Ok, let's start by stating it's very difficult to criticize a film built around some adorable pups. And, even though "SANTA BUDDIES" is targeted for the youngest of viewers, adults will typically be sitting beside them while watching this flick around the holidays. So, adults be warned, bring plenty of good reading material and keep the coffee burner going.
The plot is so ridiculous, even by "Santa Clause" standards, that it's just got to be hard for an adult viewer to stomach. Apparently, the reason the polar ice caps are melting at an alarming rate has nothing to do with the debate over global warming. No, it's due to an increasing lack of Christmas spirit, inherently depleting the great icicle providing the energy Santa needs to run his operation. Annoying enough yet???
Added to this situation, a pup, in line to inherit the role of Santa's right-hand pup, "SANTA PAWS," has been picked up by a dogcatcher, so it's up to all the pup "Buddies" of the film to save the North Pole, Christmas, the captive pup and more. For a children's film, there's far too much going on to make any sense of the final film. Worse, it's like making a big cake with all the wrong ingredients. Most of the sub-plots are just tired. As a large family gathered around to watch this while Thanksgiving dinner was being made, everyone over age 7, was either asleep or frustrated.
Now, giving it some credit, the 7 and younger kids were at least semi-engrossed throughout the 88 minute running time. But, there have to be many more entertaining films for kids to watch.
BUENA VISTA has provided the correct 1.78:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray. In spite of some artifacts popping up sporadically and the low-budget effects being more recognizable with the higher resolution, colors are impressive throughout. Rich and vibrant, the various hues of the film's holiday centered design are consistently impressive and pleasing to the eye. Contrast is impressive as well, with some impressive detail in darker scenes.
BUENA VISTA has provided a DTS-HD Master Audio mix which while adequate, lacks any form of aggressive effects. While the mix is made up of mostly "dog" dialogue, an immersive atmosphere would've been nice. However, save for a few discrete effects and some bass, this is a mostly front focused, uninvolving mix. Not horrible, but by no means impressive.