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Forget the plot of Paw Patrol, it’s obviously toy sales that matter

G, 44 minutes

If you grew up in the 1980s and now have children of your own, you may get a rush of nostalgia escorting them to this extended episode of a computer-animated Canadian kids’ show. A world away from the pretensions of Pixar, Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups sets its standards low in the traditional manner of Saturday morning cartoons: awful jokes, trite moralising and minimal effort to mask the fact that the main goal is to sell toys.

Each pup has a speciality and a costume to match.

Each pup has a speciality and a costume to match.

Created by Keith Chapman, who also gave us Bob the Builder, the Paw Patrol are a squadron of talking puppies under the command of a young boy named Ryder (voiced by Jaxon Mercey), who carry out rescue operations and keep life safe for the citizens of Adventure Bay (one of those video-game towns that usually looks weirdly empty, surrounded by equally deserted fields sprinkled with generic trees).

Each pup has a speciality and a costume to match, after the fashion of the Village People: one is dressed as a firefighter, another as a construction worker, a third as a cop (his slogan: "These mighty paws enforce the laws!"). There are a couple of token girl pups, the most prominent being a cockerpoo named Skye (Kallan Holley) who wears pink and typically serves as lookout.

Among the human characters, the only noteworthy woman is the dithering Mayor Goodway (Deann Degruijter), who is often in distress about the destruction of her tulip beds.

While the gender politics may be on the traditionalist side, director Charles E. Bastien and his team are fully up to speed when it comes to the superhero craze. This adventure sees the gang gaining special powers from a glowing meteor, subsequently pinched from the local museum by Mayor Goodway's conniving rival (Ron Pardo), with the help of his geeky nephew (Chance Hurstfield).

IPaw Patrol: Mighty Pups/I is short and sweet.

Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups is short and sweet.

Chases and skirmishes ensue, often occurring high in the air, the team basing themselves in a kind of inland lighthouse that they reach by bouncing off a launching pad (all except Skye, who's able to fly up with her newly sprouted wings). Touches like this have an undeniable imaginative appeal, not just for children but for adults, who may detect a faint Japanese influence in the combination of a cosy rural setting and fanciful gadgetry.

But let's be real: no one old enough to read this review is likely to take much interest in this film for its own sake. What parents mainly need to know is that it runs a mere 44 minutes, which from one angle may not appear great value for money. Then again, it reduces the chance of you or your offspring getting restless, and you'll be home in time for tea.