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|Directed by||Robert Vince|
by Paul Tamasy
Charles C. Stevenson
|Music by||Brahm Wenger|
|Edited by||Kelly Herron|
Key Pix Productions
Walt Disney Studios|
Air Bud's five Golden Retriever puppies known as the Buddies from Washington are having fun with their new owners before they go to school. The puppies meet up in the park and decide to play hide and seek. Budderball sees an ice cream truck and decides to go in, forcing the others to try and rescue him. However, the Buddies become trapped in a truck heading to Ferntiuktuk, Alaska. Upon arrival, the Buddies meet Shasta, a Siberian Husky puppy whose 11-year-old owner is determined to win the Alaskan sled dog race because of what happened to his father. The puppies decide to help Shasta pursue his dreams as well as get to the air port, located at the finish line. Unfortunately, as Shasta has no parents, this puts the puppies in a predicament as there is nobody to teach them how to become snow dogs. Shasta manages to persuade a legendary dog named Talon, who had taught Shasta's father, into teaching the puppies into becoming his new protégés.
When Shasta introduces his owner, Adam, to his new sleigh team, the child is delighted at the prospect of his dreams coming true and the team pursue vigorous training routines. Adam begins building a new sleigh with his team of hard-working puppies. Talon proudly watches as the team's efforts come to fruition and it seems as though they are cooperating as a team. The older town huskies, however, are not impressed and begin to plan their downfall. They reveal to the Buddies that Shasta's parents were killed in a dog sled race last year when the ice beneath them shattered to dishearten them. They perished on that fateful day.
Talon calls the puppies to the mountain lake one night to view the Northern Lights before he goes of telling Shasta that he knows all he needs to know and that he can become the great leader that his father was. The following morning, the puppies enter the race with Adam. But everyone else laughs at the thought of a boy and puppies entering a race. The sheriff goes over the rules and sees Adam wrote his own name in the entry list. After being reminded how treacherous the race is by the sheriff, the puppies begin their trek while Jean George, last year's champion, cheats by sabotaging the other racer's sled or pushing them off their sled. Soon only young Adam and Jean George are left but news of a terrible blizzard arrives and it's too late to call off the race as the racers have already gotten past the midway checkpoint.
Meanwhile, the puppies' parents, Buddy and Molly follow the puppies to Alaska, after being tipped by Mrs. Mittens, where the Saint Bernard dog Bernie informs them of their participation in the race. Sheriff Ryan gets a message sent by Fernfield's Deputy Dan asking for any information on the Buddies. The Sheriff phones Deputy Dan to inform him that the Buddies are in Alaska. A dangerous blizzard forces Adam and the team take shelter in an igloo provided by an Inuit until the storm subsides. They come head to head with their opponent, Jean George, and Adam gets injured.
Adam then recovers while Jean George's dogs get into trouble when the ice beneath them shatters. Jean George continues and abandons his dogs while Adam and the puppies begin a rescue operation despite Shasta's fears of his parents' death. The puppies pull the dogs out of the icy waters and Jean George continues the race without any gratitude and abandons their rescuers. Jean George's dogs realise they owe nothing to their owner and everything to Shasta and the Buddies, and so, slow down and "go on strike" causing Jean George to lose the race.
Adam is victorious and the Buddies reunite with Buddy and Molly. Jean George gives out to his dogs and they respond in kind by chasing him around the Arctic. The Buddies sadly say goodbye to their new best friend, Shasta, as well as Adam. All seven Buddies return home via air plane and are greeted by their owners: Sam, Bartleby, Billy, Alice, Pete, Henry and Noah who were waiting for them. Budderball and his owner, Bartleby, are watching the news the next day and Bartleby is surprised when he watches the part about the Buddies, Adam and Shasta winning the race. Buddy and Molly discuss their pups accomplishments, while wondering if there'll ever outgrow exploring. The film ends with a bigger Shasta and Adam racing in Alaska with a new pack of huskies and Talon reminding the audience "to always have faith".
- Skyler Gisondo as B-Dawg
- Jimmy Bennett as Buddha
- Josh Flitter as Budderball
- Henry Hodges as Mudbud
- Liliana Mumy as Rosebud
- Tom Everett Scott as Buddy
- Molly Shannon as Molly
- Kris Kristofferson as Talon, an Alaskan Malamute
- James Belushi as Bernie, a St. Bernard
- Paul Rae as Phillipe
- Lothaire Bluteau as Francois
- Whoopi Goldberg as Miss Mittens, a Himalayan cat
- Christian Pikes as Henry
- John Kapelos as Jean George
- Dylan Sprouse as Shasta, a Siberian Husky puppy
- Richard Karn as Patrick
- Dominic Scott Kay as Adam Bilson
- Cynthia Stevenson as Jackie
- Dylan Minnette as Noah
Disney imported 20 under-aged golden retriever puppies from New York State, into Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for the filming of the movie. A second group of 8 puppies, of eight weeks of age were brought to set one week later from Washington State. Many of the puppies contracted the highly contagious parvovirus, against which puppies are usually vaccinated at 8 weeks of age. At least 15 puppies showed signs of the illness, including parasitic infections of giardia and coccidia, and all were removed from the set. Three were euthanized for intussusception before the parvo outbreak, one for suspected parvo (but not confirmed by necropsy) and one puppy who was returned to the breeder without being used reportedly died of parvo. The American Humane Association enforced the removal of the first two sets of puppies, and after a four-week delay, during which time all puppies were quarantined until they were healthy, Disney hired 8 older puppies to continue filming. These puppies were joined by puppies from the second group who did not get ill from parvovirus and filming was completed. In total, at least five puppies died during the making of the film.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the film on Blu-ray on January 31, 2012. The disc comes with bonus features which include a narration by the director on the visual effects and an audio commentary by the Buddies and Shasta. Other features include a music video, bloopers and behind the scenes.