Spooky Buddies: Blu-ray + DVD (a J!-ENT Children’s Blu-ray Disc Review)
September 29, 2011 by Dennis Amith
The buddies are back in this darker, fun and enjoyable Halloween family film for the kids. “Spooky Buddies” is Halloween-themed, so it may not be for the younger children but for the children who have grown up with the Buddies and are slightly older, they will most likely enjoy it.
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TITLE: Spooky Buddies: Blu-ray + DVD
FILM RELEASE: 2011
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, Spanish
COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 20, 2011
Directed by Robert Vince
Written by Robert Vince and Anna McRoberts
Produced by Anna McRoberts, Robert Vince
Music by Brahm Wenger
Cinematography by Mike Southon
Edited by Kelly Herron
Casting by Lorna Johnson
Production Design by Michael S. Bolton
Set Decoration by Shirley Inget
Costume Design by Stephanie Nolin
Tucker Albrizzi as Bartleby
Jennifer Elise Cox as Mrs. Carroll
Elisa Donovan as Janice
Jake Johnson as Sam
Rance Howard as Mr. Johnson
Mitchell Duffield as Devil Kidd
Pat Finn as Frankendude
Hardy Gatlin as Skip
Max Charles as Joseph
Nels Lennarson as Joseph’s Dad
Sierra McCormick as Alice
Michael Teigen as Sheriff Dan
Frank C. Turner as Sheriff Jim
Harland Williams as Warwick
Diedrich Bader as the voice of Hound
Ameko Eks Mass Carroll as Ghost Boy
Frankie Jonas as Pip (voice)
Tim Conway as the voice of Deputy Sniffer (Voice)
Nico Ghisi as Budderball (Voice)
Ty PAnitz as Mudbud (Voice)
Debra Jo Rupp as Zelda (Voice)
Ryan Stiles as Hoot (Voice)
Charles Henry Wyson as Buddha (Voice)
Skyler Gisondo as Billy/B-Dawg (voice)
G. Hannelius as Rosebud (voice)
In Spooky Buddies, the lovable ―Buddies‖ — talking pups B-Dawg, Budderball, Buddha, Mudbud, and Rosebud — embark on a spine-tingling journey across town to a shadowy mansion shrouded in legendary secrets. In a race against the mysterious Howlloween Hound, the Buddies and some new friends — Pip, Zelda, Rodney and Skip — must stop Warwick the Warlock to save the world from his dastardly deeds. Their brave exploits in this trick-or-treat adventure highlight the importance of friendship, courage and teamwork.
The Buddies are back for another family film for 2011 titled “Spooky Buddies”.
For those who have watched the previous “Buddies” films (Note: buddies are the children of Buddy the Golden Retriever, the star of the “Air Bud” films of the ’90s), the good news for fans who enjoyed the more involving storyline with the last year’s film “The Search for Santa Paws”, co-writer and director Robert Vince and co-writer Anna McRoberts continue with the same formula where the film is not all about the buddies but bringing back the “Air Bud” style of featuring the story around the human characters.
“Spooky Buddies” is a film that begins in the 1930’s as the evil warlock, Warwick (played by Harland Williams) is needing five dogs of the same bloodline as a sacrifice to open a portal to unleash evil spirits. So, Warwick has gathered five beagles, including a dog named Pip to sacrifice.
But the Deputy and the people families of those who lost their dogs descend to the home of Warwick where he is in the process of feeding the energy to the evil Halloween Hound. As Pip’s young owner, Joseph, tries to rescue his dog…it’s too late. He has been turned into ghost, while it’s actual body has been turned to stone.
But because the police and the families interfered with Warwick’s plans right before he was to become successful, Warwick escapes into the evil mirror along with the Halloween Hound. Unfortunately, for the owners of the dogs, especially young Joseph…his beagle Pip is lost and is thought as dead. But what they don’t see is the ghost of Pip floating around, calling after them.
Fast forward over 80-years later and a teacher is taking the children on a field trip of various Halloween haunts in the city. One of the areas where she takes the kids is where the “Halloween Hound” incident took place. Despite it being a true story, many now disregard as just a scary tale.
But one day, the Buddies sneak into the house and the five dogs hear Pip’s voice and are scared by it that they think the house is haunted.
Meanwhile, Billy, the owner of B-Dawg is asked by the teacher of what his next school assignment will be and he tells them that it will be about if the “Halloween Hound” incident was real or fake.
So, as Billy and friends do research on the incident, they visit the police station and are taken to the evidence box where Billy is given a few things for his research. One is Warwick’s magical staff and the book of spells. But what Billy doesn’t know is that by having that staff, he has now awakened both Warwick and the Halloween Hound and also brought them to the present-time, during Halloween night.
And for Warwick, his plans of unleashing the portal continues but first, he must get his staff and spell book from Billy. Meanwhile, the Halloween Hound looks for five new dogs of the same blood to unleash the portal and this time, his targets are the Buddies.
Can Billy and friends stop Warwick from accomplishing his evil plans?
