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%.
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.
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.
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.”