PAW PATROL: THE MIGHTY MOVIE

★★★

SECOND TRIP TO ADVENTURE BAY LACKS MIGHT

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Chris Dos Santos
20th September 2023

'PAW Patrol: The Movie' was one of the few animated success stories post-pandemic. It grossed a whopping US$144 million at the worldwide box office against a budget of US$26 million while it was simultaneously released on Paramount+ in the United States. That's an extremely impressive feat for a film that has a core demographic of pre-schoolers. In comparison, other titles released on streaming and in theatres in the same year, 'The Boss Baby: Family Business' (a budget of US$82 million), 'Space Jam: A New Legacy' (US$150 million budget) and 'Tom & Jerry' (US$50 - $79 million budget) all had a similar box office takings, but due to much higher budgets 'PAW Patrol' was the only one to turn a profit. The film brought the pups to the big screen - and now for their 10-year anniversary they are returning to cinemas, just this time a little more... mighty!

After the events of the first film, Chase (Christian Convery, 'Cocaine Bear'), Skye (Mckenna Grace, 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife'), Rubble (Luxton Handspiker, Netflix's 'Nightbooks'), Marshall (Christian Corrao, 'Dino Dana'), Rocky (Callum Shoniker, 'On the Basis of Sex'), Zuma (Nylan Parthipan) and newcomer Liberty (Marsai Martin, 'Spirit Untamed') are all still out and about saving Adventure City! But when new super-villain Vee (Taraji P. Henson, 'Minions: The Rise of Gru') creates an invention to pull meteors to earth, the PAW Patrol not only have a new foe but new powers due to the crystals they find in a meteor. Vee teams up with common foe Mayor Humdinger (Ron Pardo, 'Hairspray') and is out to get the gang. One member, Skye, feels she has a lot prove being the smallest member of the team and uses her powers to show her worth.

SWITCH: 'PAW PATROL: THE MIGHTY MOVIE' TRAILER

The first 'PAW Patrol' movie was a surprising delight, perfectly bringing the pups out of Nick Jr. and onto the big screen. While still having gorgeous animation, the second entry just feels weaker. Every scene feels standalone and as a feature-length venture doesn't feel as fleshed out. Again Rubble, Marshall, Rocky and Zuma are side-lined with Skye this time being the main focus. While she has a story that I'm sure a lot of young kids will relate to, the film is lacking in the PAW Patrol and should have used the "team" aspect of the group more, especially in the superhero setting.

The film also suffers because of the superhero premise; it just kind of fulfils the basic tropes, but at the cost of the pups. It makes the film feel more draining to sit through, and a lot of kids in my screening were checking out. In fact, by the time they have a final confrontation with the supervillain Vee, there is still an additional 20 minutes of run time and all the families left. Yes, this did leave me alone in a cinema on a Monday afternoon, while watching 'PAW Patrol', an experience that will be a defining moment in my life.

The film also suffers because of the superhero premise; it just kind of fulfils the basic tropes, but at the cost of the pups. It makes the film feel more draining to sit through, and a lot of kids in my screening were checking out.

Also, I understand the business move, but putting a 'Dora' short film before the feature simply makes this a longer and tougher sit for the intended audience. Adding to that the film is rated PG in Australia, which feels wrong to say for a PAW Patrol film. The film's action and superhero-level stakes make this a bit of a darker watch for the under-4 demographic.

'PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie' almost feels like a final lap for the pups. Ten years on the core demographic is grown up, and while I'm sure the new generation of kids still likes them, with 'Bluey' taking over, the dogs for the pre-schoolers group don't have the same relevancy. Couple that with a longer run time and "darker" tone, and these pups might be on their last case. It still has something for the fans, but after the perfect family adventure in their first feature, 'The Mighty Movie' just feels weak.

Miss Kim Kardashian is back and as incredible as ever - and this time she has brought along two of her kids (North and Saint) - and this is my favourite case of nepotism.

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