September 27, 2023
by Carla Hay
Directed by Cal Brunker
Culture Representation: Taking place in the fictional Adventure City in North America, the animated film “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” features talking dog characters and a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans, Latinos and Asians) representing the middle-class and working-class.
Culture Clash: A boy and his team of rescue dogs must stop a ruthless scientist and a villainous former mayor, who plant to take over the world with meteoric crystals that give superpowers to people in possession of the crystals.
Culture Audience: “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” will appeal primarily to fans of the “Paw Patrol” TV series and people who want escapist, children’s-oriented entertainment that has a superhero plot.
In a world overloaded with superhero films, “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” is an adequate option for anyone who will watch entertainment geared to kids under the age of 10. Like many sequels, it tries to do more than the original, but it’s not cluttered. However, by introducing more characters and adding a new villain, some of the regular characters are sidelined in this movie. “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” is a sequel to 2021’s “PAW Patrol: The Movie.” Both films are directed by Carl Brunker and are based on Nickelodeon’s “PAW Patrol” series.
For the hero characters in “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” (which was co-written by Brunker and Bob Barlen), an almost entirely new cast of voice actors replaced the voice actors who were in “PAW Patrol: The Movie.” In “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie,” Ryder (voiced by Finn-Lee Epp) is a 10-year-old boy who’s in charge of a team of rescue dogs that have the voices of human kids who are around the same age and can do many things that humans can do, such as drive vehicles. Ryder and the dogs all live in Adventure City, which is somewhere in North America. Members of the PAW Patrol help the community in various ways, by acting as unofficial police officers and firefighters.
The dog who’s closest to Ryder is a male German Shepherd named Chase (voiced by Christian Convery), who has a reputation for being the bravest dog in the pack, with a keen sense of sight and smell. Chase is allergic to cats though, which is a hindrance since this movie’s villain has several cats. All of the other PAW Patrol dogs look up to Chase in some way as their “alpha dog.”
In addition to Chase, there’s Skye (voiced by Mckenna Grace), a bold 7-year-old female tan cockapoo, who has aircraft skills and a custom-made pink-and-grey helicopter. Marshall (voiced by Christian Corrao) is a goofy 6-year-old male Dalmatian with firefighter and paramedic skills and a custom fire engine truck. Rocky (voiced by Callum Shoniker) is a 6-year-old grey-and-white male Schnauzer/Scottish Terrier mixed-breed dog, who is skilled at recycling and handyman duties, and he has a green recycling truck.
Zuma (voiced by Nylan Parthipan) is a 5-year-old male brown Labrador Retriever whose specialty is water rescues. He has an orange hovercraft that can be used on water or on land. Rubble (voiced by Luxton Handspiker) is a 5-year-old male white-and-brown bulldog who is the team’s construction expert, and his custom vehicle is a yellow bulldozer. Smart and sassy Liberty (voiced by Marsai Martin) is a brown dachshund who was added as a new character in “PAW Patrol: The Movie.” All of the voice actors for these characters are different in “PAW Patrol: The Movie” and “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie,” except for the characters of Liberty and Rocky.
“PAW Patrol: The Movie” begins with J&H Scrap junkyard owner spouses Janet (played by Kristen Bell) and Hank (played by James Marsden) seeing a mysterious person stealing a crane and a 10-ton electromagnet. Janet and Hank report this theft to the police. It turns out that the thief is a ruthless scientist named Victoria Vance (voiced by Taraji P. Henson), who wants the electromagnet to attract a meteor to Adventure City.
Why this meteor? It has special crystals that can give superpowers to anyone who has these crystals. Why does she want these superpowers? To take over the world, of course. Victoria’s devious plan works, and the meteor crashes into Adventure City, but this crash destroys Pup Tower, the headquarters of the PAW Patrol.
This disaster couldn’t have come at a worse time for the PAW Patrol. The team has added three new members as Junior Patrollers, who are Pomeranian puppies named Mini (voiced by North West), Nano (voiced by Alan Kim) and Tot (voiced by Brice Gonzalez), who are all eager to become full-fledged members of the PAW Patrol. North West and her brother Saint West (who voices the Meteor Man character in the movie) are the children of Kim Kardashian, who has small role in the movie as a pampered poodle named Delores.
Victoria is a knowledgeable scientist, but she makes the stupid mistake of going online to brag that she caused the meteor crash. She’s quickly arrested and put in jail, where her cell mates are the disgraced Mayor Humdinger (voiced by Ron Pardo) and his six companion cats. Victoria tells Mayor Humdinger (who was the chief villain in “PAW Patrol: The Movie”) about the crystals. He convinces her to form an alliance and make a deal with him: If he can break them both out of jail, she will give him one of the crystals. Humdinger still has his buffoonish arrogance and deceptive ways.
Through a series of circumstances, the PAW Patrol find the crystals, which become attachments to their dog tags. While wearing these crystals, the dogs develop superpowers based on their strongest characteristics, except for Liberty, who is dismayed that she did not receive any superpowers from wearing a crystal. Liberty is also annoyed that she’s been tasked with looking after Mini, Nano and Tot while her team mates on the PAW Patrol take off to battle the villains. Babysitting the Junior Patrollers is not what Liberty had in mind when she joined the PAW Patrol.
“PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” borrows a lot from the story in Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War,” because much the movie is about a villain wanting to get a collection of precious stones, in order to rule the world. The voice cast members in “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” get the job done well enough, but Skye and Liberty are the only two PAW Patrol members who have significant storylines and screen time in “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie.” Liberty is uncomfortable about not having found her own superpower, while Skye is insecure about her past as the runt of her litter.
Victoria and Mayor Humdinger are frequently amusing to watch, but the story really only needed one chief villain, not two. As a dastardly duo, the chemistry between Victoria and Humdinger is hit and miss. Parts of “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” get jumbled when the movie tries to cram in distractions that serve no purpose except to increase the length of the film. The plot is easy to follow though, even if there’s nothing particularly innovative about it.
“PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” has some voice cameos that only seem to be in the movie so the filmmakers could say that they got some famous people to be voice actors in the film. Serena Williams makes a cameo (that’s about 10 seconds long), as the voice a yoga instructor named Yoga Yvette. Chris Rock utters a few lines as one of Mayor Humdinger’s cats in a similarly “blink and you’ll miss it” cameo. Lil Rel Howery, who is the voice of TV reporter Sam Stringer, has one of the longer cameos, since his dialogue is about five minutes in the film.
“PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” looks exactly like what it is: A feature-length, bigger-budget version of a TV episode of “PAW Patrol.” Do not expect a masterpiece in animation, but don’t expect the fiilm to be low-quality either. “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” seems happy to occupy a space that is somewhere in the middle and made for people who just want to see a lightweight and enjoyable animated film.
Paramount Pictures will release “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” in U.S. cinemas on September 29, 2023.