Arctic Dogs Parent Guide
Harmless and entertaining for kids; bland, boring and predictable for adults. The movie's script isn't good enough for its superb vocal cast.
Parent Movie Review
Mail room clerk Swifty (voiced by Jeremy Renner) has a dream: to become a Top Dog, a star courier with the Arctic Blast Delivery Service. There’s just one problem: Swifty is a fox, not a dog. Feeling trapped in his dead end job, Swifty decides to prove his mettle so he steals a sled and heads out to develop a package. But this delivery is more than Swifty bargained for, as he learns when he winds up in the sights of evil villain Otto Von Walrus (voiced by John Cleese). Can a little fox defeat a supervillain whose dastardly plan will destroy the earth as we know it?
There’s not much doubt about the answer to this question. Of course, Swifty and his friends will triumph. This is a kids’ movie, after all. The critters aren’t going to wind up dead in a snowy wasteland. The real question is whether the journey to this happy ending is worth taking. For adults, the answer is no. The predictable story line feels like a great first draft that needed a bit more polish and the jokes are aimed at the under-twelve crowd. Arctic Dogs is the kind of film that leaves adults longing for their phones and a round of Candy Crush to fend off the boredom.
For young audiences, Arctic Dogs is lots of fun. I brought two of my sons to the movie and they laughed out loud at the corny jokes and slapstick physical comedy. And, on the bright side, this production serves up some positive themes along with the cheesy jokes. Swifty’s character arc demonstrates that success comes to those who are true to themselves. The story shows that hard work and determination pay off in the long run and that we are stronger working together than going it alone. And the film encourages small individual efforts to ameliorate global warming, with a message that every little bit helps. Arctic Dogs also warns youngsters against the consequences of dishonesty. There’s a boy-cries-wolf subplot: Swifty’s reputation for exaggeration and dishonesty means his initial warnings about Otto Von Walrus’ evil plot are disregarded.
In terms of production values, Arctic Dogs does fairly well. The animation quality is good and realistic enough to make the fictional arctic town seem sweet and simple. Pixar it ain’t, but it’s watchable. And the voice cast is far superior to the movie. John Cleese steals the show as Otto Von Walrus and Anjelica Huston acquires an amusing Russian accent in her portrayal of Magda. But, frankly, the movie doesn’t really need the superstar vocal talent: the script simply isn’t good enough. And a portion of the money spent on actors should have been directed towards a songwriter who could have added some personality to the show.
When it comes to Arctic Dogs, you don’t need to hitch up the sled and race off to the theater. The movie is pleasant and harmless but not worth the ticket price at the local multiplex. Wait until it comes out online or on DVD and enjoy it from your couch. If you’re going to nap during a movie, you might as well do it in the comfort of your home.Directed by Aaron Woodley. Starring Anjelica Huston, Jeremy Renner, James Franco, Alec Baldwin. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release November 1, 2019. Updated November 2, 2019
Watch the trailer for Arctic Dogs
Rating & Content Info
Why is Arctic Dogs rated PG? Arctic Dogs is rated PG by the MPAA for some mild action and rude humor
Violence: There is some animated slapstick violence between two birds who slap each other’s faces and choke each other. A box is thrown at a character’s face. A character is belittled for being “just a fox”.
Sexual Content: None noted.
Profanity: There is some minor name calling and verbal bullying.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.
Page last updated November 2, 2019
Arctic Dogs Parents' Guide
Why did Swifty take the sled? Do you think it was ok to do that? Can you think of another way he could have tried to achieve his goal?
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