A Dog’s Way Home — 3.0 Gavels 76% Rotten Tomatoes

The first dog movie I remember seeing was Old Yeller. Spoiler alert: the dog died; I cried; the end. Don’t judge, I was seven. While we are reminiscing, you may want to check out the 25 Best Dog Movies of All Time per Screen Rant.

The analysis for A Dog’s Way Home is simple. Written by the author of A Dog’s Purpose, if you liked that one, you will like this one. By the way, the former’s sequel, A Dog’s Journey, is out May 17. Are they all running together? Why the glut? The original made $204 million on a $22 million budget. I give this movie 3 Gavels and it receives a 76% Rotten Tomatoes rating although on only 21 reviews. Among Top Critics, that number drops to 55%.

Plot

Bella’s mother is captured by the dog warden. Bella is raised by a cat in the crawl space of a collapsed home across the street from Lucas. Trespassing to feed these “homeless” animals, Lucas “adopts” Bella. Noting that Bella is part pit bull, in violation of a Denver ordinance, Bella is taken to New Mexico while Lucas and his mother look for a new place to live. Taught “go home” by Lucas, Bella embarks on a 400 mile, 2.5 year journey to find her family.

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Actors

The star of any dog movie is the dog, here voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World). Like all good dog movies, bring some tissues. Jonah Hauer-King plays Lucas, unknown to us but has TV credits for Little Women and Howard’s End. Ashley Judd, as Lucas’ mother needing therapy at a local VA, gets top billing although her screen time is minimal. Alexandra Shipp as Lucas’ girlfriend, also has a small part, biding her time until she once again is Storm in the X-Men series.

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Final Thoughts

Although some scenes will be too intense for the very young, this is a nice PG family movie. Specifically, one scene has a dehydrated Bella chained to a dead homeless vet, ultimately discovered and saved by two young boys on bikes. Although the adorable Bella’s multiple predicaments certainly hold your interest. I didn’t think it quite as good as A Dog’s Purpose. Perhaps it is due to the unlikely pairing of Bella with a CGI cougar. Nevertheless, you know what you are getting when see a movie such as this, i.e., a nice time to talk with your kids “on your way home.”

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