Santa Buddies (2009) [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Comedy / Family|
|Disney || G - 88 minutes - $39.99 || November 24, 2009|
|Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-12-01|
Writer(s): Kevin DiCicco (character, "Air Bud"), Paul Tamasy & Aaron Mendelsohn (characters); Robert Vince and Anna McRoberts (written by)
Cast: Craig Anton, Tom Bosley, Tim Conway, Chris Coppola, Ben Giroux, Zachary Gordon
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I vaguely remember a television show (probably “Family Guy”) talking about how bad direct-to-DVD films normally are. Yes, it’s quite apparent that they are just used for a quick cash-in by companies at the right time. Take for example Santa Buddies, which is targeted towards parents with kids in need of a movie that odds are the whole family can enjoy. Sorry parents to burst your bubble, your kids might enjoy this one but I guarantee you that it will fall short on your end and your wallet at the same time.
The story for this is kind of complicated, due to the sheer number of unknown voices playing the characters, so my apologies if anything here is incorrect. Its Christmas time and the elves and talking dogs are preparing for Christmas. Puppy Paws (Zachary Gordon) causes some trouble in the workshop and is scolded afterwards by his father Santa Paws (Tom Bosley). Puppy Paws decides to leave the workshop and find a dog that is on the bad/naughty list that Santa keeps to try and help him get onto the good list as a good deed.
He sets out and meets Budderball (Josh Flitter) to try and help him be a better dog so he can get presents during Christmas time. Instead though, Puppy Paws creates more trouble inadvertently for the troubled dog and Budderball is scolded by his owners for it. Puppy Paws is then introduced to several other dogs, including Buddha (Field Cate), Sniffer (Tim Conway), and other dogs in his adventure. It turns out though that the dogs are terrified of the local dog catcher, Stan (Christopher Lloyd), who terrorizes the dogs and is a ruthless man. Puppy Paws and his new crew are determined to find out why Stan is such a bad man, and hopefully restore the Christmas spirit that is missing in the town they live in once and for all.
It might not seem like it, but dang this movie has a ton of cameo voices in it. The more disturbing thing is why would Christopher Lloyd want to be in this? I assume he must be hurting for a paycheck, as his acting in this flick is half-done at best. He just doesn’t seem into it as the bad guy, nor does he come off as one at any point during the flick. He is creepy looking, but beyond that I highly doubt kids will be terrified of him or see him as a bad guy until later in the movie.
I give credit to the multitude of people who are involved with the flick, including the main characters that play as dogs and also Danny Woodburn as an elf. There is some good voice over work done by the crew using the dogs during the scenes and also the few human actors (despite Lloyd’s best attempt not to be). It would have been nice to have had a few extras in the special features to see how they went about doing it with the animals but alas the mystery will remain.
Santa Buddies really is though just a cheap cash-in for the holiday season. Sure it has absolutely no laughs or anything that parents will enjoy but maybe, just maybe, kids will enjoy the flick and its positive message. I forgot what the message was although I assume it had something to do with Christmas or positivity or talking dogs can do cool things.
Sing Along Songs (4 minutes): There are three different videos for kids to sing along to if they so choose to by selecting this option.
Music Video (2 minutes): The hit song “Santa Clause is coming to town” is performed here with scenes from the movie thrown in for good measure.
Finally, a Digital Copy and a separate copy of the movie on DVD are available for people to do what they will with.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Thankfully, despite the film’s lack of a theatrical release, Disney has gone all out in providing viewers a near reference material in terms of video quality here. Colors are absolutely gorgeous in every respect, as not once did I catch any signs of over blown colors of any variety or any weird tinting that has been happening recently. I’m also glad to report that there weren’t any issues with contrast either since I didn’t notice much if any grain in the film. So, you may be wondering what I took half a star for right? Well, a few times I did notice a little bit of noise here and there and had to deduct half a star for it. Otherwise, this is a phenomenal transfer that other companies should take note of in how to do a transfer for Blu-Rays in the future.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track though that comes with the movie isn’t as impressive sadly. What we get here is a decent audio track that does have some “oomph” to it, but falls short in the other categories where I tend to judge more harshly in terms of sound quality. Dialogue sounds great and it was rare to where I couldn’t understand what was being said by characters on screen. The problem was with the lack of surround usage from the track. I know that there were a few action scenes involved with the movie, and when they happened I didn’t hear my surrounds go off as much as they probably should have. Thus, I had to take a star and a half away for this.
I’m all for direct-to-DVD films hitting the shelves, but they need to be a little better in terms of movie quality. There are few jokes here, and the repeated adding in of the “ghetto” character is getting quite old. Yes it was funny years ago and now it’s old so move on. The technical package is decent and the fact you get the Blu-Ray, DVD, and a Digital Copy in one package is quite nice. This is probably best served as a rental for the kids though as parents or older people (like me) will odds are find this groan-inducing.