AIR BUD: WORLD PUP – SPECIAL EDITION
MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
As Disney has been developing and enhancing their “Air Bud” franchise, a lot of the focus has been on the more recent puppies, the Air Buddies. However, long before the golden retriever pups stole the spotlight, there was a slate of sequels to the original “Air Bud.”
Disney is re-releasing the sequels in special packaging which includes the film with a new featurette and a sports item in the box. “Air Bud: Golden Receiver” includes a working whistle, and “Air Bud: World Pup” comes with a cinch sports bag.
These are cute ways to relive the “Air Bud” phenomenon and remember who was the star before the Air Buddies took over.
By the time we’ve reached the third film in this series, we have fallen a bit into a formula. There’s a new sport – in this case soccer – and of course, Buddy joins the team as the star. The biggest new element of this film is that there is a love interest for Buddy, the golden retriever who belongs to the pretty British girl who introduces the school to soccer.
There are also some new bad guys, local wayward dogcatchers who are after Buddy and his family. Like the previous installment, this film spreads its story among several characters, all of whom are only peripherally related. There’s still a strong focus on the humans in the story, opening up with Jackie Framm getting married to the local vet (both played by new actors). We also see the script writer trying to give the daughter some story for herself so it’s not all monopolized with Josh and his mother.
But this movie gives us a taste for what to come with the introduction of Molly, Buddy’s new love interest, and their litter of pups. They’re not the Air Buddies yet (and are quite a bit larger in this film, by the way), but it shows where the focus of the series will eventually end up.
Timed to release in the midst of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, “Air Bud: World Pup” is taking advantage of the current sports climate. A similar thing was done with “Air Bud: Golden Receiver” to coincide with the Super Bowl. Look for “Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch” to coincide with the World Series in the fall, I suppose.
This release includes another short installment from “The Buddies’ Sports Channel,” in which the pups replay the highlights of the film. There’s also a bonus featurette that goes behind the scenes of this film and also looks at the involvement of the Women’s World Cup and how the stars of that event contributed to the film.