Films like “A Dog’s Journey” is not going to make us fall in love with our beloved pets more than we already do. But what it does though, fair to note, is open up our mind, expand our horizon of knowledge, and extended an enormous appreciation towards animals we’re yet to learn to understand.
“A Dog’s Journey” continues the tale of Bailey (voice of Josh Gad), a dog who’s so attached to his owner Ethan (Dennis Quaid) that he simply can’t imagine disobeying his wish or ignore his will. At the time when Bailey was about to depart this world, Ethan was holding him tight in his hands and asked his best friend to look after his granddaughter, CJ, who needs care and love. Bailey remembers Ethan’s plea and when he is reborn in the body of another dog, he fulfills Ethan’s wish by helping CJ during her darkest times throughout her teenage years until she finds her well-deserved happiness.
Adapted from W. Bruce Cameron’s novel with the screenplay written by Maya Forbes, Cathryn Michon, Wallace Wolodarsky, and Bruce Cameron himself, the film once again offers the audience to enjoy a heartwarming trip to the world of a dog who dies and returns back to life again to serve his mission – to help a human to love and be loved. It’s very interesting to find out Bailey’s logic; he is not only an adorable pet, he has a great memory, is extremely considerate, not to mention loyal to CJ, and would never dare to break his promise, even though he knows there is no way for Ethan to find out Bailey’s journey unless Bailey finds a way to reveal himself to his old pal.
CJ, as a child, used to visit her grandparents at their farm, but her mother Gloria would resist her visits for the fear that her parents would always remind CJ that as a mother Gloria is certainly not that good. But once we allow ourselves to be more compassionate towards Gloria, we realize where her pain comes from, but for that, we have to wait for over an hour when Bailey feels it right away.
In the end, “A Dog’s Journey” is a charming and beautiful family drama mixed with slight comedy that will make you appreciate your family even more after watching it. This film is one that we truly must not take for granted. Whether we agree with it or not, there are not that many films out there that would educate and bring us closer to our own heart where sometimes we create a big distance to keep ourselves isolated from anything our heart might want us to do.
More importantly, with a concept like this, whether it is realistic or not, there will always be hope that a loved one we lose might be getting a chance to come back in the body of another individual. We may or may not know about it, but it will help give a smile to anyone who we see, the same big smile you probably gave to the one sitting next to you.