“A Dog’s Way Home” Movie Review


Amanda Huffman, Staff Writer

When I first saw the trailer for A Dog’s Way Home, the first thing that came to mind was: another dog movie? Over the past few years, Hollywood has pushed out tons of furry themed films. The Buddies series from Disney, A Dog’s Purpose, Hotel For Dogs, and Marley and Me. I see why it’s such a popular topic, animals seem to appeal to the younger audience and it makes for family friendly entertainment. What I have noticed with many of these movie is that each of them are suspiciously similar. You have the villain (usually a human), the journey (usually some sad story about pet and person bonds), you have the rising action (some depressing life saving moment), then the climax with a happy ending. This movie followed this outline too – and it did not do well.


Now looking at A Dog’s Way Home directed by Charles Martin Smith, which follows the story of a family growing up in Denver, Colorado. A puppy litter and kitten litter live in harmony under the remains of a building. The property owner wants to tear it down, but one of the main characters, Lucas, an animal rights activist of sorts, knows that there are animals living there. When him and his friend Olivia go to save the strays, they meet Bella, the movie’s main character. This dog can speak only to the audience watching the movie. Many other dog movies have already done this, so it was not that special. She likes Lucas, so he takes her as his own pet. I assume a while passes because the little puppy grows up to be a very large canine . I tried to focus on the plot, but the voice actor of Bella kept distracting me. The lines were said in a “baby voice” which, in my opinion, was somewhat irritating and unnecessary.



Continuing with the plot, the property owner “Kurch” becomes one of the villains in the plot, and has some sort of connection with another villain who is a state cop. Kurch reports the dog, claiming that it is a pitbull and that pitbulls are illegal in that area. Lucas ends up moving away in order to keep Bella, but  she is meanwhile put in the care of Olivia’s family in another state till they find a new house. The entire movie, Bella is focused on the phrase “Go home” which she has been taught. She escapes the house to go back to Lucas, who was on his way to get her. Yep, the entire journey could have been spared. That pretty much sums up the entire two hours – Bella going through the mountains and forests to get home.



Here’s where I get a little annoyed: the drama. I understand that it is important to the plot, but it is way too overdone. Every single second something bad happens. First, Bella finds a baby mountain lion whose mother gets killed that she names “Big Kitten”.  Then they later almost get killed by coyotes, which get scared away by campers. Out of absolutely nowhere, an avalanche happens, burying the owner of another dog that was there. Bella and this dog dig him out, saving his life. A couple sees the avalanche occur, so they rush to try to rescue the dogs. With this, they decide to keep both Bella and the new one as their own. Bella runs away from the two guys and finds Big Kitten again after almost getting killed by some more coyotes. The movie even brings in a homeless veteran that finds Bella on the streets and chains her up because he needs a friend. He dies next to a lake with her chained to his belt, so she starts to die of starvation. Luckily she is released by two random boys. Finally they make it to Denver, where Big Kitten and Bella say their goodbyes. What could happen now? Bella gets hit by a car, but just gets up and keeps going.



Why did they need to include this drama? It was not necessary at all. Finally Bella finds Lucas at the end. She almost gets taken again, but veterans at a hospital start protesting the police until they back down. If I could use three words to describe this movie I would say random, over dramatic and depressing, none of which I particularly like in a film. I don’t mind a few tears, but this was too much. I tried to look at it through the perspective of a younger child, but then it became even more depressing. Other than the drama, the plot seemed okay overall. It just felt as if the producers ran out of ideas for things to happen. Overall, this movie had potential, it just wasn’t executed as well as it could have been.