A Dog’s Purpose is a movie based on a book by W. Bruce Cameron. Neither of us have read the book but a few weeks ago we were provided the opportunity to get passes to a free screening. We watched the trailer and fell in love. The concept is that the dog reincarnates multiple times, lives multiple lives, and eventually finds the boy, Ethan, who raised him many lives ago.
First things first, tissues. You will need lots of tissues for this movie. Every time I thought I was going to stop crying I started again. This movie meant so much to me, as it would to anyone who has ever lost their dog. As I’ve mentioned before, my mom’s dog is a little bit of an old lady who loves pizza and cheese. There’s a point in the film when the dog is a little older and the owner asks if he wants pizza and the dog doesn’t react. Two weeks ago I went over to my mom’s house and offered Mocha cheese, her second favorite treat, and her tailed wagged but she didn’t get out of bed. While Mocha probably still has a few years I was bawling.
The story line is absolutely spot on. There are no awkward loose ends or non-starters, which makes me immensely happy. The only complaint at all was that some of the cinematography was spotty, there were a few points where the camera wouldn’t focus and it was distracting enough that I was bothered.
While the movie is really good, and worth watching at least once, this film reminds me of Marley and Me and we will never watch it again. It’s not our cup of tea, per se.
For the camera work I knocked off 0.5 of a point and because we’re just never going to watch the movie again I knocked off another full point, giving it a “would we watch it again” rating of 8.5/10… And then I got home, looking for the trailer to link in this post and I found a TMZ video of an animal handler forcing one of the dogs in the film into a turbulent pool of water. At one point the dog goes under, some calls for the film to cut, and two handlers rush towards the dog.
I suppose that before seeing this movie I didn’t even consider the welfare of the dogs, which makes me feel like a horrible person. I’ve read a little bit about animal handlers and how they train dogs and when they’re called they go on set and do whatever it is they have to do and I guess I live in a romantic world where animals are never treated harshly. My heart hurt watching the handler attempt to force the dog into the water. I can’t even give Lucy a bath in the pool we bought her because she get’s too anxious (her groomer uses a bathtub and shower head and Lucy is okay with that kind of setting, we just don’t have the capacity to bathe her in our bathtub at the moment).
According to CBS News PETA has called for a boycott of the film and the American Humane Society is investigating the actions that have been reported. Director, Lasse Hallstrom, just posted to his Twitter (@HallstromLasse) that he was unaware of what happened and was not present for the filming of at least that particular scene.
Honestly, the film doesn’t officially release for another nine days and there are going to be all kinds of conflicting reports, TMZ has already reported that the producer’s of A Dog’s Purpose claim no harm was done, Hercules (the dog in question) is happy and healthy. I’m happy that I did not pay for my ticket to see this movie. I do understand that by praising the movie, by writing a review at all, I am ultimately supporting the movie, but I do not encourage anyone with strong animal right’s beliefs to provide any kind of monetary support to this film. However, if you feel so strongly that you’re going to boycott this film you need to consider every film you have ever paid to see that has animals in its casting, they were probably treated in a similar fashion.
For reference purposes, the following links are the articles I read before writing this :
TMZ : Hercules was not forced to perform stunt
TMZ : AHS representative suspended
TMZ : German Shepard forced to perform stunt
CBS News : German Shepard forced to perform stunt