Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw
Pound Puppies and the Legend of the Big Paw is a 1988 animated musical comedy-adventure film based on the Pound Puppies toyline and the animated Hanna-Barbera television series of the same name. It was the only animated feature film produced by the now-defunct Carolco Pictures, as well as the first animated film from TriStar Pictures. The film was released theatrically on March 18, 1988.
When a magical artifact gets stolen by the sinister Marvin McNasty, the Pound Puppies must race against time to retrieve it, with the help of the mysterious Big Paw.
Why It's Not Legendary
- Like the TV show it is based on, this movie was made just to promote the Pound Puppies toy-line, making it more of a toy advertisement than a movie.
- Given that this movie is based on a cartoon show that was already bad to begin with, it is doomed from the start based off that fact alone.
- The film's animation is a bit amateurish, even by late-1980s theatrical animated film standards.
- It even has its revealing mistakes such as Cooler's nose disappears in one scene.
- Misleading title: The titular Big Paw only appears halfway through the movie.
- The character designs of the Pound Puppies bare little-to-no resemblance to the designs used in the original TV series. In addition, the dogs are still very anthropomorphized, which makes them seem like beggars.
- The storyline makes no sense, even by animated film standards.
- The character Cooler, unlike the TV show, acts a bit more serious and doesn't use his Eddie Murphy-esque laughter.
- The characters of Katrina Stoneheart, Brattina, Catgut and Holly never appear in the movie.
- Marvin McNasty is a one-note villain whose personality is basically "I'm going to take over the world because I'm evil!".
- The quicksand in the movie is depicted like water, unlike quicksand in real life.
- Some continuity errors including:
- When Whopper and Collette are recaptured by McNasty's henchmen, there is one short sequence where Collette is together with the others, in place of Nose Marie.
- When Tammy and Jeff are outside of the museum, talking about the adoption center, Tammy is first seen holding one black and white cat. In the next shot, she is holding a tan dog and a white dog.
The Only Redeeming Quality
- The songs are actually pretty entertaining, as they pay homage to various songs from the 1950s.
Critical response to The Legend of Big Paw was negative during its theatrical run. The Hollywood trade magazine, Variety, called it "uninvolving and endlessly derivative". The Sacramento Bee deemed it "miserably drawn" in comparison to what Disney was offering at the time, and the San Francisco Chronicle gave it an "empty chair" rating. A reviewer in the Detroit Free Press found it "dull and unoriginal", but praised the songs that were written for it.Martha Baker of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch also denounced it and began her review thus:
"If you're in your 40th year and not your fourth, Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw requires the extra dosage of insulin reserved for such treks into celluloid and commercial [sweetness]. But even 4-year-olds have trouble swallowing this cartoon whole".
Writing for The Animated Movie Guide by animation expert Jerry Beck, Stuart Fisher gave the film one star out of four, and saw the film's artistic quality as "a mixed bag". "[While] the backgrounds are somewhat imaginative and colorful, the character animation is flat and lifeless. Rapid cuts to new angles of the same shot seem to try to cover up limitations of the animation technique", he continued. Moreover, Fisher and The Philadelphia Inquirer took note of its purpose as a toy commercial, a trend that was prevalent in the animation industry during the late 1980s.
- This was the last theatrical film from the 1980s to promote a popular toy line. Other properties like Transformers, My Little Pony, G.I. Joe and Care Bears also got their own feature films.
- This was George Rose's final on-screen role before he was murdered by his adopted son, the son's biological father, an uncle, and a friend of the father less than two months after the film's release.