I’ve actually been a Paw Patrol fan for a while. Not by choice. It’s weird how these kids shows work: you start watching them because you just happen to have kids at the time the show is airing and then you continue watching it as long as you have kids of that age. If you have 1 kid you watch 2-3 seasons. If you have 3 you end up watching 8-10. So the concept of a Paw Patrol movie obviously had me pumped. And…I was kind of surprised. As I’ve said so often, theme is the backbone of any strong story. And the Paw Patrol movie’s theme smacks you in the face. (Spoilers ahead, but if you haven’t watched it yet then chances are you’re not going to.) The story goes that Mayor Humdinger, former mayor of Foggy Bottom, becomes mayor of Adventure City after his opponent mysteriously drops out. Humdinger wins by default and proceeds to enact a bunch of expensive and dangerous measures around the city that catastrophically go bad. (Don’t worry. Paw Patrol saves the day). One stray dog sees Humdinger’s corruptness and calls the Paw Patrol in to stop him. Humdinger responds by using animal control to lock up any dogs that go against him. If you haven’t realized the political context of the plot then allow me to spell it out: Humdinger is a fascist. He’s an undemocratically elected official that asserts his whim without question upon the city he controls while locking up dissenters without due process. If that’s not a fascist then I don’t know what is. And remember that dog who opposed him that I was telling you about? Guess what her name is: Liberty. Honestly, it couldn’t be clearer. Paw Patrol is an anti-fascist film and proves that just because you’re writing for kids doesn’t mean you can’t build your story from a strong thematic foundation.
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