PAW Patrol is one of Nick Jr.'s most popular shows in years, packed with all the harmless action and cornball jokes that kids and most parents can't help but snicker at. Pups Save the Bunnies is the newest themed collection of PAW Patrol episodes on disc, and it doesn't really change anything about the show's formula or characters. Most episodes go like this: the six PAW Patrol canines (klutzy firefighter Marshall, aquatic expert Zuma, construction oaf Rubble, police officer Chase, recycling guru Rocky, and high-flying Skye) kill time until a citizen yelps for help, while ten-year old handler Ryder waits back at high-tech HQ with a curiously accurate animated breakdown of the potential disaster before sending his pups to the rescue. At no point is it explained how their state-of-the-art operation is funded, or why Marshall can legally heat up the siren on his fire engine to look for a lost backpack.
Anyway, bunnies. Since we haven't had much of a winter this year, why not start spring early? Seven episodes are included on this eighth single-disc collection: "Pups Save the Bunnies", "Pups Save the Easter Egg Hunt", "Pups Get Growing", "Pups Save the Mayor's Tulips", "Pups Save a Stinky Flower", "Pups Save the Songbirds", and "A Pup in Sheep's Clothing". Most (if not all) of these 11-12 minute toons fit the bill nicely: we get plenty of green flowers, painted eggs, bunnies, carrots, and all that jazz. All appear to be new-to-disc (no repeats from earlier PAW Patrol volumes), although it's worth noting that three of these episodes are from the first season all the way back in 2013-14; the other four are from the more recent third season and originally aired last year. These DVD volumes are also getting shorter, too: though slightly longer than last year's Pups Save Christmas, Pups Save the Bunnies still fails to crack the 90-minute mark...and even considering its low $10-$15 price, that's kind of a rip-off. More than half of the series has yet to reach DVD, so how about switching to a more substantial release strategy?
Adult quibbles aside, kids are still bound to love Pups Save the Bunnies unless they've seen at least half of these episodes the first time around. This is enjoyable, lighthearted stuff that I'd have flipped for during my single-digit years, and I'm still more than willing to sit through certain episodes multiple times if it keeps the little one happy. As usual, Paramount serves up a decent DVD presentation: skimpy on material, sure (and with no bonus features either), but with a great A/V presentation that highlights the series' smooth and colorful animation.
Quality Control Department
Video & Audio Quality
Since PAW Patrol was created in HD and no episodes here are older than four years old, it's no surprise that Pups Save the Bunnies looks great on DVD with bright colors, strong image detail, and a pleasing amount of texture on the characters and backgrounds. All episodes are presented in their original 1.78:1 aspect ratios, which showcase PAW Patrol's eye-catching visual design and compositions. The stylized color schemes are vivid with no obvious bleeding, while shadow detail and black levels are consistent from start to finish. Small amounts of banding can be seen along the way, but that's expected for the format and may very well be a source material issue. Overall, this is one of the best-looking Nick Jr. DVDs in recent memory, and it's almost a shame there's no Blu-ray option.
DISCLAIMER: These compressed and resized screen captures are decorative and do not represent this title's native 480p resolution.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and sounds fine under the circumstances. Dialogue is crisp without fighting for attention, while a modest amount of channel separation gives song-driven moments and action sequences a decent amount of punch. My only complaint is that the volume levels are cranked a little high, particularly during the theme song; music-savvy parents might agree that the term "brickwalled" applies here. But it's doubtful that this problem is exclusive to the DVD, so it's impossible to punish the wrong culprit. Unfortunately, no English subtitles or Closed Captions are included during these seven episodes, but optional French and Spanish dubs are available (no French during "Pups Get Growing"). Again, there are no bonus features...hardly surprising at this point, though.
Nickelodeon's popular PAW Patrol is good, harmless fun in small doses, which is exactly what you'll get with their painfully short and sporadic DVD collections. At less than 90 minutes total, there's not a lot of content here but it's almost all very enjoyable for kids and tolerant adults alike. Casual fans---or those who have seen most of these episodes already---might try Amazon's HD downloads instead. Paramount's DVD offers reliably good A/V specs, but the lack of bonus features doesn't help. Still, Pups Save the Bunnies fits right in with past collections and stays above water as the formidable PAW Patrol animation and merchandising machine rolls onward. Recommended.
Randy Miller III is an affable office monkey by day and film reviewer by night. He also does freelance design work and runs a website or two. In his limited free time, Randy also enjoys slacking off, juggling HD DVDs, and writing in third person.