MPAA Rating: G
CNS Rating: A-I
Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 reels
From the moment I heard a Paw Patrol movie was headed to theaters, I knew it would be a special cinematic event. After all, one of my kids is sleeping under a Paw Patrol comforter as I write this review (the others are Animal Crossing and Batman, if you’re curious). It had been nearly two years since my entire family had gone to the theater, and the timing could not have been better. The experience was everything I hoped for and more. The kids had a great time, and it didn’t hurt that the movie was amazing as well.
If you not familiar with the worldwide phenomena, Paw Patrol is a Canadian animated television series about six anthropomorphic puppies who form a rescue team. There is a cop, a firefighter, a construction worker, a sailor, a ranger, and a helicopter pilot, each with their own unique personality and breed. In their first movie, the pups leave the safety of Adventure Bay to rescue the civilians in the big city from the ill-fated plans of Mayor Humdinger (Ron Padro) to remake the metropolis in his own image. This includes a poorly planned fireworks show, a haphazard roller coaster subway, and an unsteady, gold encrusted skyscraper called “Humdinger Tower.”
Yet this all proves too much for the leader of the group Chase (Max Calinescu), the German Shepherd police dog. He was abandoned in the city as newborn, and the trauma of these memories affect his performance. When Ryder, the Paw Patrol’s human master, suggests he take some time off, Chase is worried the team doesn’t want him anymore. Fortunately, this is a kid’s movie, so the stakes are never too high and everything will work out by the end.
Paw Patrol, both as a series and film, is a nearly perfect work of children’s media. First, there are the canine characters themselves. Any pre-school age child—regardless of race, sex, or class—will identify with at least one of the pups. They are all basically good but never perfect, making mistakes both moral and professional, and learning from them in the process. The visuals are fun and flashy but never oppressive or overwhelming. Best of all, the humor is enjoyable without being either too cheesy or too adult. Upon seeing their new high-tech base in Adventure City, Rubble the construction bulldog asks Ryder, “How do you pay for this?” Ryder smiles, “With Paw Patrol merchandise, it sells like hotcakes!” This is incredibly refreshing compared to the constant sexual and scatological humor of DreamWorks or other animation studios.
The best children’s productions not only entertain but give moral instruction in a natural, organic manner. Chase’s experiences mirror genuine PSTD, complete with Vietnam-style flashbacks. His problems are handled with sensitivity but also bluntness. I was reminded of Fred Rogers, who, when dealing with divorce or terrorism in the news, always responded to kids with kindness but also directness. Ryder affirms Chase’s value on the team, saying he was “born to be a hero.” Indeed, his past experiences highlight give him to courage to help others. Every human (or puppy) is created by God and loved by Him. This is what gives us worth and should shape us, not our fears or social situations.
Paw Patrol is an exceptional film adaptation of a wonderful series that promotes teamwork, courage, and using one’s talents for the good of all. Which is why I was flabbergasted to find some media critics despise—even downright hate—this series. The Guardian attacked it as authoritarian for glorifying a private company over state officials. Medium claimed it was misogynist because only one of the six pups was female and wore pink. Vulture declared it the worst kids show on television.
The criticism became so widespread The Babylon Bee even featured a satirical piece suggesting Nickelodeon had replaced Chase with Karl, an antifa riot dog. In short, because it promotes a normal worldview in line with classic Judeo-Christian ethics and not a modern left-wing agenda, it must go. Fortunately, this seems to only be coming from the left-wing intelligentsia and not actual viewers, so government officials won’t be breaking down doors to steal Marshall the Fire Dog toys just yet.
The Paw Patrol movie is a fantastic film for anyone in the 2–10 year-old bracket, and it is minimal in its annoyance of parents: truly a treasure to behold. It continues to get high ratings from the box office and families alike (a 97% approval rating from audiences at the Rotten Tomatoes site). Thus, there is little fear that Mayor Humdinger or AOC will be getting rid of these adorable pups anytime soon.
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