For those that know me, I have two favorite film genres; superheroes and talking animals.  So you could probably guess I was excited when Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment announced that the next film in the “Buddies” franchise would be Super Buddies.  In fact, meeting one of the Buddies was my highlight of the D23 Expo!

Now I may get some flack for this, but I enjoy about half of the films in the franchise..  That doesn’t mean I think the films are incredibly well made.  They will not be studied at the USC Film School, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it like an old-school Disney Channel Original Movie.  Think Mr Boogedy not Teen Beach Movie.

Let’s start off with the cast.  There are several folks with Disney ties.  John Ratzenberger plays Gramps Livingstone.  I wonder if he will now be appearing n every Buddies film.  Jason Earles from Hannah Montana and Kickin’ It plays Jack Schaeffer in a role that is much briefer than the marketing might lead you to believe.  Michael Teigen reprises his role of Sheriff Dan from other films in the franchise.  Tim Conway of Apple Dumpling Gang fame also reprises his voice role Dan’s dog Deputy Sniffer.  The Middle’s Atticus Shaffer voices Monk-E, which looks like a cross between Spock from Star Trek and the monkey from Outbreak.  Walt Disney’s son, Colin Hanks, voices Captain Canine.

The plot is not as straightforward as you might expect.  Basically there are these power rings that are available in Purina Puppy Chow (cha-ching) that are based off a comic book featuring Captain Canine.  In the comic book, Captain Canine is actually an alien trying to protect the rings from getting in the evil alien’s hands.  The alien crash lands on earth and takes the form of a dog to protect himself.  As he goes on his way, he finds a boy who is mourning the loss of his father and needs a friend.  They team-up to fight evil and wear spandex.

As it turns out, the comic is based on a true story.  The boy Captain Canine meets turns into a comic book creator after he grows up being inspired by his companion’s quest.  The real power rings are located inside a barn in the small-town the Buddies live in and upon their discovery give the Buddies powers beyond those of mere mortal puppies.  Of course the activation of the rings draws the attention of the bad guy and Captain Canine goes off the mentor the newly powered pups.

I enjoyed the fun romp which was basically a typical comic book origin story featuring puppies.  The special effects were well done considering the small scale of the project.  They did not try and do something they could not afford so nothing comes across as poorly done, including the aliens.

The acting from the adults is fine, however the children that are the Buddies owners leave a lot to be desired.  They are well bellow Disney Channel caliber child stars.  At many points, their poor acting was very distracting.  It was refreshing to see Jason Earles play his own age and it is hard not to enjoy John Ratzenberger in anything he does.

I did keep having a thought while watching the film.  G. Hannelius voices Rosebud in this, and other films in the franchise.  She also currently stars as Avery Jennings in Disney Channel’s Dog with a Blog.  Do you think Disney would ever do a crossover?  What happens when Stan meets the Buddies?  I think this is talking animal gold!