So long as the target audience is understood, then PAW Patrol: The Movie is harmless. A few vodkas in, and it becomes rather enjoyable. Dogs living in the real world, holding down jobs as firemen or policemen. We must assume there are arsonist dogs and murderer dogs that necessitate the firedogs and police dogs. But then that is to imply the world is populated solely by dogs. Had Paw Patrol: The Movie been part of a different genre, its turtle-based terror in the introduction would see the oil tanker skid straight into the bridge and explode. No such luck, we are in for a comical yet surprisingly thrilling and nice enough ride.
Imagine, though, that you were clinging dearly for life and wished to inform local authorities of your predicament. The town ring up their finest and they are on the case in no time at all. Puppies. Law enforcement has been replaced, or perhaps outlawed. In its place are puppies. They are the rule makers, and a military coup is not exactly off the table for these charming little pups. PAW Patrol: The Movie takes liberties from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, not just in its corrupt mayor angle, but also the weather machine went awry. Call in the private security force puppies to deal with this one. It is for the best. Firework displays need to be handled, as do illegally elected men dressed in Willy Wonka-like suits. The A-Team weren’t available, the dogs will do.
Strong animation is at the core of PAW Patrol: The Movie. There is a lot of effort here, and it shows. Nicely animated, a few good scenes of genuine comedy that rely both on visuals and an earnest heart. Almost impossible to knock the good intentions of Cal Brunker, who marks their feature debut. Brunker has made an odd, actively humorous film. There is no cowering villainy underlining this, no product to push because children are too young to own wallets or understand the depth of economics. Not dumb enough to understand the overthrowing of political dissidents and the strength of an independent security firm masquerading as a police force. Catchy, exciting and even fun at times. Although that may be the effect of alcohol, rather than engaging with the free-wheeling love Brunker brings to the screen.
Poppy, bright and vibrant. The only crime this town seemingly suffers from is littering. Also, political corruption. That’s alright, though. Cats and dogs wage war against one another. Where have audiences seen that one before? That is the inevitable crux of life in Adventure City. PAW Patrol: The Movie concerns itself with a political coup d’état. Even then, dogs are quick to react to the burly men that throw their trash on the ground. Quicker still to stop those from rising to power without opposition. Backstories are traded between characters old and new, and the reason for their desires and ambitions is simple enough for children to enjoy, but also welcoming for sleepless parents, drunken young adults and dog lovers alike.