Athena here again. Yup, that’s me, the 13 year old Siberian Husky who sometimes “sub-woofs” for Gino. For some reason he only gives me these dog movies to review. Something about being an expert witness. ‘Cept there aren’t any Siberian Huskies in this movie. So, I settled into Gino’s theater, but almost got kicked out when I decided to pass a little Air Athena. Turns out that while we may share a taste in movies, Gino and I don’t share a taste in smells. Actually I was pretty excited to see this one. I’ve seen a couple of the Buddies movies now, and you can check out my reviews is the movie that started the whole ball rolling, the basketball, that is. Turns out that Buddy was the Buddies’ Papa. But, that’s another movie.
Air Bud starts out showing Buddy, a golden retriever, working as the star in a “hound ‘n’ clown” show that goes from house to house doing parties for human pups. Buddy’s pretty good, but his sidekick, the clown, is not a nice man. I was surprised at how the clown looked. He didn’t look anything like Jim Carvel, and Gino’s always saying he’s a clown. The clown messes up the whole act, but he takes it out on Buddy. He puts Buddy in a cage and threatens to take him to the bad place, and that spells P O U N D. But, before they can go to the bad place, the cage with Buddy in it falls off the back of the truck. Hey, that’s what Gino said happened to the last DVD player he bought. I guess a lot of things get adopted that way. Buddy gets out of his cage and runs away. Now at the same time, there’s this little human boy who is very sad. His Daddy just died, and he doesn’t fit in at school. I bet you know what he needs to cheer him up. He needs a friend, and that’s spelled D O G. He hooks up with Buddy, and the two of them become real close friends. One day Josh, that’s the name of the boy, finds out that Buddy can put this big ball into a hoop that is high on a pole. That doesn’t seem like a hard thing to me. But everybody loves it, and before you know it, ol’ Buddy’s a part of a basketball team. The team is called The Timberwolves, and the picture looks a lot like your favorite movie reviewer. Not Ebert! Me! Buddy is finally having the time of his life, getting to show off in front of lots of people. That is, until his old clown partner sees him on the television and wants him back so he can make lots of money, and not spend any of it on treats for Buddy. I bet you know what happens to him. Boy, he’s lucky I didn’t get a hold of him. I’d teach him a lesson for sure, and that spells B I T E.
It’s hard to believe all of those other movies followed this one. While most of these movies had the dogs talking like people, this was a more realistic movie. Buddy never talks. Of course, he barks, but I’m not going to tell you what he’s saying. All I’ll tell you is that I hope that director gave him some belly rubs, or he might be showing off a few extra holes in his behind. This movie was made to be shown in theaters and not just on home video like most of these sequels were made for. That means it has a higher budget with better stars and more treats for the actors. The human actors were pretty good. I found myself feeling sad for Josh, so the kid did a great job. A kid named Kevin Zegers played Josh, but that was a long time ago, so he’s probably not a kid anymore. He got to be in all four of the Air Bud movies. One of the best humans was a man named Bill Cobbs. He played the school janitor, but it turns out he knew a thing or two about this basketball stuff. He was the best human actor in the movie. The clown was played by a guy named Michael Jeter. It’s sad, but he died a few years ago, so you can’t watch him in any more movies. Even though he played a very bad man that I wanted to bite, Gino tells me that was his job, and if I got mad that means he did a pretty good job.
Your human pups will love this movie. It’s a kind of classic because it’s been around for a while and people still like it…just like me. It has a lot of the stuff that I see in kids’ movies these days. Full grown humans fall down a lot and hurt themselves so the good guys can win. You humans sure like to see stuff get broken and spilled all over the place. It turns out that Gino doesn’t like that so much. We refer to that as the “Kitchen Incident” and we try not to talk about it anymore. I guess adults don’t like that sort of thing, but it sure makes your pups laugh, and that spells F U N. And that’s what this movie is supposed to be…Fun!
Air Bud is something Gino calls an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The movie looked a little drab to me. Some people say dogs are colorblind, and maybe it’s because they watched this movie. The colors seem very dull at times. Gino says the place is known for raining a lot, so part of that is something called atmosphere. In the games the colors are a little better. There weren’t any marks or messes on the movie print. It looked very clean. Gino also says to mention that black levels were average. Overall it looks good for a somewhat older print and basically a children’s movie. Heck it’s almost as old as I am, and sure, I still look good, but you can see some wear and tear…mostly tear.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is almost all upfront. I told you guys before. Dogs can hear stuff a lot better than humans. But even I didn’t hear much of anything going on behind me. I think there was some music once in a while. I also thought I heard a swoosh every now and then, but that might have just been my tail. You could hear the people talking and Buddy barking, so everything you need was right up front the whole time.
There’s an amusing Audio Commentary with the Buddies from those other films. This wasn’t as much fun as in the Snow Buddies commentary. Their Mama’s there, and she keeps trying to calm them down. Since the Buddies weren’t really in this film, this felt pretty silly and really fake.
You do get a “Buddy” dog tag.
For me it was fun to finally see where all of those Buddies films started from. I have to say that this was a better movie. It was okay that the dogs didn’t talk, and I know the story was pretty much the same as a lot of other movies. Still, it kept my tail waggin. For a pretty long while. Buddy got a lot of pudding in this movie. I don’t get any pudding. Hey, if you like my reviews, maybe you can write to Gino and get him to give me some pudding to pay for my work. Tell him I like vanilla. In the credits there was a part that said Buddy had an SPCA representative on set. I guess it’s kind of an actor’s union for dogs. That way he got a nice trailer and the right flavor of pudding. I give this movie three belly rubs out of five. I’m Athena, and that’s my rulin’ Woof! I’m off to see if I can get a pro basketball contract now. Someone’s got to bring a better class of treats into this place. “Ain’t no rule says a dog can’t play basketball.”