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Space Buddies

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: G

Running Time: 84 Minutes

Starring: Bill Fagerbakke, Kevin Weisman, Lochlyn Munro, Ali Hills, Pat Finn, Nolan Gould, Wayne Wilderson and Diedrich Bader

Written by: Robert Vince and Anna McRoberts

Directed by: Robert Vince

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Buddy Bloopers, "Dancing In The Moonlight" Music Video, Disneypedia The Buddies' Guide To Space Travel, Buddy Facts

Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selection (12 Scenes)

Released: February 3rd, 2009


 

 

"Space Buddies" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and it's a pretty sharp transfer. First, the flaws: noise is a bit on the excessive side, and there are some edge halos to be had. Other than that, the transfer looks pretty nice: black levels are solid, no edge enhancement and a pretty clean print. Detail is nice, and colors are bold and well-saturated. Not that kids will really care, but if you have to watch along with them, at least expect a pleasing visual presentation. 

 

The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track works, but I was a little disappointed by it. Namely, the track is really front-centric when it could have been much more enveloping. Still, the rear speakers do get to do their job at times. Some of the action in space features surround sounds, and standard-yet-subtle moments - like somebody talking from the side - also use the rears. Dialogue is always clear and easy to hear, and the musical score by Brahm Wenger sounds crisp through the channels. Subwoofer use was better than I expected, as there are moments in the film that will make your floor shake a little - not to mention the deep bass from Wenger's score. In all, this track is on par for this direct-to-video feature.

Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in French and Spanish are included, as well as subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
 




Everything here is meant for the kiddies. Buddy Bloopers are mainly fake bloopers from the movie. It reminds me of what Pixar used to do, but these are not as funny (but I will say the "Cool Runnings" reference was a nice touch). These last three minutes. There's also the Dancing In The Moonlight Music Video by Alyson Stoner. When will these tween stars stop butchering classic songs?

Disneypedia: The Buddies' Guide To Space Travel runs about 13 minutes, and is actually a nice featurette that's educational in many respects. The tone, as expected, is meant for the kids - but there's a lot on the history of the real NASA program, as well as how some special effects were accomplished. In some strange way, this piece puts the movie in a more realistic context.

And finally, there are Buddy Facts. It's your standard pop-up trivia track, with notes about the actors (Bill Fagerbakke!), space and even plugs for the original "Air Bud" movies. I'm not sure I'd say the track is very educational (stick with the featurette), but fun enough for the kids.
 

The "Buddies" franchise is one of the strangest things Disney has put out if you ask me, but I can understand why they have been appealing to young kids (and thus, quite profitable). The DVD sports a good transfer and 5.1 mix, and the few extras are quite suitable for this release. If you have children, chances are good you'll be blasting off with this release. And it's not done yet: come fall 2009, prepare for "Santa Buddies."