PAW Patrol: The Movie is THE movie that millions of kids across the country and the rest of the globe have been waiting for to be unleashed onto the big screen. The movie is about the PAW Patrol team, consisting of a young boy named Ryder and his pups Marshall, Rubble, Chase, Rocky, Zuma and Skye, along with newcomer Liberty, traveling to nearby Adventure City to stop the evil Mayor Humdinger from turning the city into chaos within the metropolis. Throughout the movie, there are many rescue missions, new vehicles for the pups, doggy humor and new civilian characters.
The first look of the film happened during the 2021 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in March. For months, kids have been looking forward to seeing the movie because they love to watch their favorite PAW Patrol pups spring into action on the rescue missions. In addition, prior to the movie's release, several kids' books and other merchandise advertised the movie featuring everyone's favorite pups along with the new pup Liberty. The video game PAW Patrol: Adventure City Calls, has also been released for various video game consoles prior to the film's release.
One feature that many kids love throughout the movie is the bonding between Chase and Ryder. The film gives viewers a backstory of how Chase lived in the streets of Adventure City before he met Ryder. We get to see a different side of Chase. Bob Barlen, the screenwriter behind the film, described Chase as the main character to be focused on throughout the film:
"Chase is kind of like the quarterback. Chase sort of seems like the main character, and so being able to expand and kind of have a character who fails and who has to overcome an obstacle is important. We were able to do more than the TV show time allows. Starting in Adventure Bay, you see him as that same perfect pup from the show where he’s executing things flawlessly. That’s really where we were able to expand on his backstory and create something that would be worthy of the feature film. So, you’re seeing him for the first time really ever make mistakes and mess up and come to terms with not being perfect, and then pushing through and overcoming that fear. That was really something that we were excited about in terms of telling a story."
In addition, the movie focuses on how Ryder interacts with Chase during the rescue missions. The encouragement Ryder gives to Chase throughout the film, along with the hugs and praises, is what the viewers are rooting for. The turning point of the film is the mission where Chase takes a leap of faith and rescues Ryder when Ryder is trapped in Humdinger Heights when the building collapses. This shows how Chase keeps his bond with Ryder despite having a bad history in Adventure City. The main plot of the film fits the theme of the PAW Patrol TV series: A dog is man's best friend. The other positive message this movie shows kids is how to face one's fears. Heroes get scared sometimes, and that's okay. What really matters is how heroes push themselves forward and keep going. Finally, children get to see the PAW Patrol pups get into rescue missions as they try to save Adventure City.
Despite the movie's success, there were some critical responses. Many critics focus on the need for variety and diversity among the civilian characters in the film. For one, many of the civilian characters introduced in the film are mostly adults and other animals. The issue with diversity among civilian characters is the characters' ages and species; very few civilians introduced are human kids. In addition, these characters serve only one purpose throughout the film with only one trait, with the exception of the newest PAW Patrol pup Liberty. Of course, the movie is focused primarily on the heroic rescue dogs, but the introduction of new civilian characters into the movie do not reflect the movie's overall theme and messages.
The main setting of the movie, Adventure City, features a lot of people that need to be rescued by the PAW Patrol. However, with the lack of variety and diversity of the civilian characters introduced in the film, viewers find the character roster a bit disappointing, despite having a decently sized cast including famous celebrities. One thing that would make this children's movie more enjoyable and realistic is to include civilian characters that play a much bigger role in Adventure City, especially children characters. That way, kids can have a bigger feeling of what life is like in Adventure City.
Because the movie is based on the PAW Patrol TV series, the critical praises and responses also apply to the series as a whole. The entire PAW Patrol franchise has done a good job on carrying out the messages to children, as well as their parents, on what it is like for the heroic pups to do their jobs, but needs improvement on including diversity among the civilian characters presented throughout the franchise. Including a variety of civilian characters would make the franchise even better because the franchise will not only teach kids what jobs the heroic pups do, but the importance of diversity among people. Including diversity among the civilian characters will spread the message about self-acceptance to kids.