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A Dog’s Purpose Review (2017) | Teaching Us Living Since Time Immemorial

Controversies aside, I believe a movie should be judged only for the time slot it runs sans the politics that surrounds it. A Dog’s Purpose might have managed to rope itself under the cross-hair of animal abuse, which nonetheless stays debatable when you listen to both sides of the story, but when you watch it for real without letting allegations decide your adjudication, you realize it’s one gem of a flick.

A Dog’s Purpose teaches us a lot of things from the perspective of a dog-soul that traverses from one dog life to another. Whilst it might appear like there isn’t much to their life than being cast away from one body to another only to experience different shades of life, the same could be said for humans. It’s not as if W. Bruce Cameron has it all figured out. He just paints an optimistic picture of how their purpose is to carve better humans out of ourselves or die trying. It is a selfless life trying to find love, understand our needs whilst doing so, and helping us out to grab the lost reins of our life back.

Canines in A Dog’s Purpose

Even so, Lasse Hallstrom makes dogs all the way more adorable by using some of the most loveable canines like a Retriever, a German Shepherd, a Corgi and a Bernard.

Okay, let’s accept it, it is hard not to fall in love with a dog, and inhumanly impossible to get in sync with their feelings for us. They steal the show right away. Numbers could have flared up even without a good story to bolster them.

But to run them through a story that is as good as they are in reality, now that is something! A Dog’s Purpose movie has everything you wish to see in a dog movie. If it doesn’t crush you and if it doesn’t brim you alive then its purpose hasn’t really fulfilled.

On more than three to four occasions you are going to let go of those tears. It’s that racking sometimes. But at the same time, there are plenty of good genuine jests that will tickle your bones. A dog lover would be able to instantly relate to them. They are hard to miss too.

Extraordinary Stories (Spoilers Ahead)

Out of the four lives that the movie shows a dog donning, one of those will literally rip your heart out. Watching a Bernard being tied to a rope all day and night is one of those gut-wrenching moments you wish a dog is never subjected to. It goes on to show that there are all kinds of people in the world, and we are literally responsible for affecting everything around us with our decisions. That could mean even steering the most adorable pup into leading a lethargic lifestyle.

image of a Bernard pup in A Dog's Purpose movie

Dogs aren’t lazy, you make them so, because of your abominable torpor. It’s shattering to see the canine never retracting even when he is being pinned to a bad life, being highly optimistic all the way, just moaning with:

They just don’t go out much.

Ah! The Modesty!

These dogs are all made up of sugar and spice and everything nice!

The Morality Conundrum

Then there is another one of that of a German Shepherd. An Alsatian that’s used by a cop into leading a monotonous life. The dog’s clever enough to understand the aloofness, but obstinate enough to never stop trying from earning its master’s love. Sadly when you put a police dog’s life on the big screen it elicits a lot of questions related to unscrupulous conventions.

It has been man’s blunt sense of prerogative to do as he pleases. Since time immemorial we have been bossing around nature’s gifts as if it is our very own playground and its animals our slaves. From horses, to oxen, to fishes and to dogs, it’s us who have defined jobs for them, judging them by their capabilities and satiating our selfish needs. Did a German Shepherd beseech us to be put on the field? No it was us. Did a horse ask to be saddled, nailed, and taken to war? No it was us all along.

The Altruism

W. Bruce Cameron lets you see the bigger picture with the Alsatian when he shows how it cares only about making its owner happy. Pointing all the fingers once again at man’s self-absorbed living indirectly. The poor creature dies saving the life of its master, putting itself altruistically against its owner to teach him why it is important to be completely selfless in today’s egotistical world.

Lasse Halstrom takes it to a completely different level showing us things from the eyes of a mute observer who fails to understand a life beyond love. The good and the bad are nothing but morsels of food and nod passed along to it, and that’s all it abides by. It is just trying to please us. Did it ever ask to be a part of the war? Did it ever demand bullets and bombs? Of course not. It was just looking for our approval, finding our happiness, making our euphoria its very own, and then eventually passing away trying to shoo us away from harm’s way.

The only problem is that neither Cameron nor Halstrom actually thought in that direction while writing and filming it. Quite apparently that thought is a tad dark for the theme of the movie, and it basically uproots every thinking we have been feeding ourselves all our life. Leaving animals to their fate, to their natural order! A penny for this thought?

