Movie review: 'A Dog's Journey' still tugs at heartstrings

Fred Hawson

Posted at May 21 2019 03:36 PM

Dennis Quaid is back as Ethan Montgomery in "A Dog’s Journey." Handout

MANILA -- Shown two years ago, "A Dog's Purpose" told a story about about a dog and his search for his purpose in life. This sequel is still written by W. Bruce Cameron based on his 2011 book, but Gail Mancuso had taken over the directorial duties from Lasse Hallstrom.

"A Dog's Journey" follows the adventures of dog Bailey and his master Ethan after the events of the first film. Ethan is now an elderly man living with his wife Hannah on their farm with their cute little granddaughter CJ. However, when emotionally unstable, dog-hating Gloria eventually left the farm bringing her daughter along with her, Ethan bid dying Bailey to protect CJ and hopefully bring her back home. 

Like in the first film, Bailey undergoes a number of reincarnations in the course of his duty. The Bailey at the end of the first film (and at the beginning of this new one) is a St. Bernard/Australian Shepherd. After he passes on, Bailey's soul transferred to a Beagle named Molly, then a Mastiff named Big Dog, and finally a Yorkshire Terrier named Max. In each reincarnation, however improbable it may seem, Bailey would be able to see CJ at different points in her life.

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Ethan is still played by Dennis Quaid like he was in the first film. However, his wife Hannah is now played by Marg Helgenberger, replacing the late Peggy Lipton. These two play the ideal picture-perfect grandparents. They were always thinking positively of people and never lost their cool it seemed even when being disrespected. Gloria is played by Betty Gilpin in a most one-dimensional hateful portrayal of an alcoholic, negligent and cruel mother. 

Adult CJ is played by British actress Kathryn Prescott and they cast some lookalike child actresses to play her in younger ages. For diversity sake, it was interesting to note here that CJ's best friend Trent was played by Henry Lau, a Canadian actor of Chinese (Hong Kong/Taiwanese) descent who used to be a member of the boyband Super Junior-M. They each had one terrible relationship with other partners (Shane played by Jake Manley, and Liesl played by Daniela Barbosa) which were obviously doomed to fail from the get go.

The best part of the film is still Josh Gad's humorous narration of Bailey's thoughts both naughty and nice, no matter how cheesy situations can get. No matter how impossible things seemed to be, everything still worked like a charm. 

If you have seen "A Dog's Purpose," you sort of already knew how everything was going to end, but nevertheless, the overwhelmingly sentimental and heartwarming emotions will make tears well in your eyes, especially if you are a dog-lover.

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."