Verdict: This friendly furry reincarnation offers a lot of treats.
Over the years, Hollywood has treated us to tons of truly adorable movies based on dogs, some of which have devastatingly fatal endings. In 2017, author W. Bruce Cameron’s New York Times Bestselling novel A Dog’s Purpose got its cinematic adaptation which took us through that fatal devastation over and over again with the premise of a reincarnating dog who loyally comes back to his owner. However, painful dog deaths aside, the film managed to win over critics as well as audiences with its heartwarming take on a pet’s undying love. Now, the furry friend called Bailey is set to reincarnate on the big screen once again with the adaptation of the sequel novel titled A Dog’s Journey.
What’s A Dog’s Journey About:
Ethan (Dennis Quaid) and his wife Hannah (Marg Helgenberger) are living the good life on their Michigan farm still accompanied by their loyal and playful dog Bailey (Josh Gad). Bailey even has a cute little playmate Clarity Jane aka CJ who is Ethan and Hannah’s baby granddaughter. However, still grieving her husband’s death and trying her best to make it as a musician, CJ’s mom Gloria (Betty Gilpin) runs away and takes CJ with her. As Bailey is ready to reincarnate to new life, he promises Ethan that he’ll find CJ and protect her at any cost. So begins Bailey’s adventure through multiple lives with the new human CJ (Kathryn Prescott) as she goes from a little girl who needs a little love to a young woman who needs to find her way. Their journey is packed with love, heartbreak, music, loyalty, and friendship as they’re joined by CJ’s best friend Trent (Henry Lau).
W. Bruce Cameron proves, once again, that he is the ultimate dog lover with another fitting tribute to the undying loyalty of man’s best friend. Joined by co-writers Cathryn Michon, Wallace Wolodarsky, and Maya Forbes, he manages to give us a convincing puppy-eyed perspective of a dog’s faithful journey with its owner.
Bailey is now living his best life with his best friend Ethan on the ideal farm, acting as a reminder of how strong their bond was in the first film. As we say goodbye to the regal St. Bernard-Australian Shepherd crossbreed, Bailey begins a new adventure with CJ. Over the course of CJ’s life, we see Bailey reincarnated as a playful beagle named Molly, a lazy mastiff named Big Dog, and a mean little Yorkie named Max who all find their way to help her in some way or another. This whole journey is straight out of a dog lover’s Instagram feed, packed with wet-nosed puppers and adorable doggos. All the while, we are also transported through an emotionally biting storyline that touches on the themes of alcoholism, parental neglect, abusive relationships, terminal illness, and the relationships that truly matter. How do the two polar opposite themes unite? The voice of Bailey, Josh Gad delivers a humorous and honest interpretation of the butt-sniffing, treat-loving, protective, and lovable dog.
What Could’ve Been Better:
Taking us through all the ups and downs CJ’s life and Bailey’s reincarnations, the film tends to move really quickly through some moments that could’ve been explored a bit more.
Why You Should Watch:
A Dog’s Journey can make even the hardest hearts crave a furry companion. It’s melodramatic, it’s adorably over-the-top, and it most definitely works as a must-watch for anyone who has ever had a pet or loves dogs.