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Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws - Blu-ray / family and children's DVD / Disney DVD review
SANTA BUDDIES: THE LEGEND OF SANTA PAWS Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 2 1/2 stars
Featuring: Tim Conway, Richard Kind, Tom Bosley, Field Cate, Josh Flitter, Skyler Gisondo
Director: Robert Vince Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
DVD release: 24 November 2009 Runtime: 88 min. (2 discs)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p HD, Aspect ratio 1.78:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English, French, Spanish), Subtitles (English, French, Spanish), Sing Along to Christmas Carols with the Buddies, "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" music video, Sneak peeks

I have to wonder: does an actor of small stature die a little when he or she puts on an elf costume?

Christmas is again in danger of failing this year. The gigantic icicle that stores all the Christmas magic at the North Pole is melting at an alarming rate. We learn this early on as both Santa Claus (George Wendt) and Santa Paws (the lesser-known canine responsible for Christmas in some vague way) observe the alarming rate of decay. The icicle should be building during the Christmas season as the people (and pups) of the world feel the joy of the season. Santa's operation is powered almost entirely by this magic, so his business is in danger. Letters to Santa are few, there's no Christmas snow, and a sick little boy who wants a puppy for Christmas is at dire risk of only getting toys. The mean ol' dog catcher, Stan Cruge (Christopher Lloyd), wants $300 for his unwanted pups, just to be mean (not to cover overhead or anything).

The melting magic Christmas icicle seems to parallel global warming, though from what I've heard we'll need more than just belief in global warming to stop its progress.

Punished once too often, Santa Paws's (Tom Bosley) son Puppy Paws (Zachary Gordon) decides he wants to be a regular dog. He runs away to whatever town the Buddies live in to try to learn to be a run-of-the-mill pooch. At first the Buddies don't want anything to do with him, but they come to like him eventually. Soon all are working together to save Christmas.

SANTA BUDDIES is one of those kids' films that adults may not well tolerate more than once, but darn it! The kids love it. What's not to like about talking puppies? Performances here are mostly subdued with the exception of Christopher Lloyd. For the puppies, the filmmakers must map their animated moving mouths to actual living animals, so it's best to have the animals relatively sedate. The subdued performances of the human characters seem to take on this quality as well, though I think they used their own mouths.

If your kids love the other Buddies movies, this will be a good movie for the holiday season. Just don't expect Citizen Kane.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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