Sunday, 14 October 2018

Film Review: Paw Patrol, Mighty Pups

On Friday night, I was hoping to see my good friend Sam Smith live in concert at Palmerston North's Royal Hotel. Unfortunately, one cancelled flight later, I found myself instead part of a hastily arranged Palmy Fringe comedy concept show, answering deeply personal questions fired at me by inebriated audience members for six minutes. Nothing, apparently, was off limits. It was a deeply unsettling and uncomfortable experience. And as such, a good comparison for when today I took the older two children to see Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups.

No pup is too big, no merchandising excuse to fleece money from parents is too small

It may come somewhat as a surprise in a film that features a gang of seven talking dogs, but you should prepare to check your expectations of scientific believability in at the door before viewing this film. As soon as the tinnitus-inducingly loud theme song had died away, we're straight into an improbable scenario in which Farmer Al has attached an oversized balloon to his back in order to clean the upper levels of his silo, but his floating away into the ether! What better way to rescue him than to launch a ladder, not for him to climb down, but from which to pop the balloon and send him plummeting to earth, ONLY AFTER WHICH THE PUPS SET UP A NET IN WHICH TO CATCH HIM. Not a moment too soon, either, as the net catches the rural bumpkin, with his hat, presumably subject to a different force of gravitation to that pulling Al himself earthwards, landing a couple of seconds later.

'It's not scientifically possible,' cries absent father Cap'n Turbott, nearby. Not about the plot of the film, mind you, but about the rocket ship that Foggy Bottom's evil Mayor Humdinger is planning to man on his mission to be first mayor on the moon. But of course, the good captain/bad parent is wrong, because screw science, and the rocket is accidentally launched, colliding with a meteor which JUST HAPPENS TO BE PASSING BY at low enough altitude, setting it on course for a catastrophic collision course with our heroes' home town of Adventure Bay. In the absence of Bruce Willis or Ben Affleck in late 90s action hero mode, the pups race around town, telling the townspeople to take shelter in their homes from the impending apocalypse, before the giant space rock lands, creating not mass destruction and extinction, but a tiny crater on the beach.

Oh, and it gives the pups super powers. Marshall can summon fire! Chase can run really fast! Sky turned into a member of Westlife and is flying without wings! Rubble is improbably strong! Everest can breath ice! Rocky has a big tool he can do amazing things with!

And Mayor Humdinger's nephew Harold has also gained new powers, which he uses to kidnap the pup's fearless but sadly mortal leader Ryder. Mayor Humdinger, a man clearly unsuited for public office, and who appears to see his position as an opportunity for personal aggrandizement rather than a calling to civil service (metaphor alert!!!), rides along in order to try to savage his ambition of achieving the frankly meaningless title of First Mayor on the Moon. What follows is a frantic blur of half an hour, as the Paw Patrol led by Chase dressed as an early 2000s Sri Lankan cricketer in one day international mode, tries to rescue the precocious Ryder, and save Adventure Bay from.... well, it's never really certain how Adventure Bay is at peril in the first place, but it's sure to be from something bad, anyway.

Aravinda de Silva

Chase

What a caper. There's action. There's repeated callbacks (hahaha, Mayor Goodwin's tulips got flattened AGAIN!!! It's just like when that guy kept saying Ari at that show we went to last night!!!) There's more twists than in a season of Game of Thrones, though considerably less sex and death), and there's an ending that may be a sly wink towards Raiders of the Lost Ark, or could just be coincidence. I dunno, I kind of lost track of the plot only slightly less convoluted than the puns at teh Wellington Pun Battle (November 22 San Fran Bath House) when the small child behind me delivered their own scathing review into their nappy. In the end though, it was loud, it was colourful, and it had more talking dogs than it had naughty words, so the kids liked it. And it was slightly less uncomfortable to sit through than trying to find an evasive but humorous answer to yet another personal question from an innebriated audience.

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