What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Super Buddies is the latest direct-to-DVD release in Disney's popular Buddies franchise, about a group of Golden Retriever puppies who can talk, naturally. This installment takes on the superhero genre with a story about the Buddies acquiring superpowers to help a peaceful alien race defeat one of their rogue, villainous members. There's a good bit of slapstick humor (people falling, getting shocked, turning into animals), and some mild peril as the evil alien tries to "zap" the protagonists and their pups. Overall, however, this is a mild live-action family film with the usual lessons about teamwork, family, and friendship -- but also about the power of literacy (in this case, comic books).
What's the story?
Tween Bartleby Livingstone (Trey Loney) loves comic books so much, his Gramps (John Ratzenberger) throws him a special superhero-themed 12th birthday party. Bartleby's favorite comic series (written by a local author-illustrator) is about a young boy and his super-dog, Captain Canine (Colin Hanks), who's really an alien hidden in the body of a dog. On his fateful 12th birthday, Bartleby and his friends (each of whom has his/her own Golden Retriever puppy) discover that the comics are actually all true, and that they must help defend the peaceful alien nation against the evil Commander Drex, who has landed in Bartleby's town in search of the "rings of Inspiron." But the kids find the rings first, put them on their dogs, turning them into SUPER BUDDIES.
Is it any good?
There's enough slapstick and silliness here to make the kids giggle. The Buddies movies have taken on plenty of genres, so it's no surprise that this latest direct-to-DVD story is an alien/sci-fi adventure. Grown-ups and kids used to alien movies will probably find the movie's representation of extra-terrestrials obviously just humans with giant computer-generated heads. But for the youngest Buddies fans, the aliens are non-threatening enough not to give them nightmares.
As tends to be the case with talking animal movies, the puppies all have sassy catch-phrases and accents, but this movie is just as much about their kid owners as the dogs themselves. The children save the day by figuring out that the comics aren't just pop fiction but an illustrated non-fiction account of an alien race's most treasured artifacts -- the very rings that turn the puppies into superheroes. Parents who look beyond the awful alien depictions can rest assured that another Buddies movie will entertain their little ones.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the continuing popularity of these Buddies movies. Why do you think the studio keeps making them? If you like them what other adventures or genres should the Buddies franchise tackle?
Comic books are an important part of the story. How does reading the Captain Canine comics help Bartleby figure out what's going on? What are your favorite comics?
How do the aliens in Super Buddies compare to those in other movies? What are some other films with peaceful, kid-friendly aliens?