WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
As a puppy, Bella finds her way into the arms of Lucas, a young man who gives her a good home. When Bella becomes separated from Lucas, she soon finds herself on an epic 400-mile journey to reunite with her beloved owner. Along the way, the lost but spirited dog touches the lives of an orphaned mountain lion, a down-on-his-luck veteran and some friendly strangers who happen to cross her path.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
Whether it's tears of joy or tears of sadness, movies with animals in them always make me cry, so I was prepped and ready for A Dog's Way Home – but I didn't shed a tear.
Now, before you think I am some heartless human, who doesn't love animals let me explain.
The movie - based on the book of the same name by W. Bruce Cameron, who also brought us A Dog's Purpose - tugs at the heartstrings and has some pretty darn sad scenes. But I have to admit I found it a lot more uplifting and smiled/laughed a lot more than I usually would when watching an animal movie (we all remember that scene in I Am Legend).
A Dog's Way Home follows Bella (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard and played by Shelby) as she goes on an epic adventure to find her human, Lucas (Jonah Hauer-King). Along her 644km journey, Bella meets many different people and animals and survives the unexpected with a lesson for the audience to learn each time. Now, if you think this sounds familiar then you're right – this movie is very similar to Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and much like the 1993 Disney classic I am almost sure that A Dog's Way Home will be an instant hit.
Not because it is a great movie, it has its flaws, but because it caters for a broad audience (except animal haters). The heart-warming story will not only teach you about the way your pets think or how devoted they are to you, but also that when life doesn't give you lemons, find a way to make lemonade anyway.
Bryce Dallas Howard did an average job of voicing Bella, and I must admit I found her a little too animated at times and her voice never really matured as Bella grew older – in saying that, I am fully aware that there is no way of proving that like humans, dogs' voices develop with age.
The rest of the cast did their bit to tie the film together, even the terrible characters. What I liked about having bad guys is that it makes the film more realistic because there are people in this world who don't like animals.
My favourite part of the movie was the sheer joy Bella brought to the army veterans and the veteran centre Lucas' mom, Terri (Ashley Judd) is a part of. I have single-handedly experienced going from feeling incredibly lost and depressed to feeling loved and happy just by getting attention from a dog.
It's not perfect, but it's not bad either and will be a great trip to the cinema for the entire family – or a great family movie night at home.