Starring: Michael J. Fox, Sally Field, Don Ameche
Director: Duwayne Dunham
Running Time: 83 mins
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is an American film about three pets that embark on an epic voyage across the rocky California countryside in order to find their owners after having been left on a ranch hundreds of miles away.
Despite being at times a very emotional drama, this is a hugely pleasant and enjoyable film that will easily bring all of the family together. Kids can laugh and cry at the cute pets, and whilst adults may struggle to be quickly intrigued by the film, its overwhelming warmth will ultimately win them over.
So, let’s talk about the animals. The three main characters are Chance, a young American Bulldog, Shadow, a wise old Golden Retriever, and Sassy, a small Himalayan cat. Normally, when you put live-action animals as the main characters of a family film, it can end overly simple and totally unconvincing, as they’re not personified to the extent that would make them easy to relate to.
However, Homeward Bound is probably the best example of effective animal direction, control and usage in a kids’ movie. The pets do talk, but their mouths don’t move in tandem or anything, so it’s all up to your imagination to believe them, and that really helps a lot. What’s more is that the animal actors are all very well-behaved, and directed fantastically well to make a story about them that is genuinely interesting to watch.
Now, because this is a film mainly aimed at kids, it is a little bit simplistic. The dialogue between the pets in particular in often painfully cheesy, and not really that funny for anyone over the age of 8.
The development of the plot itself, however, is a lot better, as it allows both adults and kids to relate to the awful experience of losing a pet and/or thinking about a pet being all alone. In that, the emotion is a lot more powerful and effective, and will definitely bring all animal lovers to tears at some point or other, something that not many kids’ films do so well.
On the whole, Homeward Bound is a very pleasant and warm film, filled with imaginative and emotional storytelling, as well as impressive usage of the main animals, and that’s why it gets a 7.0 from me.