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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Paw Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue! is a stand-alone sequel to Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups and a spin-off to the short-form TV series. There are a number of positive messages to be taken from the movie, such as teamwork, helpfulness, and believing in oneself. But there remains some gender stereotyping with some female characters lazily portrayed in pink. Cheetah (voiced by Addison Holley) is depicted as vain and jealous. She also steals, cheats, and puts other competitors in danger in order to win the race. But ultimately good overcomes evil and she fails in her quest. There are some moments of mild peril, such as when two giant snow boulders chase two characters down a mountain. However, the pups are always quick to the rescue. Whoosh (Joseph Motiki) does sprain his arm after spinning his car off the track, meaning he can no longer race. But this only serves as a plot device for Marshall (Lukas Engel) taking over driving duties. There is already plenty of Paw Patrol merchandise available to consumers and this movie is only likely to increase demand.
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What's the story?
In PAW PATROL: READY, RACE, RESCUE! the pups have built a racetrack at Adventure Bay and are excited to be working as part of the pit crew for racing superstar, Whoosh (voiced by Joseph Motiki). But after rival Cheetah (Addison Holley) causes Whoosh to skid out of the race, injuring his arm, he can no longer drive. Whoosh asks Marshall (Lukas Engel) -- his biggest fan -- to take his place in the race. But does Marshall have what it takes to beat Cheetah?
Is it any good?
In the gang's second big screen adventure, this story makes a handbrake turn and takes a different direction to the TV series. All of the pups, along with the group's leader, Ryder -- arguably a blessing for some parents -- are sidelined, apart from Marshall. Basing Paw Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue! around just one of the pups is likely to divide younger audiences, depending on how much affection they have for the Dalmatian puppy. Thankfully Marshall navigates his leading role with ease, offering humor, a contagious enthusiasm, and a few important life lessons along the way. There's also something to be enjoyed from the two villains of the piece -- Cheetah and Mayor Humdinger (Ron Pardo) -- both caricatures of skulduggery, complete with mustache twirling and cackling.
That's not to say some of the franchise's existing issues are overcome. Any sense of realism needs to be left at the door -- a round-the-world race takes only a few minutes to complete. And the decision to give a new female character a pink car seems baffling -- particularly as the series has been criticized for gender stereotyping in the past. But with a runtime that's just about right for its target audience, Paw Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue feels like a treat for fans of the series. Albeit one that could be watched at home rather than warrant a trip to the theater.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the positive messages in Paw Patrol: Ready, Race Rescue! What lessons does Marshall in particular learn? Why is it important we believe in ourselves? What character strengths does this sometimes require?
Cheetah tries to win at all costs. Why is important that we try to win in the correct way?
Marshall takes center stage in the movie. Did you mind that the other pups weren't in it as much?
How does this movie compare to the TV series? What are the main differences?
- In theaters: August 2, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: September 3, 2019
- Cast: Anya Cooke, Cathal J. Dodd, Isaac Emberson-Heeks
- Director: Charles E. Bastien
- Studio: Viacom Media Networks
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship
- Character strengths: Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 66 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: April 3, 2020
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