Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
The cover for Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws is cute. We get a shot of the Buddies in Christmas hats, along with Puppy Paws, the son of Santa Paws, who is of course Santa Claus’ dog. It is festive and cute, and for this type of film, a decent cover.
The menu for this movie is again Christmas themed, as can be expected. I do have to note the loading screen, which was a really cool string of Christmas lights, that turned on one-by-one. It was a pretty cool loading screen.
- Sing Along To Christmas Carols With The Buddies – This extra is just a bunch of sing along Christmas songs, where you get to play karaoke with the Buddies themselves, who sing the classics. You follow the bouncing paw that hovers over the lyrics, and are treated to scenes of the movie and the singing dogs. Not my favorite extra, but I guess for those who love to go carolling, this might work nicely. Grab some hot cocoa and belt out the standards with the Buddies.
- Santa Claus Is Coming To Town Music Video – This is a music video by artist Steve Rushton, with scenes from the movie mixed in.
- DVD & Blu-Ray Versions Of The Film – For this release, we get the Blu-ray and the DVD versions of the movie, and the extras are the same (with the exception of the BD-Live content, which offers Disney previews and details about other Disney movies.) There is no digital version of the film, which seems weird, but is probably not a bad idea for this type of seasonal movie.
The Movie: 6/10
Ah, another Buddy flick. The Buddies have come into their own with Disney releasing several of the dog movies on DVD and Blu-ray. Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws is the latest, and as you probably can tell, it is a holiday themed release. Our heroes return to save Christmas in this somewhat revisionist take on Santa and his thus unheard of canine friend Santa Paws. (We seem to learn more and more about the famous big guy with each passing year.) I had no idea that Santa Paws was so important to Santa Claus’ big delivery day, but when Santa Paws’ son Puppy Paws get disenchanted with the whole idea of Christmas, ans decides that he just wants to shirk his duties and become a “normal” dog, he hits up the Buddies, who steer him back onto the holiday trail by showing him the true meaning of the holiday.
B-Dawg, Rosebud, Mudbud, Buddha, and Budderball return as the Buddies. These five lovable puppies each have their own nuances, like Budderball living up to his name as he is hungry all of the time, and eats just about anything. Rosebud is the female, glamour girl, and Mudbud has a pension for dirt. B-Dawg is a sort or rapper puppy, while Buddha, the team leader of sorts, is a zen master of sorts, and the most focused one of this little posse.
The Buddies are given the tack of helping Puppy Paws, as he gets into a sort of battle royale with the local dog catcher, played by ever-quirky Christopher Lloyd. The dog catcher captures Puppy Paws, and while Santa Claus and Paws both are trying desperately to find the missing puppy, who alone can save Christmas, the Buddies are the ones who end up with the task of saving the little dog, and therefore Christmas itself.
This type of movie is a bit much for me, and while I can understand that these are geared more towards children, I usually can find my way through just about any of the kid’s movies that I review. I am not going to sugar coat it: I have a rough time with the Buddies’ movies, but I have come to realise that this is not necessarily a bad thing, as they really are geared more for kids than adults. My 4 year-old son was fine with Santa Buddies, and the story and characters really were on his level, and he connected with the whole movie. Now I don’t think it is a great movie by any stretch, and I didn’t love it, but it was just fine for my son, and that is the audience.
Audio & Video: 8/10
I was very impressed with the video on this release. The 1080p 1.78:1 wide screen AVC encoded image is bright and crisp, and it really looked festive. The Christmas colors are vibrant, without being overly hyper-realistic. The scenes are solid throughout the movie, and for Disney this is a kind of straight to home release, which usually means (for other companies) skimping on the picture and sound. Disney did not skimp in either department.
The audio was solid, but the DTS-HD 5.1 Surround Sound presentation was a bit lacking in the ambient sound area. While dialogue was good and clear, this was really front based, with little rear sound. The music was decent though, and overall the audio was quite good.
It is really hard to review children’s movies being as adult. I will admit that my wife states numerous times that I act like a child, but honestly some of the movies that kid’s really enjoy, us adults are just not able to grasp. I am afraid that these Buddy movies are just out of my comfort zone. They are cute, well done, and my 4 year-old really follows them intently, and he has connected with the characters. He liked the movie, but didn’t love the movie. I on the other hand fought to stay with Santa Buddies, and I just think that this is a good kid movie, but not a great family movie. While some children’s releases are great for both kids and adults, I would argue that the Buddies movies are aimed squarely just at kids, and that is fine. It seems to work, and I know that this will be on again in my house before Christmas, so it seems to have worked.
Overall Score 6/10