We are this close to getting our family a dog. My husband and I both grew up with a dog and so we know how wonderful it can be to have a furry member of the family. We also know how much responsibility it is, but our boys LOVE dogs and so it will happen sooner than later. If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember the letter I shared from my son, pleading for a dog. We get letters pretty much every week, waiting for us on our bed. In fact, that same son of mine has plastered his bedroom wall with pictures of dogs. Not family members, or vacation pictures, just dogs. Needless to say, the boys are very anxious to get a dog!
For that reason, I was reluctant to watch A Dog’s Purpose. I was concerned what it would be about, and if it would be appropriate for their age. It didn’t seem like those funny dog movies from the 80’s so I didn’t want it to be too much to take. So, I put off watching it with them when it came out.
But now A Dog’s Journey has just been released on DVD and Blu-ray, and I was invited to review the movie with my family. I did some more research on the first movie and we decided to watch them both. I was right, this was not a goofy movie about dogs, nor was it a melodramatic story that was not worth our time. These movies, combined, compete a story that is emotional and deep and I recommend it for all families.
My boys have placed A Dog’s Journey as their top movie ever. No joke. I can understand why. For their age, it touched on many subjects in a real but non-aggressive way. Topics such as parenting, death, friendships, dating, and ultimately, what life is all about….I know, heavy stuff for “a dog movie”. But the fact that the dog is the main character and the narrator of the story lends itself for children (I would say, ages 7 years old and up) to really enjoy this movie and deal with big life subjects at the same time.
A Dog’s Purpose is the first installment of this heartwarming tale of a dog named Bailey, now available on Netflix f you haven’t seen it yet. The story is surrounded by Bailey and his owner, Ethan. In the first movie, Ethan is a boy that turns into a young man and it follows his life through the eyes of the dog. I was very impressed by the way the movie addresses so many hard topics such as bullying, alcoholism, and depression but kept the tone real and appropriate for children. As far as I can remember, there was no swearing and no overt violence. I never felt I had to stop the movie to explain or fast-forward a part.
The same goes for the sequel, completing the story of Bailey (and yes, when I say completing you know what that means, so be prepared for that with your kids) as he now is the dog of CJ, the granddaughter of Ethan. Again, topics are heated and heavy but in a tone that is understandable and kind. Some difficult topics in this movie include abusive relationships, bad parenting, drugs, poverty, and death. If you do have sensitive children, or if your children are young, consider these topics and how they will feel with them addressed in a movie. I can tell you honestly, we were all crying during this movie. But sometimes, it is good to express our feelings and shed some tears together for something meaningful. There was nothing scary in the movie, but the topics were sensitive. Ultimately, the movie is a chance for children to see a family build in years through the eyes of the dog. It truly is heartwarming and tender.
Bailey (voiced again by Josh Gad; Beauty and the Beast, Frozen) is living the good life on the Michigan farm of his former “boy” now grown to manhood, Ethan (Dennis Quaid; A Dog’s Purpose, I Can Only Imagine) and Ethan’s wife Hannah (Marg Helgenberger; “C.S.I.,” “Under the Dome”). He even has a new playmate: Ethan and Hannah’s baby granddaughter, CJ (Kathryn Prescott; “24: Legacy”). Everything is great on the farm until CJ’s mom, Gloria (Betty Gilpin, Isn’t It Romantic, “GLOW”), decides to take CJ away and chase her own fulfillment in the big city. Ethan asks Bailey to watch over CJ wherever she goes and thus begins Bailey’s adventure through multiple lives filled with love, friendship and devotion as he, CJ, and CJ’s best friend Trent (Henry Lau; Internationally famous pop star) experience joy and heartbreak, music and laughter, and few really good belly rubs.
Dennis Quaid has always been one of my favourite actors, and the fact that he plays Ethan in both movies made the experience that much more enjoyable. Quaid has a way of saying a couple of lines and holding my heart in his hands. All the actors were so natural and believable, which let’s face it, must be really hard when working with dogs on a film. Having CJ as the main character was a wonderful way to show the life of a young girl to a woman to my boys, too. CJ is strong in character with a tender way about her and a true love for dogs, something my boys can relate to!!
In the DVD release, we also watched the deleted scenes, gag reel and making of the movie, along with commentary from the actors. All the main character in the movie have their own pet dog! It was really cute to see their affection for the dog actors too – they all admitted to visiting the dogs in between takes. No doubt, my boys would be doing the same.
One lucky reader will win a DVD and Blu-Ray copy of A Dog’s Journey!
You’ll love the extras and showing your family what it takes to make a movie like this. It will open their eyes to all the parts to movie with animals.
To enter, leave a comment below telling me: what was your favourite dog name?
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