By David Villafranca
Los Angeles, Aug 17 (EFE).- After bringing joy and laughter to young children for the past eight years, the pups of Adventure Bay are now poised to make the leap to the big screen with “PAW Patrol: The Movie.”
Under the direction of Cal Brunker, the film version of the popular Canadian computer-animated children’s TV series will hit theaters in the United States on Friday and also be simultaneously available for streaming by Paramount+ subscribers.
The six canine members – Chase, Marshall, Skye, Rocky, Zuma and Rubble – of a search-and-rescue team led by a young boy named Ryder have tackled countless missions over nearly 200 episodes dating back to 2013, when the “PAW Patrol” TV series premiered.
The film version will preserve the innocent, adventurous spirit that has captivated young kids worldwide while also adding a few twists, including introducing new member of the squad.
Brunker, whose previous animated films include “Escape from Planet Earth” (2012) and “The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature” (2017), joked in remarks to Efe that as the father of two boys aged six and three there has been no shortage of “PAW Patrol” at his home.
He also reflected on why the series has been a big hit over many years in so many different countries.
“I think it boils down to a few things. One of them is that the show is really clear about the difference between right and wrong and what doing good means. And the team of pups really represent that,” the filmmaker said.
“And I think the other thing is that the show, and certainly (it) was my objective with the movie, was to really make something that wasn’t cynical, something that was just a true story, not lots of sarcastic jokes or pop-culture references or anything.”
The film generally maintains the format familiar to fans of the TV show, with Ryder weighing the needs of the mission and assigning pups to carry it out based on their different skill sets (police and spy dog, firefighter and paramedic dog, etc.).
In the movie, the dogs travel to nearby Adventure City to prevent newly elected Mayor Humdinger from wreaking havoc there and also welcome a new member to the team: a female dachshund named Liberty (voice actor: Marsai Martin).
Brunker said he was very pleased to have had the opportunity to create a new “PAW Patrol” character, adding that Liberty has the street smarts and confidence that come from having grown up in the city.
The director also referred to the challenge of making a feature-length, 86-minute movie version of a show known for its snappy, half-hour episodes.
The solution, he said, was to delve a bit deeper and have one of the pups deal with some scars from his past and overcome deep-seated fears, a storyline that serves as the film’s emotional backbone.
“It’s just a genuine story with a good message. There are great new characters and big epic rescues and cool action movie stuff, but it’s the emotional story at the center of the movie that really is what connects with the audience,” Brunker said. EFE