise of course, in Ryder’s words “these sell like hotcakes.” With each pup getting a new vehicle and uniform for the city, you know the line of toys that follow is going to be a hot ticket this year. With so many still stuck inside, and the shutdowns looming again, I have a feeling we are going to be seeing much more of Ryder and his team in our house this year.
Don’t be tempted to dismiss this as just an extended episode of Paw Patrol. This is not just the movie of the show. It is a well written kids movie, with some surprising twists and turns, some great moments of humor, and yes it is based on the Paw Patrol franchise. You can see influences far beyond the traditional Adventure Bay show, it has a great soundtrack, and it’s not something I’m worried about having to watch again and again. And stay for the end credits, they are awesome.