pexer99pexer99 PEx Admin
edited February 7 in Movie Reviews
A dog movie that finds its way into our hearts through cuteness. 

PEx Reviewer : pabzicles
PEx Rating: 7/10
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures

What is supposedly a heartwarming story of separation and reunion from W. Bruce Cameron’s A Dog’s Way Home is muddled with tonally confusing narrative, bland voice acting and less striking CGI. Good thing that it is a dog-centric film that does features lots of cute animals and heart-tugging moments enough to alleviate its viewers from going home. 

A Dog’s Way Home let us follows Bella (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard), a part-pit bull puppy raised by a cat and finds her home through the loving arms of Lucas (Jonah King) together with his mom Terri (Ashley Judd), an army veteran. When a Denver ordinance prohibits the family from owning a pit bull, Lucas was forced to send Bella to live with the family of his friend Olivia (Alexandra Shipp) in Farmington, New Mexico. Bella misses Lucas so much that one day she decided to escape from the Farmington house. Finding our canine embarks on a 400 mile journey from New Mexico to Colorado. Along the way, she discovers the harshness of the environment and makes friendly and hostile encounters to animals and humans alike.  

As its title suggest, the story follows a narrative of dog that gone lost and find its way home movies that came before it. But there is more of it than meets the eye. Rather than choosing the conventional way, its writer-author Cameron, co-writing with his wife Michon tried stuff it with lots of serious subtexts which makes it tonally confusing.

It is so easy to root for our beleaguered canine and following her story alone is worth investing. But same as Bella’s journey with lots of good and bad moments are similar to its narrative choices. One of its bad subplots shows a horrid scene where Bella gets tied to a corpse and unable to drink water for days only to be found by children that have more concern on the dog rather than the corpse. Another one is her story of robbing food from humans (majority of times) and make us feel like it is okay and fun. And the greatest of it all is showing to us that animal welfare and pit bull law that aim to protect these animals are meant to harm them. 

But with all of its bad choices, are the good ones too. It tried to open conversation on why animal hunting is terrible. I like how it features the duality of man. That there exists a bad owner that does not deserve to be with pets opposite the loving/caring owners too. Which proves that man is dog’s best friend and also its worst enemy. Also, it opens up how dogs can help to cure depression.  

Speaking of its visual effects, it is understandable given its production budget that its visual effects is less striking. But we can't deny that there are animal movements in here that is rather off put. Most specifically, on the scenes between Big Kitten (an orphaned bobcat) and Bella. But this unlikely friendship is one of the best encounter Bella had on her way home.

Charles Martin Smith gives us a well paced film that features lots of animals (wild and domesticated) against the beautiful terrains of New Mexico and Colorado. Bryce Dallas Howard voice that lacks pathos nor humor to embody Bella as a dog full of soul spoils it. As if she was just doing a commentary that requires flat narration. But Smith’s power to create emotionally charged scenes by putting focus on the innocent face of our protagonist and Danna’s dramatic scores helps to provide emotional beats that will surely melt your heart. 

A Dog's Way Home will easily find its niche with animal lovers but Bella’s cuteness could win over your heart even if it's the coldest one. It is a sweet and enjoyable journey regardless of all its imperfections and should be the best way to spend time  with your family (and pets too) this month of love. 

Columbia Pictures presents in association with Bona Film Group Co., Ltd., a
Pariah production, A Dog’s Way Home.

Director: Charles Martin Smith; Written By: W. Bruce Cameron & Cathryn Michon; Starring: Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King, Edward James Olmos, Alexandra Shipp, with Wes Studi and Bryce Dallas Howard.; Running Time: 1 hour and 37 minutes; MTRCB Rating: G (General Audiences) 

A Dog's Way Home in cinemas Feb. 6!

Check out the official discussion thread here:  A Dog's Way Home


  • coccomomoacoccomomoa PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    OMG another dog movie :) I'll surely watch this.

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