MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
Dominic Scott Kay as ADAM BILSON
John Kapelos as JEAN GEORGE
Lise Simms as MEG BILSON
Mike Dupod as JOE BILSON
Charles C. Stevenson, Jr. as SHERIFF RYAN
Dylan Minnette as NOAH FRAMM
Directed by: Robert Vince
Studio: Walt Disney
BY KEVIN CARR
It was only a matter of time for the Disney machine to move the Air Bud movies to the backs of the puppies. Let’s face it, you can’t go wrong with puppies.
“Snow Buddies” continues the story of the five golden retriever pups that are smarter than they look. This time, they are accidentally air-lifted to Fertiuktuk, Alaska, where they befriend a young boy who wants his own dog sled team. Along with an Alaskan husky pup, the Air Buddies form a rag-tag dog sled team to help the kid gain his confidence and win a race.
When approaching a film like “Snow Buddies,” you have to understand who its intended audience is. The movie is not made for the arthouse crowd. Heck, it’s not even made for grown ups. Bottom line, “Snow Buddies” is a kids movie. Dogs have more speaking lines than the humans, after all.
Unlike the earlier Air Bud films, these dogs all talk, and each one has a different personality depending on his or her tastes. The schtick isn’t as heavy-handed as the first “Air Buddies,” but that’s to be understood since the dogs have already been introduced.
The story is rather simple, as are the characters, but they work for the intended audience of young children. I showed the film to my kids, ages 6 and 4, and they loved it. The kids are suckers for cute animals, and “Snow Buddies” delivers that.
While there’s a bad guy in the film trying to win the dog sled race, and he does some dastardly things, there’s not much peril to scare the kids. “Snow Buddies” is a family film through and through, and it’s not meant to be anything more than that.
The DVD comes with a music video with “Hannah Montana” star Mitchel Musso and a spotlight on the visual effects (which are far more extensive than you would ever think they would be). There’s also bloopers and behind-the-scenes commentary, which is done in character with the buddies. It’s cute for the bloopers at times, but the scripted commentary by the dogs is a little wearing after a while.