If you think you would enjoy an uncomplicated, PG-rated movie about a dog traveling 400 miles to be reunited with her humans, then there’s an excellent chance you will enjoy this one, which is exactly that and does exactly what you’d expect it to do. Based on W. Bruce Cameron’s novel and directed by Air Bud and Dolphin Tale auteur Charles Martin Smith, this Incredible Journey/Homeward Bound retread follows adorable pit bull mix Bella (thoughts voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard) who’s adopted as a feral puppy by adorable medical student Lucas (Jonah Hauer-King) and his depressed veteran mom Terri (Ashley Judd), before being sent away because pit bulls are illegal where they live (Denver, which really has outlawed them). The plot is harebrained, with a lot of extraneous human-related complications, but once it gets to the dog’s-eye-view of a perilous journey home, it’s quality comfort food. One complaint: The CGI cougar Bella befriends looks bad, especially next to a real dog. And while the story has its morbid aspects, rest assured there are no dog deaths, and the inevitable reunion is suitably tear-jerking and slobbery.
Director: Charles Smith
Producer: Gavin Polone, Robert Dohrmann, T.D. Jakes, Derrick Williams, Yu Dong and Jeffrey Chan
Cast: Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King, Edward Olmos, Alexandra Shipp, Chris Bauer, Barry Watson, Wes Studi, Bryce Howard, Motell Foster, John Cassini, Brian Markinson, Patrick Gallagher, Broadus Mattison and Rolando Boyce