A Dog’s Way Home
Runtime 93 minutes
Last year I was having lunch at Aroma, a trendy restaurant in Hollywood. Suddenly there was a horrible commotion, loud barking, people yelling. Someone had brought a pit bull to the restaurant and it was attacking another dog. It had its jaws clamped on the other dog’s neck and nobody could get it to let go. It was clearly trying to kill the other dog. Finally someone got them apart somehow, but I’ve never seen such a vicious attack by one dog on another. Pit bulls are dangerous and untrustworthy and should be banned.
The dog in this film, Bella, is identified as a pit bull. I don’t know why because Bella didn’t look anything like a pit bull. She looked much more like a German shepherd. If they wanted her to be a pit bull, why didn’t they use a pit bull? I can only surmise that they wanted the villain to be really unreasonable and, well, villainous so they had Bella be a mongrel with some pit bull blood so he could act unreasonably.
I guess that Jack London started the genre of a tale told from the point of view of a dog with his classic Call of the Wild. But that was a very realistic story of a dog hauling sleds in Alaska. It didn’t seem to have any political agenda.
Directed by Charles Martin Smith from a script by W. Bruce Cameron and Cathryn Michon, this, on the other hand, is the story of a hound that is adopted by a young man, Lucas (Jonah Hauer-King), and gets taken far away. The dog tells its own story (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard) as it tries to travel 400 miles through snow-filled mountains to return to its master, Lucas, enduring one adventure after another.
This is one of the most nauseatingly politically correct movies ever filmed.
The story is aimed, obviously, at a six-year-old mentality. There is an evil city employee who is out to get this dog specifically. It actually seems as if this character’s only purpose in life is lying in wait to capture Bella and take her away from her owner. It is patently absurd (unless you are six). It would have been much better without the narration. The audience could figure out what was going on by watching the action. It doesn’t need the dog talking to us in simplistic dialogue.
This is, without question, one of the most nauseatingly politically correct movies ever filmed. There are several couples in the movie. All are biracial. Lucas is white and his seldom seen girlfriend, Olivia (Alexandra Shipp), is black. Another heterosexual couple is white and black. The third heterosexual couple is white and Asian. Even the obligatory gay couple that apparently must appear in most films today is white and black. There is not one couple that is all white, all black, or all Asian. It actually becomes laughable after a while. Nobody should take from this that there is anything wrong with biracial couples. People can fall in love and live with whomever they wish. But they are in the distinct minority and when a film obviously made for children shows nothing but biracial couples, it’s clearly a case of Hollywood brainwashing, trying to shove the concept down children’s throats, little different from the product placements that proliferate in today’s films (showing the labels on bottles of alcoholic drinks is really getting annoying). It’s almost as if same race couples are an endangered species. Would it have killed them to show one couple that was of the same race? Even Bella, a dog, interacts with cats and mountain lions, rarely with another dog.
I was told when I walked into the screening that I should prepare to cry, something that was also told to me when I walked into the screening of The Notebook in 2004, during which I gushed tears. I didn’t see anything remotely emotional in this film, nor did my assistant. Neither of us came close to shedding a tear, except maybe when we were laughing at the clumsy thought control the makers of the film were imposing on its audience.
If ever a film should have been animated it’s this one because the characters themselves are so cartoonish. The cinematography is very well done, as is the interaction of the dog with the other animals. But the characters are so artificial and the political correctness so repellent that I hesitate to recommend it.
Tony Medley is an MPAA-accredited film critic. See more reviews at TonyMedley.com.