Whenever there’s an emergency in Adventure Bay, you don’t call the police or the fire department, you call Paw Patrol.
Led by Ryder (their human counterpart), the puppies Chase, Skye, Rubble, Marshall, Zuma and Rocky use their suped-up gadgets and vehicles to save people from car wrecks, burning buildings and even maple syrup leaks.
So when Humdinger, longtime nemesis of Paw Patrol, takes over as mayor of Adventure City (the neighboring town), local pup Liberty calls Paw Patrol for help.
Humdinger is a self-proclaimed “unqualified, elected official. What’s the worst that could happen?”
It turns out a lot.
Humdinger’s antics lead to negligence, public endangerment and even dognapping.
But it’s all going to be OK. Because Paw Patrol is on a roll!
Chase, the police pup, is hesitant to travel to Adventure City because it’s where he was abandoned when he was younger. And he worries that if he returns, people will still see him as the scared little puppy he used to be instead of the hero he is now. But Ryder reminds Chase that he didn’t choose to save Chase because he felt sorry for him. He chose Chase because he saw a brave, heroic little pup who never gave up, even when he was all alone.
And although it takes some time for this lesson to sink in (Chase is embarrassed and scared after a few failed missions, and runs away when he thinks Ryder is giving up on him), Liberty helps Chase learn that it’s OK for heroes to get scared. What’s important is that they push through their fears.
Liberty’s dream is to become an official member of Paw Patrol. She acts as a sort of honorary member, giving Paw Patrol directions through the maze of streets in Adventure City, doing crowd control at rescue mission sites and preventing littering. Her methods can sometimes be a bit brusque (she threatens to throw a litterer in the trash), but her heart is in the right place since she encourages the citizens of Adventure City to take pride in their city, to take care of it and each other. (And the man she threatened promises to turn his life around, helping old women on the subway and picking up his trash.)
People often underestimate Paw Patrol, preferring to wait for human help rather than trust their fates to a litter of puppies. But the members of Paw Patrol use their unique skills and gadgets to help people in need, earning others’ trust along the way. They work together as a team to get the job done. And even when things get scary, they demonstrate grace under pressure to think critically through the situation and find a solution.
We hear a passing reference to a character’s sense of “destiny.”
Rubble, the construction pup, accidentally gets dressed by a robot in Skye’s (the only female member of Paw Patrol) clothes. A man’s pants are pulled off him twice, and he covers his underwear with his hands in embarrassment. We see a woman’s midriff.
As I mentioned before, Mayor Humdinger’s antics put the public in danger, though it’s all accidental. When he overloads a fireworks display, it breaks, firing the explosives into the crowd and nearby buildings. His idea to turn the subway into a loop-the-loop leaves several people stuck hanging upside down on the rails. And when he refuses to turn off a cloud-catching machine, it releases a week’s worth of bad weather all at once, resulting in rain, lightning and hurricane-force winds that blow buildings over.
However, nobody is ever hurt because Paw Patrol is there to save the day. The intrepid dogs pull people from burning buildings, save a family whose car fell into the river and stop falling pieces of rubble from hitting bystanders.
Most notably, Chase jumps between two multistory buildings in order to save Ryder, who fell and got trapped under a concrete block after rescuing Humdinger (though Humdinger insists it was an “assisted exit,” not a rescue).
Humdinger’s henchmen have a few hand-slapping fights. Humdinger himself throws a shoe at a television, shattering it.
A semi-truck veers sharply to avoid hitting a baby turtle and wrecks on a bridge (though Paw Patrol rescues the driver and the turtle).
None, though we do hear name-calling insults such as “egghead” and “windbag.”
Mayor Humdinger likes to toot his own horn. A dangerous combination of arrogance and ignorance, all his ideas to improve the city turn out disastrous because in his efforts to make himself more beloved, he ignores the advice of the scientists and reporters who know better. He even builds a tower so that people will literally look up to him (though he also notes he’ll be looking down on them).
Mayor Humdinger has his henchmen abduct all of Adventure City’s dogs because he’s more of a “cat person.” His pet cats like to cause mayhem by purposely knocking over objects and pushing things off tables.
A man spills a slushie into his underpants. A reporter calls one of Humdinger’s ideas “poop.” Someone says a dog looks like a toilet brush. Liberty sneaks into a ceremony where no dogs are allowed. A girl is scolded for taking selfies when her family is in danger. Several people cough from a smoke machine effect.
Paw Patrol: The Movie is an extension of what we find on the TV show.
There are a few scary moments caused by Humdinger’s dangerous ideas, but Paw Patrol’s diligence prevents any real harm from happening. (And we see some justice at the end of the film when Humdinger is arrested for “gross negligence, public endangerment and dognapping.”)
But the film is surprisingly deeper than a simple good vs. bad plotline.
Chase fears that if he returns to Adventure City, he’ll be seen as a scared little puppy again. And for a while, he lets those fears get the best of him, causing him to freeze during emergencies. However, the love of Ryder and his new friend, Liberty, shows him that just because he’s scared doesn’t mean he isn’t heroic.
He pushes through his fears and helps his fellow Paw Patrol puppies save Adventure City from the inept Mayor Humdinger.
Families will find that these animated pups are cute, courteous and courageous—and so is this film. They laugh together and love each other. And they’re always willing to do whatever it takes to help a person in need—even Mayor Humdinger.
Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.