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Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups
Canadian animated TV series PAW Patrol, a top dog for pre-schoolers on the Nick Jr channel, bounds excitedly onto the big screen in a super-powered instalment directed by Charles E Bastien. Parents of little ones frothing with excitement at the prospect of 70 action-packed minutes of canine misadventure should be forewarned that the film is a compendium of three programmes. Alongside a turbo-charged main feature, there is an episode of Top Wing in which Rod encourages his scaredy-chick little brother Romeo to have self-confidence - "When the time comes, I know you'll find your inner rooster!" - as they cock-a-doodle-do their best to stop their family's runaway truck. Completing the compilation is an instalment of Butterbean's Cafe, which centres on young fairy Cricket as she practices her skills with a piping bag and comes to the rescue when older sister Butterbean forgets to add coloured frosting to a batch of cupcakes ordered by Professor Cosmos for his stargazing club. If your litter is only interested in PAW Patrol then you'll be treated to approximately 45 minutes of well-groomed entertainment for your money, which hammers home valuable life lessons about perseverance and resilience in the face of failure. Mighty Pups opens with 10-year-old Ryder (voiced by Jaxon Mercey) and his doggy crew responding to an emergency at Moo Juice Dairy Farm where farmer Al (Ron Pardo) has foolishly decided to clean the top of a grain silo by tying a giant helium balloon around his waist. Police dog Chase (Justin Kelly), snow rescue dog Everest (Berkley Silverman), firefighter dog Marshall (Drew Davis), recycling dog Rocky (Samuel Faraci), construction dog Rubble (Devan Cohen), air rescue dog Skye (Kallan Holley) and aquatic rescue dog Zuma (Carter Thorne) combine their skills to return the farmer to terra firma. Soon after, Harold Humdinger (Chance Hurstfield), inventor nephew of power-hungry Mayor Humdinger (Pardo again) from Foggy Bottom, accidentally diverts a meteor towards Adventure Bay. The flaming rock impacts close to town and imbues the dogs with special powers including lightning speed, increased strength and the ability to conjure an ice storm with a well-timed bark. Harold is also blessed with new powers and he abuses this otherworldly gift for personal gain. The fate of the community hangs in the balance as Ryder and co race to the rescue. "No job is too big, no super-powered pup is too small!" proudly declares the young boy. PAW Patrol: Mighty Pups is essentially two episodes of the TV series neatly sandwiched together. Visuals haven't been enhanced or polished for a larger canvas but the target audience won't care. Pacing is brisk and the plot is light on its paws including a couple of terrible puns that will have parents howling silently in pain in the dark. Every computer-animated dog has his or her day.