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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups is an impressive first stand-alone spin-off movie -- with a runtime of 44 minutes -- to the short-form TV series. When a meteor crashes onto Earth, the pups all receive superpowers, such as the ability to fly, super speed, and super strength. There are plenty of positive messages to take from the movie. Chase (voiced by Max Calinescu) is the reluctant leader who, after a number of setbacks, begins to believe in himself. Encouraged by Ryder (Jaxon Mercey), Chase shows great leadership in organizing the pups into a team capable of defeating the villainous Mayor Humdinger (Ron Pardo) and his nerdy nephew, Harold (Chance Hurstfield). The nonstop action involves some moments of peril -- the meteor crashing down to Earth, Ryder being held captive by Harold, and a giant robot that catches the pups with nets -- but no one comes to any real harm. Dressing Skye -- one of only two female pups -- all in pink still feels lazy and clichéd, although it's a decision the Paw Patrol creators remain committed to. With an array of Paw Patrol merchandise already available, this movie version serves as a 44-minute commercial.
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What's the story?
When a meteor comes crashing down to Earth, the Paw Patrol pups discover that they now have superpowers and thus become PAW PATROL: MIGHTY PUPS. Mayor Goodway (voiced by Deanne Degruijter) decides to put the meteor on display in the town hall. But Mayor Humdinger (Ron Pardo) and his nephew Harold (Chance Hurstfield) want the meteor for themselves, so they decide to steal it. Can Chase (Max Calinescu) and his fellow pups save the day?
Is it any good?
This is the first theatrical adventure for the Paw Patrol team -- so familiar from the TV series -- and the action is cranked up for the duration of its extended 44-minute running time. After a meteor crash-lands on Earth, all the pups find themselves with different superpowers. They suitably rename themselves the "Mighty Pups" -- though some of the superpowers are better than others. Chase, for example, has been given the gift of speed, and Rubble has super strength. Whereas Rocky's ability to "magic up" tools feels as if the writers ran out of ideas.
While all the pups get their moment to shine, the story centers around Chase. The police dog's character arc is well formed. From insecure -- yet enthusiastic -- second-in-command, Chase must step into the role of leader. He does so, although not without some bumps along the way. But these only help reinforce the not too subtle lessons -- "a good leader never gives up" being just one example of the on-the-nose dialogue -- about learning from your mistakes, believing in yourself, and teamwork. And it's for these positive messages that Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups should be applauded. Even if parents can expect an increase in requests for Paw Patrol merchandise after the movie ends.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the positive messages in Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups. Chase shows perseverance and courage, and together with the other pups, teamwork. Why are these such important character strengths? What are some real-life examples of times when you've demonstrated some of these?
The pups all develop superpowers. Which was your favorite? If you could have a superpower for a day, what would it be and what would you do?
Discuss the character of Harold. Did he have any redeeming qualities? Why do you think he behaved the way he did?
How does this movie compare to the TV series? What are the main differences?
- In theaters: May 17, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: September 11, 2018
- Cast: Devan Cohen, Drew Davis, Samuel Faraci
- Director: Charles E. Bastien
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Superheroes, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship
- Character strengths: Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 44 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: September 24, 2020
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