Review by Leonard Norwitz
Blu-ray: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Runtime: 84 minutes
Size: 50 GB
Case: Standard Blu-ray case w/ slipcover
Release date: February 3rd, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Video codec: AVC
English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Feature & Bonus: English SDH
• Disneypedia: The Buddies' Guide to Space Travel (12:55)
• Buddy Facts
• Buddy Bloopers (2:54)
• Buddy Finder
• Disney BD-Live Network
Just as in Snow Buddies, where the puppies teamed up with an
Alaskan Husky puppy named "Shasta", in Space Buddies, they
have the opportunity to meet a genuine canine astronaut, "Spudnick."
Five sibling puppies, owned by as many schoolmates, manage
to stowaway in a rocket ship bound for a moon mission. What
is supposed to make this remotely credible is that the
mission is designed to be unmanned and controlled remotely
from its launch station. So as long as the pups don't get in
the way they could conceivably make the trip. But what plot
would there be if they didn't lend a paw in their own
Back on earth the puppies are noticed missing by their
owners, but have no idea where they might have gone off to.
Earlier that day, the kids visited mission control as part
of a school field trip and, unbeknownst to them – or anyone
else – the puppies had scrambled onto the bus and eventually
onto the space ship itself. A melodramatic touch - well,
more than touch – is that the entire project is sabotaged by
Dr. Finkel (Kevin Weisma, the technical whiz from Alias) who
figures that if all goes according to plan, the ship may
never reach its destination.
En route the buddies dock with a Russian space station where
they meet up with Cosmonaut Yuri (Diedrich Bader) who is
definitely showing signs of the space crazies. Uri's bull
terrier, Spudnick, seems to know how things work and yearns
to get back to Earth to his boy owner and so hitches his
hopes on the buddies' return flight.
Since this movie is targeted for young kids, it is important
to note that there is no evidence of animal cruelty or even
serious potential danger for the critters – not even the
project director's pet ferret, "Gravity." Space Buddies is
kid-safe in the extreme.
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence
compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale.
The second number places this image along the full range of
DVD and Blu-ray discs.
I can well imagine that no Bud or Buddy movie has ever
looked this good on video, but this is not to say that the
image is all that awesome. Colors are natural. Contrast is
sensible. But it's soft and a little grainy. The CG of the
rocket take off is artful in concept, murky in execution.
The CG wire erase is good, though I think that the join to
the puppies' uniforms bulges a bit.
Audio & Music:
In the right places, the surrounds do get something to do,
but this is largely a dialogue-driven movie, which get me
directly to the thing that made me jump out of my chair (you
can tell I don't watch this sort of movie very often): the
voices for the puppies are indistinguishable from their
owners. I don't mean that they are the same actors but that
there is no effort to lend them a unique signature. The
target audience will necessarily identify with the pups even
without their sounding similar to their owners, so the
decision struck me as laziness. Obviously, I represent a
Non-animated, sensibly laid out, easy to navigate menus
display lots of information.
It is in the 13-minute featurette "The Buddies' Guide to
Space Travel" that the relative mindlessness of Space
Buddies is redeemed. Interspersed between brief segments
showing how the puppies are green-screened is footage of the
training of actual astronauts, accompanied by a little
educational voiceover. Buddy Facts is a pop up of trivia
that shows up during the film, if preselected. Buddy Finder
is a scavenger hunt game exclusive to the Blu-ray edition,
along with the Disney BD-Live Network.
It's likely that anyone who might be in the market for this
title will already have a little history of the Buddy movies
behind them. It's only to be assured that this one is very
family-friendly, which means it is edgeless. The difference
in price between the DVD and Blu-ray versions and the
addition of BD-Live make the choice a no-brainer.
January 25, 2009