Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Dog's Purpose [2017]

MPAA (PG)  CNS/USCCB (A-II)  RogerEbert.com (1 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (C)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
Los Angeles Times (K. Walsh) review
RogerEbert.com (G. Kenny) review
AVClub (K. Rife) review


A Dog's Purpose [2017] (directed by Lasse Hallström, screenplay by W. Bruce Cameron, Cathryn Michon, Audrey Wells, Maya Forbes and Wally Wolodarsky based on the book [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] by W. Bruce Cameron [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb]) is a LOVELY, largely "can't miss" FEEL-GOOD FAMILY MOVIE unless one's some kind (perhaps any kind) of extremist -- the kind that would simultaneously be offended by the possibility that dogs would have souls AND that (to make dogs different from people) dogs would "reincarnate" rather than "go to heaven."  Anyone who's ever had a dog or loved a dog would know that "there's something in that dog" that's "a lot like us" and perhaps _better_ than us.  The other kind of extremist who'd get mad at this film would be of the PETA variety, who'd pretty much require that a dog write the screenplay and direct the film him/herself (and _that_ "would be hard" because they'd always get distracted by squirrels ;-).

So ... if you _just love dogs_ then this film will probably be for you ;-) -- and let the protesters (I was shocked when I heard that there were folks who have already verbally protested this film) be.

The film is about a dog, or the soul of a dog, (voiced throughout by Josh Gad) who's trying to figure out why he/she exists.  Being a dog is largely _fun_ but ... "there has to be more to it / life" than that.  And so we follow said dog cycle through various incarnations -- Bailey, Ellie, Tino, Buddy -- as he (and at least one time, she) tries to figure out "what it's all about."  The story goes full circle when he is incarnated as Buddy and ends-up incarnating in the environs of where Bailey used to stomp and becomes part of the lives of two humans, Ethan and Hannah (played as teenagers by K.J. Apa / Britt Robertson and as 50+ year olds and Dennis Quaid / Peggy Lipton respectively) again.  (Note that Bailey entered into Ethan's life when Ethan was 8 years old and is played by Bryce Gheisar as well).  Much QUITE PREDICTABLE but CUTE ensues ...

All told, I thoroughly enjoyed this film and would recommend it to most parents / families to watch happily together.


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