Arctic Dogs – US title

1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5)

One thing that Arctic Justice has going for it this season is the lack of competition from Disney animation or any other family-friendly films on offer. Then to include a star-studded cast, can this newest entry into the computer-generated animation market makes its mark in cinemas or at least in the snow?

Jeremy Renner (Avengers: Endgame) provides the voice to Swifty the Arctic Fox who has aspirations to be one of the top delivery dogs at Arctic Blast Delivery Service. He starts at the bottom of the organisation in the sorting room alongside his best mate, PB (Alec Baldwin) and the dim-witted albatross, Lemmy (James Franco). As the years pass, the young fox begins to lose faith in ever achieving his dream until one day when the other husky couriers fail to make it to the delivery outpost. Despite being too small to be a competent delivery driver, Swifty straps on a sled and makes a special delivery for his friend and secret love, Jade Fox (Heidi Klum).

The fate of the tight-knit community begins to feel the heat of the repercussions of this delivery. Unbeknownst to Jade, she had been helping the evil genius, Otto Von Walrus (John Cleese), to build a machine that will cause global warming and put their frozen community in the ocean. The foxes and the animal community must work to keep the demented walrus and his army of attack puffins from melting the polar icecaps and destroying their way of life. 

In the highly competitive animated market and the standard set by Dreamworks, Disney and Pixar in this field, the only hope for Arctic Justice is the quality of the story. The animation for this production is reminiscent of low-budget television shows, which may be unfair to say to the better quality animated series on offer. Leaving the weight of expectation on the scripting and the only thing to be said is ‘Woof.’ What seems to be evident is that they spent the majority of the budget on the casting before having a screenplay available. 

The political-correctness of this film is so ‘on the nose,’ the whole thing feels like getting a regular punch in the face with each lesson that it is trying to teach. The beauty of animated films should be that they provide life-lessons for the youth of our culture, but with subtlety and humour. There is nothing subtle, funny or entertaining about this snow-bound journey. Each aspect of this film draws unapologetically from other films that have managed to convey these messages of achieving dreams, addressing discrimination and care for the environment with more creativity and style. 

What should parents know about Arctic Justice? When it comes to choosing something for the young ones at the cinema, this film is relatively benign and predictable. This is a film for the young ones to enjoy, but will offer little for the adults in the audience to access. The overarching themes of achieving your dreams, needing to belong and global warming are addressed with very little nuance, but may lead to interesting conversations in the ride home. If you are looking for films that convey these messages with more finesse and comedic flair, search for children’s favourites like Balto, Zootopia and Despicable Me. 

Bible passages to consider in your conversation with your children on these topics:

Achieving your dreams: Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. – Proverbs 16:3

The environment: The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. – Genesis 2:15

Needing to belong: For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. – Romans 14:7-9