Studio: Walt Disney
US Rating: G - General Audiences.
Film Length: 84 Mins
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, French and Spanish Language Tracks
Subtitles: French and Spanish
Review Date: February 11, 2009
The Film - out of
Simple and Silly, Space Buddies continues the misadventures of Disney’s five fun and playful puppies as they get into trouble with the best of intentions and come through to save the day (and themselves).
Our five friends, Buddha, Rosebud, Budderball, Mudbud and B-Dawg get into a bit of a pickle when they decide to tag along (unnoticed) on their children owner/friends school trip to watch the launch of a brand new space vehicle. While the children are being given a tour by the mean and untrustworthy Dr. Finkle, the young four-legged adventurers sneak in to explore the facility, winding up on board the sleek new spacecraft that is being prepping for its maiden flight. While they check out the high-tech interior, the doors close and they find themselves trapped as the craft launches into space. There troubles, however, have just begun. The craft was not fueled enough for the voyage, thanks to the spiteful act of Dr. Finkle who seeks to undermine Pi, the architect of this spacecraft’s, success. With insufficient fuel, the remotely piloted craft must dock with a ‘long thought to be lost’ Russian space station where Buddha and friends meet a crazy Cosmonaut and his trusty dog, Spudnik. Stuck on the space station, trapped in space, missing home, their owners and most importantly for some, food, they must work together to save the day.
Space Buddies is great fun for kids. The manic, broad characters, undemanding comedy and playful predicaments that the four-legged and very cute unintentional ‘dogmonauts’ find themselves in is quickly paced and packed with slapstick moments that will entertain the young very easily. As a direct to DVD film, it knows exactly what it is supposed to be and doesn’t get lost on its way. Exploring (in a simple way and at a high level) friendship and working together, it does a good job of balancing the visual effects with right amount of heart.
Directed by Robert Vince, who also co-wrote the film with Anna McRoberts, the talking puppy action is straightforward but inventive at times. Admittedly, most of the talking moments require the director and dog handler to have the puppy star stay still so the animators can more easily animate their mouths to mimic talking, but some of the reactions from the puppies, head turns, sad eyes and clambering onto slippery leather space seats add up to give these little stars character and keep it all entertaining.
Space Buddies sports some recognizable faces, including Dietrich Bader as the crazy Russian Cosmonaut, Yuri, Bill Fagerbakke (COACH as the nervous creator of the spacecraft, Pi, Kevin Weisman as the mean-spirited corporate cutthroat sabotaging the mission, Dr. Finkle and Lochlyn Munroa as control room technician, Slats. The puppies are all voiced by kids and they do a pretty good job helping bring each of the characters to life. Buddha is voiced by Field Cate, Rosebud by Liliana Mumy, Budderball by Josh Flitter, Mudbud by Henry Hodges and Skyler Gisondo as B-Dawg. New friends Spudnik, voiced by Jason Earles and Gravity, ferret and friend of Pi, voiced by the great comedic talent, Amy Sedaris add something a little new.
Dog lovers will have a blast and kids will enjoy every single adventure filled minute. The special effects aren’t bad, the story’s simple and filled with enough cute and fun action that you’ll find yourselves grinning a lot.
Space Buddies comes with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio enhanced for widescreen televisions.
As a family film, it is no surprise that it’s a bright one, clean colors, plenty of spotless whites, pleasing blues and other happy tones. It works. It’s a little soft, like a good quality television show but it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment and, while not as sharp as other Disney video releases lately, it works well for the film.
Walt Disney equips Space Buddies with a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and while it does the job, it doesn’t surround the audience as much as it could. However, there are some genuine plusses here. The bass/subwoofer gets some deep space exploration when the crafts boosters kick in and that really stands out. Some of the musical numbers make it to the rear speakers and even some sound effects come out there, but generally this is a front focused audio track that is without issues, is clean and will satisfy, without a , the core audience.
Outtakes – (2:50) – Fake bloopers mixed with slipping puppies and easily distracted canines fill up this nearly three minutes. Kicks will enjoy.
Music & More
”Dancing in the Moonlight” Music Video with Disney Channel’s Alyson Stoner – (3:08)
Disneypedia: The Buddies’ Guide to Space Travel – (12:58) – Our dog stars give us behind the scenes look (and explanations) at putting dogs in space and on the moon for the film. You also get a look at real space travel preparations, the work of Astronaut training, doggy space suits and more.
Buddy Facts – Watch the film with this fact pop-up feature running.
Space Buddies is exactly what it is supposed to be – simple, light, cute and perfect for young kids. This one is easy to recommend to fans of the Buddy movies that most likely already have plans to pick it up. For others looking for something to watch with their kids that’s fun, happy and seeded with good messages Space Buddies has got what you are looking for.