A Dog's Journey Movie Review
As a lover of animals, I always have a certain level of expectation when it comes to animal-centric films. Number one, I know that there will be heart-tugging emotion more than anything. Number two, there's going to be a child or family affected. Lastly, there's going to be the greatest ingredient of all - relatability. A Dog's Journey had all three aspects and surpassed nearly all my expectations, completely living up to the previous entries in the series: A Dog's Purpose and the spin-off A Dog's Way Home.
A Dog's Journey picks up several years after Purpose left off. We find Ethan and Hannah's daughter Gloria grown with a child of her own named CJ. Gloria aspired to be a singer but, after the man she loved died, she and CJ were left alone. They moved in with Ethan and Hannah until Gloria could figure out what to do with her life. In a burst of anger, fear, and paranoia, Gloria takes CJ and runs off to the city to try and get her career going. As Bailey, Ethan's loyal dog, falls ill, Ethan tells him that he has to come back and protect CJ. Bailey's new mission takes the form of three different reincarnations as his loyalty to Ethan now stretches to CJ.
The thing I love most about these films, based on W. Bruce Cameron's books, is that he makes us care for the human characters just as much as the dogs. You can relate to the situations in the film and you truly want the people to find some semblance of peace and success. A lot of animal films make humanity look like most of it is evil and hurtful when, in fact, there a millions of animal lovers out there that put their own personal lives on hold to help in any way they can. Those are the people Cameron vouches for and I appreciate that about him.
Kathryn Prescott was a standout in her role as adult CJ. She poured a lot of love and vulnerability into her character, which paid off big-time. Dennis Quaid and Marg Helgenberger are always delights to see on-screen. Betty Gilpin was another standout. She can play a villain very well, proving that she's a versatile actress as her career continues to help her grow. The only one that needed work was relative newcomer Hery Lau. He would overact and underact both, such as showing little emotion in an incredibly emotional scene to showing too much emotion in a more dramatic or humorous scene. He needs a little work but he'll get there one day. He has great potential.
In conclusion, if you loved A Dog's Purpose, or just love dogs in general, you will absolutely adore A Dog's Journey. It has everything a feel-good film needs, including a handful of heartbreaking moments. Seems contradictory? You'll see what I mean. I give it a 3.5 out of 4.