Air Bud World Pup
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Air Bud World Pup

The lucrative film franchise can be achieved in any genre but certain types of movies just seem to be more conducive to the process of telling a continuing story. One near the top of the list is the family movie. As with all form of family friendly entertain the Walt Disney studio is in the vanguard of this field as well. One of their most successful employs a long held standard of ‘cute’ in family flicks; children and animals. The ‘Air Bud’ series has been going strong since the initial installment back in 1997 and adorable golden retriever with a gift for basket ball hit the screen. Since then just about on annual basis Bud has demonstrated his proficiency in one sport after another. When the time came for Buddy to retire his jerseys the studio made certain he had a litter of five cuddly, adventurous puppies. The third film in this series, ‘Air Bud World Pup’ Buddy demonstrates his perchance for taking on new sports id not restrict to the favorite American past times. The one canine sports channel goes global with the most popular sporting endeavor in the world, football, or as we call it over on this more provincial side of the pond, soccer. This is a natural extension of the franchise as Disney has always attempted to broaden the perspective of their audience by introducing an international component into their more popular work. As was the case with the preceding flicks this movie is well suited to watch as a family. There is sufficient time allotted to people to keep the grownups interested and the fact is the dog is so much fun to watch all but the most jaded adults will immediately revert back to their inner child and get pulled into the film. This entire series can boast that affect; it works for children of all ages so gather the family into the living room, make a big tub of popcorn and resign to putting the adult world on hold and enjoy.

The scripting responsibilities were primarily handled by the husband and wife writing team of Anne and Robert Vince. The produced most of the films in both generations of the franchise and starting with this film provided Buddy and his brood screenplays. The character of Buddy and his two-legged family were the invention of Kevin DiCicco, the writer of the initial installment of the series. Taking on the directorial task here was Bill Bannerman. This is his only work on this series but he has been in demand for years as a second unit director. He shared a Directors Guild of America award with Clint Eastward for ‘Unforgiven’ and was a producer for one of the hottest franchises around on the latest two films of the ‘Twilight Saga’; ‘Full Moon’ and ‘Eclipse’. One thing is certain about a Disney production; it will attract some of the most creative people in the industry. Never dismiss a Disney family film as lacking in professionalism or quality. One the human side of the story Buddy’s now teenage human Josh Framm (Kevin Zegers) is attending the wedding of his mother Jackie (Chilton Crane) to her veterinarian boyfriend, Patrick Sullivan (Dale Midkiff). While most of the human parts get cast with a different actor in each film Zegers has been consistently the face of Josh. On the other hand almost half a dozen canine actors share the role of Buddy necessitated by each one mastering one or two requisite tricks. I guess even animal actors are subject to type casting. In the opening scene Josh is at the altar with Jackie, Patrick and Buddy. The dog has a tuxedo on. Between that and all his sports jerseys this dog has more variety to his wardrobe than I do. Josh forgot the rings so he whispers to Buddy to get them off his night stand. Crawling on hid belly until he is down the aisle the pouch runs home greeted cheerfully by everyone he passes. The house is being painted, odd for a wedding day but who am I to judge. The dog uses the scissor lift to get to the second floor retrieving the ring. The painter brought the lift down so Buddy, thinking quickly, uses the garage door to get back to ground level. While running back to the church he sees an Iris setter obviously hiding from the dog catcher. Buddy stops a moment to stare but gets the ring to the groom just in time. At the reception younger sister Andrea (Caitlin Wachs) goes off with as friend to play a little soccer. This brings us to the plot device that will unite boy and dog in an adventure. Josh joins the school’s soccer team just as the decision is made for it to go co-ed. New to the team is a girl just over from England, Emma Putter (Brittany Paige Bouck).Naturally Josh instantly smitten but since this is ostensibly a flick about the dog the new girl has a beautiful golden retriever Molly. Since courtship goes much faster in the canine world, that whole dog year thing, before long Buddy and Molly are the proud parents of the next generation for the franchise, five fluffy puppies. Buddy is as great at soccer as every other sport so he leads the team to one victory after another. Meanwhile, some nefarious bad guys including one rightfully booted from the team kidnap the puppies with a plan to score big selling them to the highest bidder. It’s up to Buddy to save the pups and ensue the next set of flicks get made. This film is more than something to keep the kids quite, it is truly a movie that can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Posted 06/13/2010

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