Arts

PAW Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue a 'turbo-charged instalment' of popular animated TV series

Plucky pooches bound valiantly into the path of danger in the computer-animated adventure PAW Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue. Damon Smith goes track-side...

Marshall takes to the track in Paw Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue
Damon Smith

THANKS to my three-year-old niece, I'm well-versed in the daredevil escapades of PAW Patrol, the Canadian animated TV series which is top dog for pre-schoolers on the Nick Jr channel.

My expert training in canine co-operation proves exceedingly useful in this turbo-charged instalment directed by Charles E Bastien, which gently preaches self-belief and the importance of fastidiously cleaning your teeth.

The episode's guest hero – a racing driver called The Whoosh – skids confidently into shot, removes his helmet (safety first!), flashes a gleaming smile and proclaims, "It's a great day for racing and it's a great day for flossing, kids".

Pointedly, The Whoosh snacks on a sugar-free energy bar before the final lap of each race and when he does commit the cardinal sin of tardiness, he quickly excuses himself by blaming his meticulous toothbrush regime.

Dental excellence is the sparkling prize of PAW Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue, which transfixed litters of wide-eyed, pint-sized fans around me in the cinema.

Ten-year-old boy Ryder (voiced by Jaxon Mercey) and his four-legged crew – police dog Chase (Justin Kelly), firefighter dog Marshall (Drew Davis), recycling dog Rocky (Samuel Faraci), construction dog Rubble (Devan Cohen), air rescue dog Skye (Kallan Holley) and aquatic rescue dog Zuma (Carter Thorne) – are hired as the mobile pit crew for the inaugural Adventure Bay 500.

The high-octane race should be a coronation drive for fan favourite The Whoosh (Isaac Heeks).

The other competitors are Lionel Lightspeed, Riff Rockenbock, Willy 'Wide Wheels' Jr and The Cheetah (Addison Holley), who is the cousin of Foggy Bottom's power-hungry Mayor Humdinger (Ron Pardo).

The Cheetah is determined to win at any cost – "If you can't beat 'em, cheat 'em!" – and she sidelines The Whoosh with a sprained arm following a stomach-churning spin on the track.

Marshall, who is The Whoosh's "biggest fan-pup", is hand-picked to deputise for his idol behind the wheel.

"I believe in you Marshall. You just need to believe in yourself," The Whoosh counsels the nervous pup.

If the self-doubting dalmatian can remember his training – "Stay calm and steer steady!" – he should be signing pawtographs after the chequered flag.

PAW Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue is an extended episode of the TV series that doesn't pause to consider the implausibility of the premise (fire rescue dog Marshall can't possibly reach the pedals of a full-size racing car to zoom to glory).

Computer-generated visuals, which look crisp at home, are slightly jagged when blown up on the big screen but pacing is brisk and there is wholesome intent in the script.

The main feature is preceded by a five-minute sneak peek of another Nick Jr series, The Adventures Of Paddington, in which the marmalade sandwich-chomping bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) hunts for a monster hiding beneath his bed. Scary.

Rating: 5/10

PAW PATROL: READY, RACE, RESCUE (U, 48 mins) Animation/Action/Adventure. Featuring the voices of Jaxon Mercey, Drew Davis, Justin Kelly, Samuel Faraci, Devan Cohen, Kallan Holley, Carter Thorne, Isaac Heeks, Addison Holley, Ron Pardo, Deann Degruijter. Director: Charles E Bastien.

Released: January 24

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