Double-take film review: A Dog’s Purpose

Drama perfectly describes the relationship between humans and dogs
By David Parpart

Warning: This review may contain mild spoilers.

“What is the meaning of life?” “Are we here for a reason?” “Is there a point to any of this?” These are the questions we ask and continue to ask on a daily basis. But in this film, we are looking through a dog’s perspective as he discovers his purpose in life over the course of several lifetimes with several different owners.

Josh Gad, who voiced Olaf in Frozen, voices the dog’s narrative. The film opens up with a litter of newborn puppies, one of them being Gad’s character. Unfortunately, his time as a puppy is shortened after being caught by animal control. He comes back into another litter of newborn puppies and, once he’s old enough, is put up for adoption. A man came to see all the dogs and took Gad out of the kennel, but put him back without fully locking the door. So, Gad got out and got past the fence of the adoption place until a box fell on him and two grown men notice a box moving across the gravel. The two men take Gad as their own puppy. When they drive into town and get out of their truck to get some supplies, they leave Gad in the truck with no windows cracked or any water. This is where we meet Ethan and his mom who hear Gad whimpering because of the heat. So, Ethan’s mom breaks the window open and rescues Gad. Gad wakes up to find Ethan and his mom hovering over him, making sure that he’s okay. Ethan’s mom then talks to Ethan’s dad about keeping the dog. Ethan’s dad agrees and this is where Gad’s dog has a new name and his name is “Bailey”. Now, Bailey has a new purpose and it’s to be with Ethan.

Throughout the film, we, the audience, see Bailey and Ethan grow up together until Ethan prepares for college. Once Ethan leaves, it has become Bailey’s time to leave as well. When Bailey comes back, he’s a new dog, a female dog actually named Ellie. Ellie is a police dog in the K-9 unit with a new purpose in life. Ellie then becomes a corgi named Tino for a woman named Maya. After, he then becomes Buddy, after reuniting with Ethan, played by Dennis Quaid, who’s older than when Bailey last saw him. Though not the first life, the one that stuck with this dog’s spirit the most was his life as Bailey where he was rescued by a boy named Ethan. Ethan was the first human to form a close bond with him and named him Bailey, a name that stuck with this dog’s spirit until the very end.

Despite the TMZ videos and boycott threats, A Dog’s Purpose still managed to pull in family audiences, which debuted at number two at the box office. A Dog’s Purpose is an awesome movie about a dog’s love for their human. The movie literally portrays so many different ways that dogs are treated. The movie did an amazing job at building up raw emotion in a short amount of time, very similar to Marley and Me, another movie about dogs. The movie builds a human’s love for their dog and it really portrays how a dog is truly a man’s best friend. This movie is seriously the most incredible, heartwarming, lovely movie and all the dogs are beautiful. This movie describes the mutually beneficial relationship between humans and dogs in a way that reinforces how much these tolerant, playful, and loving companions give to their humans. This film could do a great deal to advance the welfare of dogs and other domestic animals worldwide. The movie is highly supportive of animals and quite entertaining.

If you’re a person who currently has or ever had a close connection with a canine, A Dog’s Purpose will serve as a validation of feelings.



Despite protests over animal treatment on set, movie still enjoyable
By Heather Schuster

Warning: This review may contain spoilers.

The controversy behind A Dog’s Purpose started with a video of a German Shepard being forced into raging water and then shows the dog almost drowning while filming the movie. The video clearly shows that the dog does not want to go into the water and then the person pushes the dog in the water anyway. This has caused animal cruelty groups to protest the movie even though the filmmakers claim that the dog was never in any danger.

Despite this controversy, it didn’t alter my view of the movie while watching it. The editing made it look like the dog jumped in willingly. However, people probably won’t focus on it too much because (spoiler) the dog dies shortly after.

The movie is about a dog who questions the point of life while living multiple lives and going through many owners until he returns to his original owner. The theme of the film is what the meaning of life is. What I thought was interesting was that the filmmakers actually answer the question with the dog saying “the point is to have fun, save someone, and be here now.”

The cinematography of A Dog’s Purpose is creative in that it shows the dog’s point of view. In addition, it shows the emotions of all the characters, not only the dog. The music also shows emotion like when sad music played whenever the dog’s life was going to end. Speaking about the dog, when thinking who the main character is, it is definitely the dog; he is almost like a human in a way they make like a character.

The dog goes through about five lives. The first life is a short-lived one. Then the second life begins, in which the dog is given the name Bailey and that is where he is with the owner Ethan (played by Dennis Quad as an adult). During the dog’s other lives he is trying to get back to Ethan. The dog goes through two other lives until he reaches Ethan. What I like about this storyline is that it creates the idea that somewhere your pet that died is living and maybe someday your pet will make it back to you. Another thing I thought was interesting was that the dog went through different lives with different owners such as a police officer, a college student/family and a young boy. Another thing I liked was the humor of the dog, voiced by Josh Gad, which makes sense since Gad is a comedic actor. What I thought was cute in this film was the way the dog was being a matchmaker toward the end.

What I did not like too much were the scenes when the dog died throughout his lives because it made me feel sad for the characters. When you come to see the film thinking it is going to be a happy and end up crying, you are a little surprised with your emotional response.

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