Movie #2 2021: A Dog’s Journey (2019)

Bear with me here. Because I was pleasantly surprised by this average, low budget dog movie.

Firstly, this movie is a sequel to 2017’s A Dog’s Purpose, which I have not seen. However, I quite handily have a girlfriend who filled me in. All you need to know is that it’s a film about a man and his dog. Remarkably, the dog reincarnates every time it dies, becoming a different dog on each occasion. In this sequel, we come across the same dog, but this time, the owner (played by Dennis Quaid) has asked his pet to take care of and protect his estranged granddaughter, CJ. The film, then, circles around CJ, showing us exactly how her puppy serves its purpose to ensure she has a wonderful life.

Sounds pretty lame, doesn’t it? In all honesty, this is probably the least life changing movie of all time… and it is joyous

I have to assume that these producers and casting directors were only able to attain this over-qualified cast because it’s an Amblin production, but I’m super glad they did. Betty Gilpin is so good at playing the villainous, bitch mother, although her role is ultimately minimal, and the poor man’s Harrison Ford (Dennis Quaid) is perfect as the ageing, amiable dog lover. I wish they cast an actual American in Kathryn Prescott’s part but you can’t win them all, I guess. She does do her best to stop this from becoming an out and out cheese-fest at least.

I could have done without the cringe-worthy voiceover from Josh Gad that demonstrated the dog’s thoughts, but it actually brought some humour to the movie occasionally. So it’s not all bad. You’ve probably just read that and thought ”the dog gets a voiceover? Christ.”, and to be honest, I would have to. But would you also believe me when I say that this movie was actually kind of heart-warmingly wonderful?

Okay so plot-wise, you’ll see every single twist/conclusion coming a mile off. They might as well have played an ‘obvious twist’ klaxon every time a relevant plot point came on screen. That’s how obvious it was. But you know what? It was all incredibly sweet, and I actually wouldn’t hesitate to go back now and watch A Dog’s Purpose, because these are exactly the kinds of movies one needs to take one’s mind off the state of the world today.

I’d like to thank all the dogs who took part and all of the humans who trained them. This movie is way, way too long, but every one of these furry friends made it infinitely more interesting, and I would recommend it to any dog lover.

Surprisingly gripping despite its cheese, and an all-round sickly sweet affair. I regret nothing.

A Dog’s Journey is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

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