Look at what followed me home! Can I keep him? Who hasn’t either said or heard those words? That is essentially how Engine 15 Media Group’s direct-to-DVD feature, Trooper and the Legend of the Golden Key starts out. When a young family moves to a new town, the parents’ son, Tommy (Joey Roberts), brings home a hound dog named Trooper after the town’s evil mayor and his equally vile niece say that he has to either find a home or be sent to the pound. And it’s thanks to Trooper that the story takes off. Trooper and the Legend of the Golden Key is a fun little family friendly flick (say that three times fast). Sure, it’s no block buster. But it is good for the whole family. There’s no way to escape (as with Vampire Dog) the comparisons to PBS’ hit 90’s show, Wishbone. Trooper’s little friend, Dash is similar to Wishbone, in terms of both his personality and size. And the general feel of this feature makes it feel like it belongs on PBS Kids. That’s not a bad thing, either. Despite the acting of the cast, led by young Tommy and his parents Paul (Eric Sweeney) and Sandy (Sandy Howell), the larger picture actually has enough heart to make it worth at least one watch.
The actors in this movie’s cast are anything but professional. There’s no doubt about it. But they come across as being just as down home as the story’s setting. It’s a nice welcoming small town. That small town vibe mixed with the cast’s welcoming personalities makes it that much more watchable. It adds to the enjoyment of the story. Who would have ever thought that in small town America, there would be a mystery that would reveal a treasure no one would have ever imagined. Even the evil mayor and his niece never saw it coming. The whole thing is told from the vantage point of Trooper and Dash. Both parents and kids alike will like this, especially with Trooper’s grandfatherly personality. His presence is completely reassuring and will keep audiences watching.
For a direct-to-DVD movie, it’s watchable not just for its welcoming cast, but also for its story. Audiences will find the movie to be a guilty pleasure as it will even fool adults with its twist on what’s behind the “hidden door” in the empty house. What’s behind the door, and the key that opens it turn out to be “key” to the whole mystery. The answer to it all won’t be revealed here. Audiences will have to find that out for themselves. Those audiences who give it a chance will have a V8 moment when the mystery is finally unraveled. When it’s all said and done, audiences will be left feeling fulfilled. It could even leave them wanting to watch it again later as it turns out to be that enjoyable for the whole family.
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