Plot: What’s it about?
The legendary sports pooch Air Bud has found true love and settled down, which means he is now a family man. He is now the proud father of a litter of five precious puppies, each with their own unique style. RoseBud is dainty and very feminine, MudBud loves to get down and dirty, Bud-Dha is a laid back, metaphysical type, B-Dawg is an urban soldier who loves hoops, and Budderball can never get enough of the munchies, so the group is quite an eclectic collection. As you can imagine, all of these puppies under one roof can be chaotic, all the different personalities in such a confined space. The puppies all love each other of course, but for one family, an entire litter is a lot to manage. So the family considers finding homes for the puppies, after all any of them would make an ideal friend for another family. But the puppies can’t go to just anyone, so the process will not be a quick one. At the same time, some kidnappers have targeted the puppies, with plans to make a small fortune by selling the children of Air Bud. Can the puppies somehow work out this complex situation and if not, will they end up in the hands of the kidnappers?
The Air Bud franchise is alive, but it isn’t well. After seeing the concept of an athletic pooch milked through every sport possible, now the series turns to puppies. After all, seeing puppies is a whole new world, right? In Air Buddies, we have an entire litter of puppies, each with their personality and style, so every kid can relate to at least one. This installment isn’t satisfied with sports however, as we have puppies who talk. I hate that concept, but this Disney, so talking animals can sometimes work. In this case however, the result is a bland and unmemorable movie in all respects. The writing is basic and the humor is thin, unless you love lame fart jokes. I understand this is aimed at a young audience, but I’ve seen countless children’s films that were adult friendly too, but this one is almost unwatchable. Then again, if you want a flick to pop in just to keep the little ones busy, Air Buddies isn’t the worst option. The movie is bland, totally harmless outside of the fart jokes and shouldn’t rile up even the most prudish of parents. But this is still a bad movie even by direct to video family films standards, so I have to think you can find a better movie than Air Buddies.
Video: How does it look?
Air Buddies is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. As this is a new release from Disney, of course it looks terrific and then some. The print is almost pristine, so the visuals have a clean, crisp, and well detailed appearance. In fact, detail is so good at times, the image takes on a much deeper texture, quite impressive work indeed. The movie’s vivid color scheme bounds off the screen, with rich and vibrant hues that never drift into errors. I found contrast to be stark and consistent also, with no problems in the least to mention. All in all, another excellent visual effort from the folks at Disney.
Audio: How does it sound?
A Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is used here, but the material doesn’t ask much of it beyond the basics. The pop driven music comes through well, with a lot of life and presence that spices up the experience a lot. But the music sometimes overpowers the other elements, though never to an extreme degree, so no worries there. The rest of the elements sound more than solid, but never rise above passable levels. A handful or so scenes have some added presence, but on the whole, the mix is basic and reserved. The material doesn’t need explosive audio however, so the experience is still fine and more than acceptable. The dialogue is crisp and clean throughout, with no signs of trouble in the slightest. This disc also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
A featurette here shows us how to teach our own canines some tricks, while another profiles the film’s pups, and a third piece offers interviews with the five stars. If you can’t tell, these were created for the kids to enjoy, so don’t expect much. The only other extra is a Jordan Pruitt music video.