Title – A Dogs Way Home (2019)
Director – Charles Martin Smith (Dolphin Tale)
Cast – Jonah Hauer-King, Ashley Judd, Edward James Olmos, Alexandra Shipp, Chris Bauer, Wes Studi, (Voice of) Bryce Dallas Howard
Plot – Loyal dog Bella (Howard) will stop at nothing to be reunited with her beloved owner Lucas (King) after the two are separated by a mean-willed animal officer.
“It’s simple at first. Home is the only place you know. And everyone there is your family”
Review by Eddie on 16/09/2019
If you think dogs are the best thing ever (let’s be honest that’s most people, other than weirdos like me that thinks cats are the true MVP’s), you’re going to love A Dog’s Way Home.
Based on W. Bruce Cameron’s best-selling novel of the same name, Home takes the A Dogs Purpose approach of examining the life of our 4-legged friends, filled with clichés, cute doggy voiceovers (here provided by Bryce Dallas Howard) and some randomly poor CGI as we follow cute adopted doggo Bella on a quest across the American wilds to be reconnected to her beloved owner Lucas, of whom she was separated from by a nefarious pound employee.
It’s a story that’s been told a million times before in different incarnations, from classic Disney yarn Homeward Bound through to Australia’s beloved Red Dog but unlike those films, Home doesn’t have the charm, smarts or heart to work to those higher levels of feel good entertainment.
There’s still moments within the film that are all types of cute and loveable, particularly Bella’s friendship with a baby cougar, but overall you can’t help but feel as though this sappy and soapy tale doesn’t have that magic ingredient or the likable humans to make it a film worth seeking out by anyone that’s not a young child or a diehard dog lover.
It’s never a good sign for a film of this ilk when Bella or even the voiceless cougar is a more well-rounded character than any of the people in Home’s story.
From Jonah Hauer-King’s bland Lucas, Ashley Judd’s lifeless Terri, Edward James Olmos’s homeless Axel or Alexandra Shipp’s token love interest to Lucas Olivia, no humans in the film make much of an impact in the story and dilute any true investment in Bella’s dangerous and adventure filled plight and more time spent developing these additions to the film could’ve gone a long way to making Home a more memorable and heartfelt story.
It is a story however that many will find enjoyment from and the kind-hearted and well-meaning nature of the film goes a long way to ensuring that Charles Martin Smith’s blandly directed film is sure to be one with a long and prosperous streaming/home video life, watched and adored by all those that just can’t get enough of big screen canine adventures.
Final Say –
A lack of wit, imagination and a collection of soulless human creatures weigh A Dog’s Way Home down but there’s sure to be many fans out there of this doggy centric tale, that once more showcases why man’s best friend is king of movie animals.
2 avalanches out of 5