HBO Max Just Lost a Beloved 2000s Disney Movie

HBO Max just dropped one of the most obscure early-2000s movies from its catalog. For some reason, the streamer had previously been the home of the 2002 adventure comedy Snow Dogs starring Cuba Gooding Jr. As of Jan. 31, 2022, the dogs have run home to Disney+.

Snow Dogs is memorable to many though perhaps not beloved by most of them. This unique cultural artifact stars Gooding as a "celebrity dentist" named Dr. Ted Brooks, who has lived his whole life in Miami, Florida. He is pulled away from that temperate world when he learns that he was adopted, and that his biological mother just passed away at her home in Alaska. Ted travels there to learn about where he came from and collect his inheritance, and snowy hijinks ensue.

In addition to facing the unfamiliar cold, snow and shortened days of Alaska, Ted struggles to get along with his late mother's seven Siberian Huskies. He also meets an old hermit named Thunder Jack Johnson, played by James Coburn in one of the final roles of his lifetime. He learns that Jack is his biological father, and he resists Jack's interest in buying the dogs.

Instead, Ted learns to drive a dog sled from a local bar owner (Joanna Bacalso) who was a friend of his mother, and the two gradually fall in love. Eventually, Ted gives Jack the dogs in exchange for the truth about his parentage, but Jack lies to him. When he learns the truth, he goes out into a blizzard to rescue his stranded father.

The cast of the movie also includes Sisqó, Nichelle Nichols, Christopher Judge, Michael Bolton and Jim Belushi, among others. The movie was filmed with real dogs, but also included some CGI animation to make the dogs more expressive, as well as some animatronic effects designed by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. The effects were not universally beloved at the time.

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Snow Dogs has a 25 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics condemning its "clichéd dialogue, tiresome pratfalls, and stale fish-out-of-water jokes." Still, the movie has its devotees and they stand by it. Snow Dogs is a part of an odd subgenre of dog sledding movies that were popular in that era, and is often lumped in with Eight Below.

Snow Dogs left HBO Max on Monday, Jan. 31. If for some reason you want to watch it now, you can find it on Disney+. Otherwise you will need to rent or purchase it on a digital store like Prime Video, YouTube TV or iTunes.