As Good As It Gets
It's easily one of the freshest, sharpest and most enjoyable films of this year.
Mathilde the Guild
Although I seem to have had higher expectations than I thought, the movie is super entertaining.
Everyone's favorite golden retriever puppies are back again.In Fernfield, Washington right before Christmas, the puppies are out playing and having a good time. B-Dawg makes the mistake of chasing a kitten, whose mom is the angry Himalayan Miss Mittens. One of the other puppies sees an open ice cream truck, so they all have to sneak in and have a treat. B-Dawg watches for humans. But he too must hide when Miss Mittens shows up, so our adventure begins.It seems the ice cream is headed for Ferntiuktuk, Alaska, home of a legendary dog sled race. And our heroes are trapped.In Alaska, Adam wants to race like his father Joe, who also runs the local general store. But Joe says it's too dangerous. And he lost some of his dogs when they fell through the ice the last time he raced. Among those dogs were the parents of Shasta.Adam is good at hockey--if you're on the other team--and he is less than a model student. But we later see that if he really wants to do something, he is very determined and a hard worker. He makes a wish that he can have five more puppies to join Shasta.Christmas arrives and there are five very sad children in Washington. The parents Buddy and Molly make an effort to find their puppies.Adam is sad too when he opens his presents, but there is a special surprise later, which he must keep hidden from his parents. Yes, somehow the shipment with the puppies ended up out in the middle of nowhere and they couldn't understand why it was so cold and why the world was covered in vanilla ice cream which didn't taste very good. But Shasta rescued them, and all is well. Believe it or not, Adam is going to train these dogs to enter the race.With the help of Talon, a wise old husky, he just might do it. And this implausible plot line can only succeed because of the kindly but incompetent Sheriff Ryan, whose trained rescue dog is St. Bernie.But there are many obstacles. Among them are the evil villain Jean Georges, last year's winner, who admits he won only because Joe lost his dogs. Francois and Phillipe are Jean Georges' mean dogs that taunt the puppies and remind them that if by some miracle they make it into the race, they will not win! Other competitors come from Iceland, Russia and Japan. Jean Georges has no morals and will do what he can to sabotage their efforts.So will Adam race? Will he win? What do YOU think? This is part of the Buddies series, after all.This is no masterpiece, and you shouldn't look for great acting, though Kris Kristofferson impressed, on the same day he and other country music legends performed at The Grammys. Charles Stevenson as the bumbling sheriff is also quite good.John Kapelos as the villain is the only human here who is genuinely a cartoon.The dogs are very intelligent. But it's more than a little obvious several dogs play each part. And some of the dogs don't look quite real. But a lot is demanded of them.There are a couple of "only in Hollywood" moments where a kid proves he can accomplish a lot.Other than that, you pretty much know what to expect. But I can't say anything negative. if you're a kid, it's great. And there's nothing offensive, except for some potty humor that apparently qualifies as G-rated these days, and some minor but necessary violence in a race with an evil villain.If you already enjoyed the Buddies series (and I did, even though I don't like dogs), you'll surely like it. If not, and especially if you don't care for kids' movies, well ...
