"Space Buddies" is a Disney movie about 5 Golden Retriever puppies who accidentally get launched into space.
"Space Buddies" was made in 2009, but it would not be out of place in an anti-Soviet propaganda campaign. In the movie, the puppies’ spaceship does not have enough fuel to make it to the moon and back, so they stop by the Russian space station. Inside the Russian space station is a Bull Terrier who speaks with a Russian accent, and a Russian man named Yuri who, despite having been at the space station for at least two decades, only looks to be about 30 years old. Throughout the movie, many stereotypes about Soviets/Russians are used: Yuri is called "crazy" on several occasions; Yuri speaks English with broken grammar; it’s implied that the Russian space station is poorly built; the Russians use the word "comrade"; Yuri drinks a cup of clear liquid that makes him shiver (what could it be!) and then performs some kind of "Russian dance." Yuri and the Russian dog are Othered throughout the movie; the Russian dog is even a different breed from the American dogs, who are all the same breed. The movie flirts with the idea of Yuri’s death, but in the end, when Yuri crashes his escape pod on earth, he is rescued by American soldiers.
To differentiate the puppies and make them more memorable, each of the five puppies has a particular type/style, which they take after their respective families and child owners:
1. One puppy is fat and loves food just like his owners. Fat jokes abound
2. One puppy is buddhist and into New Age stuff just like his owners (his child greets him by saying “Namaste”)
3. One puppy is stoic(??????) like his owners
4. One puppy is “hip hop” like his white owner who wears a sideways baseball hat and bling
5. Lastly and most importantly, one puppy is female, and that’s what defines this puppy (the other puppies might have “styles” that would be considered masculine in nature, but they are not defined by being male). She wears a pink flower on her head. Like her child owner who’s also defined by being female, she likes the color pink and mani pedis. Most of the female puppy’s lines are things like, “Now what?” and “What should we do now?”. This gender stereotyping is troubling, but what’s even more troubling is that there is only one female character out of five, and that she is differentiated by being female. Only having one female in the group reinforces the idea that all women are the same, that they are a monolithic group, so every female can be represented by just one.
The good news is that there’s no swearing or nudity in “Space Buddies” because that could really harm children’s moral development.
Space Buddies is on Netflix.