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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: The Movie is based on Nickelodeon's beloved preschool-targeted animated series. Like the show, the movie focuses on human boy Ryder (voiced by Will Brisbin) and his extraordinary pack of puppy hero friends, who must rally to save their town's neighboring city from greedy, cat-loving, dog-hating Mayor Humdinger (Ron Pardo). After a call from observant puppy pal Liberty (Marsai Martin), the PAW Patrol -- including Chase (Iain Armitage), Rubble (Keegan Hedley), Rocky (Callum Shoniker), and Skye (Lilly Bartlam) -- head from Adventure Bay to neighboring Adventure City, where Humdinger is wreaking havoc with his selfish plans. The movie has slightly more peril and cartoon violence than the show -- mostly humans and pets stuck in vehicles or buildings that are about to collapse or crash -- but it continues to promote positive messages about courage, perseverance, teamwork, and problem-solving. The supporting voice cast includes Kim Kardashian West, Jimmy Kimmel, Randall Park, Tyler Perry, Yara Shahidi, and Dax Shepard.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE, Ryder (voiced by Will Brisbin) and the pups' dog-hating arch-nemesis, Mayor Humdinger (Ron Pardo), is elected the new mayor of Alphabet City -- the "big city" near the pups' hometown of Adventure Bay. He forces a meteorologist to turn over the use of a "cloud catcher" weather-controlling device and wreaks general havoc on everything from a fireworks display to mass transit with his selfish plans. Scrappy young pup Liberty (Marsai Martin) calls the rescue team to let them know that Adventure City could use their help, but Chase (Iain Armitage) feels anxious about returning to the city where he has a sad past. Mayor Humdinger, who has six cats, keeps abusing the cloud catcher to make sure that the weather is sunny and starts rounding up and caging dogs.
Is it any good?
These adorable, selfless rescue pups are irresistible to preschoolers, who will be delighted by the movie's sweet, simple adventure. Sometimes studios will cut corners with movies aimed at toddlers and preschoolers, figuring the littlest viewers will be happy to watch any animated movie about talking animals, but that's not the case here. Yes, families with existing PAW Patrol fans may have a deeper, more immediate connection to the story, but even audiences who don't know anything more than the theme song will be pleasantly surprised at the movie being much more than just superficial silliness. Its themes of teamwork, trust-building, and courage are overt without being preachy, and the celebrity voice cameos will make parents laugh, like Jimmy Kimmel playing a TV reporter, Tyler Perry as a truck driver in need of saving, and even Kim Kardashian West as a fancy poodle (naturally).
It's particularly exciting to see that the pups' new recruit is brave, outspoken Liberty, a charming and much needed second girl to join the male-dominated team. Liberty demonstrates her readiness to be on the Patrol with her intuitive observational skills, her courageous willingness to help, and her desire to make a difference. Chase has the biggest story arc -- just as he does on the show -- but all the pups have a moment to shine, a scene that lets them show off how they're pivotal and irreplaceable to the team. Families with young kids will enjoy all the ways the pups act as community helpers and, in the process, encourage and support one another too.
Talk to your kids about ...
Why is it important that Liberty is a girl? How does she make a positive addition the team?
How does this movie compare to the TV series? What do you like about the movie? What do you prefer about the show?
Did you find any parts of the movie scary? How much "scary stuff" is OK for little kids?
- In theaters: August 20, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: August 20, 2021
- Cast: Iain Armitage, Marsai Martin, Will Brisbin, Ron Pardo
- Director: Cal Brunker
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship
- Character strengths: Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: August 29, 2021
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