A Dog's Journey (2019)
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My husband and I went to a 4 PM weekday show as we needed to "kill" a few hours before meeting our daughter. We knew it was the same writer (W. Bruce Cameron) as two other movies we loved ("A Dog's Purpose" and "A Dog's Way Home") but we didn't know it was a sequel to "A Dog's Purpose." If you haven't seen "A Dog's Purpose" I'd strongly suggest you do so before seeing "A Dog's Journey." You'll enjoy the continuing saga of Bailey and his people much more if you do.
Prepare to cry.
Although it is largely focused on the dog, the filmmakers keep things very tough on the characters. The reunion at the end between Bailey and Ethan is very lachrymose.
This movie was a piece of art. I really don't know why critics don't like to watch this movie series. The first one was outstanding and I thought the second was pretty solid. The acting was pretty good. Also the dog training was outstanding. There is vast amount of dogs on set and they nailed the training. Also the story was pretty solid too. It was pretty interesting to see the dog going through his life. The only thing I didn't think was that good was the focusing on the people. If you are going to see this movie you will want to see the dogs not the humans. Their where a couple scenes were it made sense. I just didn't like where they focused on the humans more than dogs though.
A Dog's Journey is a great movie and I would defiantly head out to theaters to go see this movie.
The best part about the movie is definitely Dennis Quaid, as Ethan, whose charismatic charm inspires us to believe in the far fetched narrative. His dog, Bailey (voiced brilliantly by Josh Gad), is always blessed with new life after passing away. When Ethan and Hannah's (Marg Helgenberger) grand daughter, CJ, is taken away from them by their alcoholic daughter in law, Gloria (Betty Gilpin), Ethan asks Bailey to look after CJ in his next life. Loving his master so much, Bailey continuously keeps his promise, though it is convenient he always happens to appear at the right place, at the right time.
Quaid revels in his character, and though Helgenberger's, Hannah, is more serious (and doesn't get as much screen time as she deserves) their characters wonderfully contrast. Henry Lau, as Trent, CJ's best friend, is also a highlight of the movie - he is such a likable and caring friend, though much of his backstory (example, he often wears a suit and appears financially secure, yet we never learn what his job is) is never given to us.
CJ becomes the main character for much of the film, Kathryn Prescott developing a really sympathetic character - after all, everyone loves the underdog - though her gullibility can be somewhat unbelievable. At the same time, her ark, about longing to pursue a music career, and the uphill battle she faces, is probably the weakest and most undeveloped part of the film. So too are the peripheral characters she encounters, who are mere two dimensional cut-outs, typically treated as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, whereby they experience an extreme personality shift demanded by the script to force the story in a particular direction, that is neither warranted nor deserved.
Considering the film wants to touch your heart, it does throw almost every shockingly sad film trope at the screen, from family deaths, to sickness and near-death experiences, all of which have been overused before. Occasionally, after occurring, these are never touched upon again, which is not only a wasted opportunity, but illustrates that they were simply used for shock value. However, the film's portrayal of these moments, alongside the acting and the musical score, beautifully compliments them, assisting the movie in accomplishing its goal - safe to say, by the time the film was over, many people in the theatre with me were choking back tears.
Although Gad's portrayal of the dog is often comedic, it never gets in the way of the film's more serious moments, giving the movie a great sense of warmth, and comedically highlighting some of the film's themes. At times, the film is very light hearted and funny, and it might have been nice if more humour had been included.
Despite the criticisms that could be made, the film's touching moments make for a fantastic viewing experience. Besides, who doesn't like the always amazing Dennis Quaid? I would definitely recommend this to filmgoers who love dogs or coming of age movies; just don't forget to have a few tissues stuffed into your trousers before you do.
Sit back and watch the show... bring your Kleenex.