To someone picking up this little flick without bothering to go into it a bit more, you are probably expecting some Disney-like movie (Just look at the box cover) and the premise even suggest it: A man is reincarnated as a dog and goes on a search to find his family. Boy, was I surprised. Not only is the dog trying to find his family, he's out for revenge against the man who put him in the situation in the first place. Full of mature themes and gripping moments, this is one of those rare movies that will definitely make you think and- as stated by everyone else here- shed a few tears.
We follow Fluke from puppyhood to adulthood as he starts trying desperately to find out who he once was. After putting 2 and 2 together, Fluke does indeed set out on a journey to find his wife and son, much to the dismay of his ill-fated friend Rumbo, a dog who was also human. When Fluke finds them, he's living the good life- that is, until his crooked business partner comes in and crashes the party. Fluke is determined to make sure he won't do any harm to his family as he did to him. But is Fluke going by truth, or what he wants to believe?...
The main thing about this movie that hit me at first was the music. The beautiful orchestra soundtrack accompanied this film perfectly. There were a few times I watched the credits simply to hear the music. And of course, what's good music without good filmography to go with it? This movie has that too. Some of the most bright, natural filming can be seen with the dog as he braves mountains and rivers on his long journey, or during the more peaceful moments as he plays with his family out in the sunshine. All in all, the filming and soundtrack itself is definitely a step up from a few of the more well-known animal movies, like Homeward Bound for instance.
The story itself is very unpredictable, another thing I was not expecting from a movie such as this. Fluke's acts and visions will keep you watching to find out the real story behind his past. But while he's fending away his partner, he's trying to convince his family that he's more than just some old dog. Many of these scenes had me stop the movie just to pull myself together, such as when he did his "fatherly" duties of tucking his son in and laying on his side of the bed during the night.
Acting in the movie ranges from good to alright. It's not the best acting in the world, but the humans weren't the ones I paid attention to and even then, the dogs still had the best lines and voicing, despite the fact that they talked only for a short while. The little boy had to be the most irritating of all though, especially in scenes when he was distressed in any way. I also feel the lab scene could have been executed a bit better. That scene seemed to pass by too quickly or just put in the middle of the movie with no purpose, but it did help explain a major event, so I can't complain.
In conclusion: Fluke is a timeless gem and a very impressive attempt at a family drama from such an unknown director. The filmography, score, and plot itself made this movie one of best animal-oriented movies of the last century. Only the acting from the humans and a few of the sometimes out-of-place scenes hurt the movie just a tad, but not enough to stop me from giving this underrated movie the recommendation it truly deserves.
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