Adventure into a far off place. A familiar foe who now has access to unlimited power. Emotional journeys into past trauma. Undying loyalty between a team who always is ready to help – both those in trouble, and each other.
No, it’s not Marvel’s newest movie or the latest action series from Netflix. It’s Paw Patrol: The Movie – the beloved children’s show that for 8 years has captivated an audience that ranges from toddlers to celebrities and even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself. It’s fan base is so committed to Ryder and his team of Pups that the voice talent features Iain Armitage (Young Sheldon) as Chase, Tyler Perry as truck driver Gus, Kim Kardashian-West as high-society city poodle, Delores, Jimmy Kimmel as Adventure City’s newscaster on-the-scene Marty Muckracker, and Yara Shahidi and Marsai Martin (both of Black-ish) as scientist Kendra and the Paw Patrol’s biggest fan Liberty (respectively). Plus Dax Shepherd rounds up the celebrity voice guests as one of Mayor Humdinger’s henchmen Ruben, and Will Brisbin is welcomed into the Paw Patrol cast as Ryder.
It’s no surprise that Paw Patrol is such an inviting and engaging movie. Canadian-based Spin Master Entertainment was committed to maintaining the familiar and exciting tone of the hit show so that audiences would feel at home as they re-entered movie theaters and gathered together at home. Producer and now President of Spin Master Entertainment, Jennifer Dodge, has been with Paw Patrol since the beginning.
“Something we stuck to the whole time was being true to the show. To the property that we know our fans and their families love. We didn’t want to deviate from that, we didn’t want to make a movie for a different audience. We wanted to make it for this audience,” Dodge shares.
And they did. Even with a new voice cast, I knew these characters. Marshall was the some goofy and clumsy Marshall we all love to laugh with. Skye “took to the skies,” Rubble crushed and cleaned, Rocky made sure things could be reused, and Zuma had his water rescue. And then Chase…well this time, we saw a very different side of Chase.
We all know Chase as the police pup and de-facto leader of the team of Skye, Rocky, Rubble, Marshall, and Zuma. He is the first to follow Ryder’s call for help, always “ready for action, Ryder sir.” He’s the epitome of brave and caring, striving to keep everyone safe. But when they return to his past in Adventure City in order to thwart Mayor Humdinger’s and his team of cats’ plot to take over the big city after stealing Kendra’s “cloud catcher,” Chase can’t separate who he was there, and who he is now.
Honestly, I watched it without my kids (which was hilarious), and I was totally engrossed. So much so, that as Chase and Ryder revisited the trauma of Chase’s puppy past, I was practically in tears.
Relatable, isn’t it? I think it’s safe to save that all of us have had seasons in our lives that take us back to past experiences that we’d rather keep buried and forgotten. Even for those of us who put on the bravest of faces, there is often something broken that lingers beneath. So when Chase starts to freeze in the face of action and questions everything he knows to be true about himself, anyone in this audience can understand it in such a way that relates to them. And while it was poignant, it wasn’t too heavy for that younger audience.
“I know, it does pull, and I will say when I finally got to screen it…there were some tears shed, even though I’ve seen it so many times,” Dodge affirmed.
To bring such a movie to the screen in a way that provides comfort and enjoyment to children, especially during a time of isolation and confusion, is a testament to the relationship between Spin Master, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Pictures. Together these writers, producers, directors, animators, and cast members created something that remained true to the original material while opening up a new world for the Paw Patrol characters and their fans of all ages.
Check out the full interview with Producer and President of Spin Master Entertainment Jennifer Dodge here.