A Dog’s Way Home movie director: Charles Martin Smith
A Dog’s Way Home movie cast: Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King, Alexandra Shipp, voice of Bryce Dallas Howard
A Dog’s Way Home movie rating: 0.5 star
Through a ridiculously convenient set of circumstances, a dog called Bella (Howard) finds herself taken in by Lucas (Hauer-King) and his mom (Judd). Through a more ridiculous turn of events, Bella is taken 400 miles away, and finds her way back home through an adventure that includes a CGI cougar, wolves, wildebeests, an avalanche, a road hit, and many, many, many, many kind humans. A Dog’s Way Home makes each of them ‘many’ count — there are war veterans, disabled war veterans, traumatised war veterans, youngsters who volunteer with these veterans as well as with animal rescue, a gay married couple of whom one is a published novelist, mixed-race couples, homeless men who share food with strays, and hunters who rescue them.
But, you have to wonder, would any of these much-too-nice folks feel the same way if they could hear Bella think, like us? A cheerful Howard puts in her all into voicing the dog, and the film plays aloud Bella’s every random thought for our benefit. From how she loves eating cheese, to fetching the ball, to “doing go home” — the oddly phrased expression that is repeated countless times just in case we missed the film’s title. It’s like being at the receiving end of a machine churning out inanities, which you know are meant to pull at your heartstrings.
Well, the only thing you might feel bad about is Denver. While Colorado is captured in all its beautiful countryside and its bountiful flora and fauna, it’s worrisome the amount of time the city’s animal rescue officials have to devote on a single dog. Not to mention how they use a Denver law banning pitbulls (like Bella) so heartlessly.
Perhaps this film, based on a book, may come to one use — push its dog-loving world into changing that law.