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A Dog’s Way Home is a mostly family-friendly film about man’s best friend. But liberal dogmas drag down this otherwise sweet story.
If Bella the pit bull (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard) is captured a second time on the streets of Denver, city ordinances dictate that she be euthanized. A dogged animal control officer (John Cassini) is obsessed with making that happen. So, Bella’s owner—sorry, Bella’s human—Lucas (Jonah Hauer-King), sends his beloved pet to stay with relatives of his girlfriend Olivia (Alexandra Shipp) in northern New Mexico until he can relocate outside of city limits.
Needless to say, Bella escapes and begins the 400-mile journey home. Along the way, she makes friends and faces obstacles. (Young children may find a few scenes a bit intense.) Bella evades a wolf pack, teams up with a (computer-animated) cougar, and is nearly buried in an avalanche. She crosses a busy highway, gets temporarily adopted by a gay couple, and winds up chained to a homeless veteran named Axel (Edward James Olmos). Positive interactions with American war veterans make up a significant portion of the film. When Axel dies, Bella declares that “he is no longer sad.” I knew dogs possessed a keen sense of hearing, but of the hereafter, too? Wow!
A Dog’s Way Home (rated PG for some peril and mild language) is full of beautiful scenery. Colorado’s rugged mountains, rushing streams, and rich forests make the state a great place to shoot a movie about an outdoor trek in Colorado, right? Colorado towns are even identified along the way: Durango, Gunnison, etc. But the entire film was shot in Canada.
Another curiosity: Megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes is listed as one of the film’s executive producers. Sure, the movie is mostly about cute (and remarkably well-trained) animals doing cute things: dogs rassling blankets, nuzzling cats, and “hunting” for food in trash cans. But a secular worldview becomes evident in the second half of the film. Parents, take note: Young viewers will see the gay domestic arrangement and unmarried Lucas and Olivia lying in bed together.