A DOG'S PURPOSE
A Canine’s Nine Lives
Release Date: January 27, 2017
Starring: K.J. Apa, Britt Robertson,
Dennis Quaid, and the voice of
Audience: Older children and adults
Runtime: 120 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures/Comcast
Director: Lasse Hallström
Executive Producer: Alan C. Blomquist
Producer: Gavin Polone, Darren Reagan,
Writer: W. Bruce Cameron, Cathryn
Address Comments To:Brian L. Roberts, Chairman/CEO/President, Comcast Corp.
Stephen Burke, CEO, NBC Universal (a subsidiary of Comcast)
Jeff Shell, Chairman, and Ron Meyer, President/COO, Universal Studios
Diana Langley, Chairman, Universal Pictures
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Bailey’s story begins after he’s left in a blazing hot truck and then rescued by his future owner, a young boy named Ethan. Ethan and Bailey grow up together and soon become inseparable, football-playing best friends, even throughout high school.
The family suddenly comes under a lot of stress as Ethan’s father has trouble at work. It drives him to alcoholism, and he’s forced out of the family home. He reappears in public and makes a drunken scene while trying to talk to Ethan. As a result, Ethan hits a bully making fun of his father. To get revenge, the bully sets off a firework inside Ethan’s house, causing it to catch fire with just enough time for Ethan, his mother and Bailey to escape. Bailey begins to age and the family, after much deliberation, makes the decision to put him down and out of his misery.
After this life, Bailey continues to come back to life as different dogs, with new and exciting adventures. He goes through many different owners and sees them throughout their loneliness. He has mostly kind owners, until a couple adopts him and after much abandonment, is taken out of town and dumped in the middle of nowhere. After wandering, he finally picks up a familiar scent and finds his way back to the porch of his best friend many years ago, Ethan. All he wants to do now is reunite Ethan with his high school sweetheart and communicate to Ethan that he’s his best friend Bailey from so many years before.
A DOG’S PURPOSE is a well-made movie with a high quality cinematography and big name actors involved. Clearly written for a younger audience, the dialogue can be a bit juvenile at times, with the jokes and humor aimed at children.
However, the movie contains a high amount of questionable content, including the overarching theme. The overall worldview is extremely pagan. It suggests false religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism, with the entire storyline revolving around the concept of animal reincarnation. Because this movie is geared toward a younger audience, MOVIEGUIDE® finds the movie excessive. If children were flushing their fish down the toilet to free them after seeing FINDING NEMO, then reincarnation of pets could be taken as fact, not fiction, when viewing A DOG’S PURPOSE.
The movie also portrays a very dysfunctional family, including an alcoholic and semi-abusive father. There are a few examples of violence, some from the father, as well as a fight with a school bully, and an altercation involving a criminal and the police. However, there is very little sexual content and only upper male nudity when swimming in a lake.
Note: Two short videos of two different shots have surfaced showing that some of the crew making this movie may have abused the German Shepherd dog appearing in the movie by forcing it to swim in some turbulent water in two different large Jacuzzis created for a rapid river scene. However, the above review is a review of the actual movie, not a commentary on how the movie may have been made, which is still in doubt after watching the two video snippets, which don’t show everything that happened before and after the footage.
The dialogue’s a little bit juvenile sometimes, but A DOG’S PURPOSE is well produced and entertaining. However, the story revolves around the false, abhorrent idea of animal reincarnation. It also includes a high amount of other questionable content, such as an alcoholic and abusive father, some flirting and light innuendoes, a few examples of crude humor, and some violence. The movie also suggests telepathy in one of Bailey’s lives. Because of its negative elements, A DOG’S PURPOSE is clearly excessive, especially for children.