Pros: Funny dogs appear in the film; in the second half the film becomes more interesting Cons: too naive script; one-note characters from A Dog’s Journey
Genre comedy, drama
Directed by Gail Mancuso
Starring: Dennis Quaid (Ethan), Marge Helgenberger (Hannah), Betty Gilpin (Gloria), Kathryn Prescott (CJ), Abby Ryder Fortson (CJ as a child), Henry Lau (Trent), etc.
DreamWorks, Walden Media, Amblin Entertainment
Year of release 2019
A Dog’s Journey continues the story of a dog who, at the end of his life, is reborn over and over again to be with the person he has become attached to. The first film, called A Dog’s Purpose, was released in 2017. The basis for the two films were the novels of American writer Bruce Cameron, who also participated in writing the script.
In A Good Dog’s Journey, a dog named Bally enjoys a happy life on a farm. She spends her days next to her owner, Ethan, and finds another friend in his newborn granddaughter, Ceejay. But not everything is so smooth. Relationships in the family are not going well, the widowed daughter-in-law takes the child and leaves in an unknown direction. Ethan misses his granddaughter and asks his dog to look after Sija. As the dog approaches its final days, it is reborn and remembers a new purpose in life. Now Bally, having received a new body, must find Sij at any cost.
The plot of “The Good Dog’s Journey” can be easily understood without watching the first film. The dog (in the original voiced by actor Josh Gad) comments on what is happening with all the immediate details. You need to get used to it – this is the format of a family film. In addition, things are such that the viewer will find a large number of naive (well, very naive) episodes. In the second half of the film, when the main character grows up, the plot becomes much more interesting. And by this time you already get used to the dog’s comments.
Dogs in the film evoke only good emotions. They are touching and friendly – you can look at them forever. I only want to complain about the work of screenwriters who divide the world exclusively into “black” and “white,” “evil” and “good.” Negative characters can be identified in a few seconds. They act badly in absolutely everything, without being able to express their feelings, this is reminiscent of stories from old cartoons. But “The Good Dog’s Journey,” in theory, is not only intended for children: it reveals the difficulties and problems of fully grown people.
Despite the obvious shortcomings of the film, while watching it you still manage to become attached to it. As with all funny dogs. The four-legged character Bally illustrates the idea that dogs give people their unconditional love. They are always there, especially when the owner needs support. The main idea is clear from the trailer, and the film shows this in every detail through the example of the growing up of Sij, played by Kathryn Prescott.
Actress Katherine Prescott is known for her roles in the TV series Skins. The younger version of her character is played by Abby Ryder Fortson, who is recognizable as Scott Lang’s daughter from the Ant-Man film adaptation. The most famous actor in the movie “The Good Dog’s Journey” is Dennis Quaid, who played the role of Ethan. Now the artist has switched to the simple film format, and years earlier he starred in the drama Far from Heaven, which was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe.
The make-up artists did a good job on Dennis Quaid and actress Marge Helgenberger, who played his wife. The writers used the imprint of age on the faces of their characters and the transience of time as another technique with which to touch the audience.
“A Good Dog’s Journey” is one of those films that goes out of its way to create goodwill through its use of dogs and good characters. Its creators would have done it much better if the tape had not been filled with platitudes.
You can watch the film without knowing the backstory. It is suitable for family viewing and will appeal to those who enjoy seeing dogs on the big screen.