Here it is—the highly anticipated follow-up to Volkswagen's 2011 Super Bowl sensation, "The Force." And this year's installment is … kinda odd. (This is the 75-second extended version; the actual spot on Sunday will be cut down to a :60.) Called "The Dog Strikes Back," it's essentially a montage showing a portly pooch who dreams of chasing a VW Beetle down the street, and gets in shape to do so—running up and down the stairs and doing other human exercises so he can fit through the door flap. That's really all there is to it, until the last third of the spot, when we transition to the Star Wars cantina, where aliens—who are apparently gathered to watch the Super Bowl and its commercials, the cantina being a kind of intergalactic proto sports bar—debate whether the dog is funnier than Little Vader from last year. A bad-tempered cameo by Big Vader caps things off. The ad is cute enough, but it doesn't quite match the subtle storytelling and clever payoff that made "The Force" such a delight (though to be fair, not many ads can—or will). The new ad might also have been oversold a bit by VW's singing-dog teaser, which has racked up more than 10 million views but in the end doesn't have much to do with the actual Super Bowl spot. All that said, it's got a cute dog and a Star Wars reference, which is probably enough to make most folks happy. (The Star Wars kicker is just for the Super Bowl—the dog spot will run on its own in the coming weeks.) So, what's your take?
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