“Spooky Buddies” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1) and I have to say that the film looks awesome on Blu-ray. A lot of outdoor shots with sunlight and many costumes of various colors, it definitely lends to the vibrant colors of the film. But also during Halloween night, the black levels are nice and deep but for the most part, detail of the costumes and the closeup of the dogs look great!
So, there is a good amount of detail this time around and I didn’t detect any artifacts, combing, banding or any significant problems while watching the film. Another quality Disney presentation on Blu-ray.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Spooky Buddies” is a dialogue-driven film and the dialogue is crystal clear as its coming through the center and front channels. But one will notice with this latest film is how much of the music plays a big part, especially as it is utilized in the surround channels. A pretty solid soundtrack for this film courtesy of Brahm Wenger and also you get a pretty groovy cover of “Monster Mash” during the Halloween party segment of the film.
Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Spanish and French.
“Spooky Buddies” comes with the following special features:
- DIGS: Rosebud Edition – (4:01) Hosted by Leo Howard (of “Kickin’ It”, “Leo Little’s Big Show”, “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra”), canine Rosebud gives viewers a tour of where she lives, her garments and more.
- Monster Mash Music Video – (3:05) The guys of Disney show “Shake It Up” (Davis Cleveland, Adam Irigoyen and Kenton Duty) sing a new version of “Monster Mash”.
- Treasure Buddies: Sneak Peek – (4:24) A sneak preview of the next Buddies film, “Treasure Buddies”.
“Spooky Buddies: Blu-ray + DVD” comes with a slip cover case and also comes with a DVD presented in Widescreen (1:78:1 – enhanced for 16×9 televisions), English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital and subtitles in English SDH, French and Spanish.
For those who love the adventures of B-Dawg, Budderball, Bhudda, Mudbud and Rosebud….the Buddies are back! This time to save the world from an evil warlock who wants to open the portal and bringing in bad spirits to the real world.
Having reviewed the “Air Bud” films and also the “Buddies” films in the past, I like the fact that Robert Vince and Anna McRoberts are continuing on the focus on the human characters and not entirely on the Buddies. While the previous earlier films had focused entirely on the “Buddies” and was targeted towards a more younger audience, with last year’s “The Search for Santa Paws”, there is more production value, a much more deeper screenplay that incorporates the characters much more, also including the Buddies as expected and also including more music.
The same can be said about the latest film “Spooky Buddies”. Like previous “Buddies” films that showcased the importance of friendship, courage and teamwork. Those elements are still incorporated into this latest “Buddies” film but this time around, it’s a Halloween-themed film and it’s a bit darker than any of the previous “Buddies” films.
And it’s important to note that although rated “G” for a general audience, for parents who are wondering if this is a film they can show to their young 3-6 year-olds, I don’t know if it would be appropriate because there are some darker themes that may spook younger children.
For example, seeing a warlock sacrificing young puppies and turning them to stone, an evil warlock going after kids who are trying to runaway from him, or the warlock turning a adult friend into a zombie to the warlock scaring trick or treaters. Especially the brooding Halloween Hound. The dog with its green eyes and it’s evil intention, that may spook some children. For those who are used to the wholesomeness of the series, this latest film does have its darker moments that probably is more appropriate for children.
There is also a very short religious segment of the film that features the Bible and the children seeking safety in a church. I know some people may be bothered by this.
But overall, because you expect a Halloween theme for “Spooky Buddies”, it’s what you get. A slightly scary but fun story for the older kids, may not for the younger children. My eight-year-old watched it with no problems. And because he has grown up with the Buddies films, he knew it wasn’t going too be scary, especially in the context of comparing it to other children’s scary movies or shows like “Goosebumps”. “Spooky Buddies” is rather tame.
“Spooky Buddies” comes with a Blu-ray & DVD. Both picture quality and audio quality is well-done in HD and although there are not many special features included in this release, there is the “Buddies” tie-in with the kids of the hit Disney show “Shake It Up” and also the tie-in with Disney’s “Kickin’ It” star Leo Howard which fans may be interested in.
And similar to “The Search for Santa Paws”, you have a few stars such as Harland Williams (“The Whole Nine Yards”, “Dumb and Dumber”), Rance Howard (“Night Club, “The Dilemma”), Jennifer Elise Cox (“Pretty the Series”, “The Brady Bunch Movie”), Pat Finn (“I Love You, Beth Cooper”) and Elisa Donovan (“Clueless”). Also, doing the voices for the film such as Diedrich Bader and Ryan Stiles (both from “The Drew Carey Show”), Debra Jo Rupp (“That 70’s Show”), Tom Conway (“SpongeBob SquarePants”), Frankie Jonas (“Jonas”) and more.
Also, enjoyed the CG for Pip the Dog and the visual effects for this Buddies film is definitely much better than the CG that was used in previous films, so I’m glad that the “Buddies” films have better production and continuing the character-driven storyline.
Overall, “Spooky Buddies” is another family fun “Buddies” film. Darker and a little creepier that previous Buddies films but I did enjoy Robert Vince and Anna McRoberts experimenting with the film, especially a more darker themed film involving the Buddies but I think that (older) children who grew up with the Buddies may find this one to be a bit fun, silly, dark but enjoyable. But for parents who have younger children, you may want to pass on this one as this film may be a bit too scary for them.
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