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Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 21, 2009 by  



The talking puppies are back!  For those who have enjoyed the ‘Air Bud’ and previous ‘Buddies’ films… families, especially the young children will definitely enjoy this holiday film featuring the puppies in a Christmas adventure as they try to save Christmas in “Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws”.

Images courtesy of © Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws

DURATION: 88 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/24-bit), French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY:  KEYSTONE ENTERTAINMENT/Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: G (General Audiences)

Release Date: November 24, 2009

Based on the character “Air Bud” by Kevin DiCicco

Based on the characters by Paul Tamasy and Aaron Mendelsohn

Directed by Robert Vince

Written by Robert Vince and Anna McRoberts

Produced by Anna McRoberts and Robert Vince

Associate Producer: Monica Goldstein

Music by Brahm Wenger

Director of Photography: Kamal Derkaoui, CSC

Casting by Lorna Johnson

Production Design by Chris August

Art Direction by Anneke Van Oort

Set Decoration by Shirley Inget

Costume Design by Stephanie Nolin

Starring:

George Wendt as Santa Claus

Christopher Lloyd as Stan Cruge

Danny Woodburn as Eli

Paul Rae as Fake Santa

Michael Teigen as Deputy Dan

Craig Anton as bob

Andrew Astor Mickey

Zachary Gordon as Puppy Paws (voice)

Field Cate as Buddha (voice)

Skyler Gisondo as B-Dawg (voice)

Jonathan Morgan Heit as Mudbud (voice)

Josh Flitter as Budderball (voice)

Liliana Mumy as Rosebud (voice)

In SANTA BUDDIES: THE LEGEND OF SANTA PAWS, the lovable “Buddies,” B-Dawg, Budderball, Buddha, Mudbud, and Rosebud embark on a thrilling journey to the magical world of Santa’s
Workshop. When Puppy Paws, the fun-loving son of Santa Paws, gets tired of the North Pole, he checks out Santa’s “naughty” list and finds Budderball’s name right on top. Puppy Paws heads south to meet the Buddies and find out how “ordinary” pups spend their days. But when the world begins to forget the true meaning of the holidays and the magic of the season begins to literally melt away, it’s up to Puppy Paws and his newfound Buddies to save the day in another epic adventure. Their extraordinary exploits highlight the importance of collaboration, courage and tradition in a joyous celebration of life and friendship. Sure to be a family favorite for years to come, SANTA BUDDIES: THE LEGEND OF SANTA PAWS delivers enough holiday cheer to last a whole year! It’s Buddy-loving fun the whole family will enjoy again and again.

The talking puppies are back!  For those who have enjoyed the ‘Air Bud’ and previous ‘Buddies’ films… families, especially the young children will definitely enjoy this holiday film featuring the puppies in a Christmas adventure as they try to save Christmas in “Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws”.

The Buddies are back and right on time for the holidays.  These “Buddie” films are just so cute and enjoyable, family fun films with cute puppies that you can’t get enough of.

Since the 1997 debut of the film “Air Bud”, from that film of a talking canine has launched several “Buddie” films featuring the golden retriever puppies in “Air Buddies”, “Snow Buddies”, “Space Buddies” and now their fourth film titled “Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws”.  The Blu-ray release contains a Blu-ray and also a DVD for the film as well.

As with the previous “buddies” films, “Santa Buddies” reunites the golden retriever puppies (children of the original canine “Air Bud”):

Budderball: The athletic puppy

Rosebud: The female puppy of the group

Buddha: The puppy who likes to eat everything

B-Dawg: The hip hop loving, street talking puppy

Mudbud: The puppy who just can’t get enough of getting himself dirty and muddy

In “Santa Buddies”, both Santa Claus (played by George Wendt, “Cheers”, “Sabrina the Teenage Witch) and Santa Paws worry about the weakening of Christmas Spirit.  Many children and dogs who do not believe in Santa Claus are now weakening the magical power of Christmas and its causing problems in the North Pole.  To make things worse, for some reason, the North Poe is starting to melt and the reindeer have all caught a flu.

Meanwhile, Santa Paws worries about his son Puppy Paws who has stopped believing in Christmas and leaves the North Pole without telling anyone after he sees a naughty list and sees a page of the buddy Budderbawl. Puppy Paws comes up with an idea to help Budderbawl get off the naught list if Budderbawl can teach him become a normal dog.

While Santa Claus and Santa Paws go to find the troublesome puppy,  things continue to get worse as the North Pole.  Elf Eli (played by Danny Woodburn, “Watchmen”, “Passions”) goes to retrieve the yearly Christmas mail from children and there are hardly any.

As Santa Claus, Santa Paus and the elves worry about Christmas Eve and people starting to not believe in Christmas anymore, Santa Paws meets up Budderbawl and tries to help him understand how Christmas and Santa is real.   Budderbawl ends introduces Puppy Paws to the other buddies and each buddy tries to teach him how to behave like a normal dog as Puppy Paws teaches them the Christmas spirit.

The film then showcases the buddies in an adventure trying to save dogs that have been captured by the dog catcher Stan Cruge (played by Christopher Lloyd, “Back to the Future Films”, “Stacked”, “Taxi”) and an adventure that leads Puppy Paws and new friends having to save Christmas.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws” is featured in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio).  Despite being a direct-to-video title, one thing that Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is good at is making their films look great on Blu-ray.  Picture quality showcases the Christmas colors of red and also warm colors of the holiday season.  Colors are vibrant, the detail of Santa’s white fur on his clothing to the dog’s hair is well-detailed.  Of course, there is CG utilized in the film beyond the mouth movements of the dogs as some special effects look quite low budget.  There are some banding issues that I saw during the film but nothing that interferes with view.  If anything, for a family film targeted towards children, picture quality is very good.

As for audio, the film is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD (48 kHz/24-bit), as well as French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  The lossless soundtrack is pretty much front and center channel driven as dialogue is clear and understandable while the Christmas music comes out nice and clear.  This is not a film that has action sequences that utilize the whole soundscape, so for the most part, the audio is satisfactory for children.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

There are a few special features on this Blu-ray edition of “Santa Buddies” presented in 1080p, English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and subtitles in English SDH, French and Spanish.  Included are:

  • Sing Along to Christmas Carols With the Buddies – (3:29) The buddies sing “Santa Paws is Comin’ to Town”, “Deck the Halls” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” while karaoke style sing along lyrics show up on the bottom of the screen.
  • “Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town” Music Video – (3:29) A music video featuring Steve Rushton singing “Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town”.

I have watched the Buddy films alongside my son for several years now and for the most part, he has grown up watching these films and enjoying it.

“Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws” is definitely a film directed towards the children.  For parents or teenagers, if they are dog lovers, they can probably enjoy the film and be entertained by the cuteness of the puppies and seeing the Disney magic at work and watch them talk.

I’m sure that young children will enjoy this film.  In fact, the inclusion of the DVD along with the Blu-ray can definitely be useful during those long holiday commutes.  But I will say that I was disappointed by the small amount of special features included with this release.  “Space Buddies” featured fun facts, bloopers and even a game for the children.  But this time, “Santa Buddies” only features a music video and a Christmas sing-along.

But that’s the parent in me wanting a bigger bang for the buck.  But in the end, children will find this latest adventure featuring the buddies probably as entertaining as my six-year-old son did and in the long run, I suppose that’s all that matters.

Overall, “Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws” was family tested, child approved.






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