Super Buddies 2013
Since started this site, I’ve expanded my focus quite a bit. For the first half of the first year, I was limiting myself to only theatrically released superhero movies. I quickly included home video releases so I could review the great DC Animation titles and my list of movies to watch is always growing. And while I doubt I’ll ever expand it so much that I end up watching and reviewing Dora the Explorer: Superbabies, I did decide to watch and review this movie. It did help quite a bit that my daughter is already a fan of the Buddies series of movies and I realized that I haven’t really watched a lot of movies with her lately even though I would almost always mention Jena in the early days of this site. Now, this movie has a few things going against it right from the start. It’s a Disney, straight-to-home-video movie, it has talking puppies, and it’s somewhere around tenth in the long running series of Air Bud and later Buddies movies. I’m not going to go out and say that this is a good movie by any means, but when I look at it from the perspective of being aimed towards younger kids, you could do a lot worse than Super Buddies.
The plot is nothing to speak of, it’s got a lot of standard ideas in it, there’s a crash landed alien with five powerful objects and a villain alien who wants them to control the universe. There’s also a series of comic books that turn out to be real stories based on the alien, and the Buddies are the ones who find them, become superheroes, and eventually save the day. The first thing I noticed was the fact that John Ratzenberger is in this movie as the chubby kid’s grandfather, I can never get over it when there are actors that I’m familiar with in such substandard fare as a home video talking dog movie. There’s also the voices of Tim Conway, and Amy Sedaris. I suppose I should mention the set up for the Buddies because unless you have a young child, you’ve probably never seen one of these movies. Each dog and their kid owner have distinct and very narrow personality types. There’s Mud Bud, who’s always dirty and never passes up a chance to roll around in mud, his power ends up being able to make himself and those around him invisible and intangible. There’s Buddha, who is very zen-like and gains the power of telekinesis. There’s Budderball who’s always interested in food and for some reason he ends up with the super strength. There’s B-Dog who’s the hip-hop dog, and the most annoying one who likes to say “dog” as much as possible and gains the power to stretch himself like Mr. Fantastic. And finally Rosebud, the only girl of the bunch who is always wearing pink and gains super speed as her power.
The movie sets itself up at a fairly reasonable pace, starting off with the Budderball’s kid’s birthday which is superhero themed since he’s fascinated by the comic adventures of Captain K-9 & Kid Courageous which seems to have a product placement tie-in with Puppy Chow since the macguffin “Rings of Inspiron” are included as toys in bags of dog food. Because dog food is like cereal for dogs, right? And the dogs soon find the “real” Rings of Inspiron and discover their new powers which alerts the author of the comic because the comic book is actually a true story about this alien Captain Negatron, which totally sounds like it should have been the villain’s name, and his nemesis Drax, which totally sounds like it should have been the hero’s name. Drax is alerted too and also is trying to find the rings. There’s some superheroics, some childish comedy, and the Buddies save the day.
The humor is something that’s always subjective in movies like these. I found it way too childish for my tastes, there’s a lot of broad slapstick, situational comedy based on the Buddies’ personality traits, and surprisingly minimal juvenile potty humor. That last one was something I was surprised and relieved by, as I have seen a couple of the other Buddies movies which often has very juvenile fart jokes for no reason. I was also not a fan of Sheriff Dan who is a complete buffoonish moron. I’m often not a fan of the idiot character, but I was especially annoyed by Dan’s completely oblivious and borderline mentally challenged actions. There was a couple moments with Drax that I thought were slightly humorous, like when he mispronounces “earth” like “ear” which reminded me a little of Megamind, though without the comic timing. The aliens themselves weren’t that badly done, they were handled similarly to all the talking animals, there was a person wearing an oversized alien suit complete with big bulging head, and they just animated the face and ears of the alien, which I think worked well for this kind of movie, though I have to say that the female alien at the end of the movie was a little too bizarre looking with her full head of bright red hair.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, this is not a good movie by any means, and there were very few moments that actually clicked with me, but it’s not a movie to suffer through. On top of that, my daughter really enjoyed it, and the message behind the movie is actually a good one. Something that gets mentioned a couple times, and even plays into the finale of the movie is the line “you don’t need super powers to be a superhero.” Which is a good message in and of itself. And when you look at a couple recent movies that don’t have that great of a message attached, like Planes where the main character has to change everything about himself to win the race, or Monsters University where Mike works as hard as he can to fulfill his dream and ends up settling for the next best thing. I wouldn’t recommend seeking this movie out on your own, but if you have a young kid, and they enjoy talking animal movies, you could do a heck of a lot worse than Super Buddies. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.