Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie (Rated PG)
By: Adam Freed
As late summer gives way to early fall, theatrical options for young children often resemble parched land as studios wait patiently for the promised saturation of holiday box office earnings. The children’s offerings released into the historically barren pre holiday months are often placed there for a reason. This is certainly the case for Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie, the inevitable sequel to 2021’s successful Paw Patrol the Movie. Unlike the original however, the childhood fanfare and anticipation to finally see their K9 heroes in action on the silver screen seems all but gone, and what is left is the hollow shell of a formulaic story designed to promote the latest iteration to an already saturated toy market.
To be generous, The Mighty Movie serves a meaningful purpose for a narrow cross section of young audiences, as it promotes a steadfast approach to being small and lacking agency in the world. This theme is brought to life by supporting Paw Patrol member Skye, who through a cute, albeit redundant, series of flashbacks reveals her desire to be viewed as anything other than the runt of the litter. This message is sure to land with familial final borns, but for first or middle children in the audience it may not sink in the way that it was intended. The film’s confusing reliance on this single talking point dooms its ability to reach the upper elementary school target demographic, essentially leaving its success in the hands of fans who are chauffeured to theaters in car seats.
Like its predecessor, Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie features sharply animated visuals, far superior in quality to what the most ardent Paw Patrol patrons likely consume on their pastel foam protected Ipad's, with screens crusted in Cheeto dusted fingerprints. Undeniable is the youthful pop soundtrack of the film, which breathes some welcome life into the rather bland story, yet again sells itself short as no song is allowed to permeate beyond fifteen seconds. Also curious is the sound mixing of the film which never allows any of the keenly selected songs to reach the forefront as they play quite noticeably under the vocal level of the pups themselves. Animated voiceover titans Kristin Bell (Frozen), Taraji P. Henson (Ralph Breaks the Internet) and even a surprising vocal cameo from Chris Rock (Bee Movie) can’t save a story destined to be dismissed almost immediately. Even when evaluating this puppy powered sequel on the most forgiving of curves, it is nowhere near as engaging as the original and lands miles from being mighty.
Target Score: 3/10. A disappointingly thin sequel to a fun and visually stimulating original. This film sells itself short as it only calls to a narrow margin of the young audience and therefore renders itself painfully bland.