I personally don't know if the puppies died or not, it's just what people are saying on the forums.This time around The puppies and their love for adventure ends them up in the back of an ice cream truck. The ice cream truck's shipment is put into a plane and dropped in Alaska. The puppies meet a husky pup named Shasta and they find that the dog's owner, young Adam has prayed hard for 5 more puppies so he can start a dog sled team. Must I go on, yes they race, they win, their owners in Washington come up there and find them and it's all happy endings...Bonus though, NO ONE is trying to kidnap them this time.This was just another film, exploitation Disney style - this is part 7 of the series and it is fine for kids I suppose, but I think adults are getting rather tired of them coming out. If your kid has air buddies he can stop there because they get worse as it goes along. C.G.I. effects and talking puppies get old very quickly.This movie is set around Christmas as many of the other Air Bud films are. There is a dog mentioned on here named Nanook, and thats an obvious reference to Corey Haim's Husky in The Lost Boys movie from 1987. One stupid thing is that two Huskys had died in a previous race on this film, Shastas parents, yet race 2 is in the same location and the bad guy gets his dogs stuck there. Why would anyone race in a place that is an obvious danger zone...these Air Bud movies are full of little flaws like that.Robert Vince is back again as director and he is nothing special, his whole career has been exploiting various animals for his films. His C.G.I. effects are hard to set through at times. Acting wise, most of the cast was back, Richard Karn as well as all of the kids except the main kid, Noah. The adult dogs, Buddy and Molly were back being voiced again by Tom Everett Scott and Molly Shannon. Whoopie Goldberg voices a cat, James Belushi voices a dog and Kris Kristopherson voices Talon, a huge Husky and that dog even resembles Kris.Jus another crazy talking animal movie that will shut your kids up for 80 minutes. 2/10 stars
Many of us in the audience at the Lidgerwood Presbyterian Church, which is where we watched SNOW BUDDIES last Friday, have fond memories of watching ongoing film series with recurring characters, like Tarzan and Jane, Blondie and Dagwood, Andy Hardy and his family, to name just a few of the longer-running ones. But most moviegoers are unaware of which characters or group of characters has been filmed most often. Not counting silent, animated and short films, made-for-TV movies, and foreign-language films, TARZAN, not surprisingly, is #4 on the list, just a few films less than were made featuring Sherlock Holmes. Topping Holmes is another detective, a Chinese cop from Honolulu, Charlie Chan, who was in 45 pictures in all. By the way, none of the actors who played him was Oriental. At the top of the heap is that gang of ruffians from the Big Apple, the Bowery Boys, who were in a total of 48 flicks. Not all the actors or the characters they portrayed were in all 48, but the three or four main actors and their characters stuck together for a good share of them. And before that, the gang made 38 more movies as the East Side Kids and Dead End Kids-all told, more than Chan and Holmes combined. What, you ask, does this have to do with SNOW BUDDIES? Well, this AIR BUD sequel is Disney's longest running film series of all time, even surpassing the LOVE BUG bunch. The sixth film, prior to this, AIR BUDDIES, featured Bud's puppies as the main stars, as does this one, and presumably the next one, still in production, called SPACE BUDDIES. While SB has some fine voice talent in supporting roles, notably Whoopi Goldberg and Kris Kristofferson, the story stretches credibility with the young puppies pulling a dog sled in a grueling Alaskan race against adult dogs. But, hey, it's only a movie, so I'll cut Disney some slack over that. But I do give the studio some grief over the way they treated their canine actors. As an animal lover who loves to watch them in movies (SEABISCUIT is among my personal all-time Top Ten favorite films), I was appalled that the producers cut so many corners and disregarded so many guidelines and regulations by organizations like the American Humane Association, which is responsible for the end-credits line in movies with animals that states "No animals were harmed in the making of this motion picture." If you want to know more of the grisly details leading to the death of five puppies during the shoot, check out the blogs which accompany the User Comments and other info about this film. Sad as this case was, it is to be hoped that Disney and other film makers learned some lessons from these mistakes. I would not have watched this picture if I felt Disney had no remorse over its actions. I believe their next AIR BUD picture should carry a dedication which reads something like, "This film is dedicated to all past and present animal actors in the AIR BUD series who have performed so well and given so much of themselves in the production of these films." As moviegoers, we should insist the studio that is home to Mickey, Donald and Goofy does no less. Dale Roloff
The Disney Air Bud series is running very thin. Not to be confused with the Cuba Gooding Jr. vehicle SNOW DOGS; those five lovable Golden Retriever pups are back. Buddha, MudBud, Budderball, RoseBud and B-Dawg explore an ice cream truck and the next thing you know they are loaded on a plane and dropped in Alaska. They meet new friends Shasta and Talon and end up in an Arctic adventure. The pups team up with Shasta and enter an exciting dog-sled race across Alaska. You have to admit those cute fluffy Buddies are more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Alls well that ends well; and every kid in the family will be happy. A diverse group of actors lend their voices to this fell good movie directed by Robert Vince: Tom Everett Scott, Molly Shannon, Jim Belushi, Kris Kristofferson,Dylan Sprouse and Whoopi Goldberg.