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AWN | Cal Brunker and Bob Barlen Talk ‘PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie’

By Victoria Davis for | Friday, September 29, 2023

5 October 2023
Callum Shoniker as “Rocky”, Christian Corrao as “Marshall”, Christian Convery as “Chase”, McKenna Grace as “Skye”, Luxton Handspiker as “Rubble”, Nylan Parthipan as “Zuma”, and Marsai Martin as “Liberty” in Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie from Spin Master Entertainment, Nickelodeon Movies, and Paramount Pictures. caught up with Cal Brunker and Bob Barlen, directors of the PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie sequel. The full article is available on the Animation World Network website. Here are some exciting excerpts:

No job is too big, no pup is too small! “We answer that question in this movie, and the genesis directly relates to Skye and her relationship with Ryder over the years,” says Brunker, who produced and directed that very sequel, PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie. The second 3DCG film in the franchise, PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie, releases in theaters Friday, September 29, from Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies, and Spin Master Entertainment.

“The world of 3D exists in a box,” explains Brunker, whose team collaborated with French visual effects and animation company Mikros Animation for the production. “But when you have a jet flying at full speed, the scale of things starts to get really big and suddenly the characters are disappearing out of the frame. So, we have to figure out tricks like adjusting the gravity so we can see the explosion longer. We’ve also got crazy scale changes. One of the villains in the movie turns into a giant and is running down the street and the road is exploding with every step. There are effects everywhere in this.”

“Our pitch to the team was that, from across the room, this should look like PAW Patrol but, as you get closer and closer, there’s all this detail and so much more detail to look at,” says Brunker. “We rebuilt the dogs to have anatomically correct legs so that they move in more puppy-like ways. The Mikros animators also used a vehicle paint shader that’s got little flecks of metal in the color, like on real cars. We got into the details on all this stuff. And if you look at the way the vehicles transform, it’s quite an engineering feat. There are a few people on the team who geek out on the vehicle side, and they’ll map out how this whole thing’s going to actually transform and fit back together during the effects sequence.”

He adds, “We’ve made two movies with Mikros now and they’re incredible craftspeople. And a lot of the artists from the first movie had such a good time that they came back and worked on this one as well. They’ve even made their own custom shirts of character moments. The studio has this incredible kind of family atmosphere. It’s a lovely place to make a movie.”

Spin Master was also a valuable partner in coming up with core mock-ups of transforming vehicles, crafted by hand, that would be presented to the production team, who understood the power of maintaining that bridge between the PAW Patrol movies and the toys that would follow.