You can order A Dog’s Purpose here:


Figuring Out Life

Humans have forgotten how to be human. That’s the primal nub of Cameron’s tale. He chooses to pick different shades of a canine life to help us reflect what we have been doing wrong all along. There are witty one-liners and subtle remarks that are impeccable enough to induce pathos. And they do manage to. Yes, one of the most exciting stories of A Dog’s Purpose is that of Bailey and the co-related Buddy part. They have been powerfully woven to meet after a hiatus of two sub-plots and they are impactful enough to bring tears to your eyes. Be it be Bailey’s shuteye or Buddy’s figuring out his one true master from a past life. Everything reeks of teary-eyes.

In each life, dogs are teaching humans important lessons. They are helping them get there. And when you pay attention it is like one big life lesson that is slid to us in four chapters, with the first and fourth being completely related, and being the cardinal steer of the story. It’s brilliantly done by the way.

Dogs are forever trying to please us, to stay on the good side of our radar. It is one of those species that’s capable of unconditional love, who always give precedence to their masters, and who are willing to do anything to ensure our well-being. Really, there is so much to learn from them.

The Final Verdict

Why does it take an animal to teach us how to be human? It is one of those questions we must contemplate on when we begin to forget what sets us apart. There are dozens of instances all around us, and there are lessons flying in every juncture. While Cameron seeks solace in one of the most selfless ones, you can’t overlook the fact that even though he might not have aced it with a dog diegesis in the backdrop, he has certainly tingled something in there.

That being said it is also a movie that just focuses on the good stuff mostly. It is trying to show us only the side of animal cruelty that we have unknowingly seeped into our lives. With the wrangle that A Dogs Purpose had got itself into, doesn’t it kind of brim it up with hypocrisy?

Overlooking the obvious the movie is an enjoyable flick. You find canines helping us at every point. They talk daft but strong enough words to send you pondering into eternity. Josh Gad‘s voice as Bailey, Buddy, Tino and Ellie feels just so right and aptly chosen. It’s a very soothing and reassuring befitting voice chosen for a dog. Makes you want to fall in love with them even more.

A Dog’s Purpose movie makes you want to adopt a pet, if you don’t have one already. A must watch despite what all the controversies have to say.

Can you ever forget Hachiko though? Also read Why Hachi A Dog’s Tale is one of the best dog movies ever.

You can check out the trailer of A Dog’s Purpose here:

The Secret Life of Pets Review (2016) | Adorable and Winning

Just when you thought pets couldn’t become more adorable! The Secret Life of Pets plays with your most sensitive area – the part that goes Awww a lot. The visual animators come up with adorable characters and wrap them up with cutesy faces that it is hard not to giggle when you find them talking to each other. Even though the concept is quite an old one, a clichéd formulation per se, this lucid animation by Illumination Entertainment makes it worthy of every nod it deserves.

CHARACTERS OF THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (SPOILERS IN COVER)

Characters to watch out for are so many actually, but the one that beats them all is a cute bunny named Snowball. Kevin Hart makes the persona unforgettable. His witty liners, rogue nature and contrasting mien make him outrageously adorable. The best parts are when he misses the deceased with a crying fist pump.

still of snowball from the secret life of pets

Amongst other ones are of course Max and Duke who start off on a wrong foot but end up becoming the best of friends. It is quite affectionate to see them get along after a series of unfortunate events. Chloe as the blue tabby cat is well thought of. Her abominable shenanigans are in blunt reflection of how a cat behaves in reality. She gets a proper screenplay where she delivers haughtily to every issue like a pro. Lake Bell voices her to perfection.

Another great character is that of Gidget, a white Pomeranian who is in smothering love with Max. Unfortunately it takes the whole movie and a hell lot of beating, for Max to actually notice her for real.

All the members of The Flushed Pets make the movie interesting. Though none of them are too memorable to be cherished, they still pack in entertainment galore.

HUMOUR

There is humour alright, in little things like a poodle headbanging to Bounce by System of a Down. The secret passage of Pops, the old hound who has the hots for Chloe.

Norman, the lost guinea pig, who comes out at odd intervals to deliver something funny. That Steve Coogan voice of Ozone, the Sphinx cat who happens to be the only true villain of The Secret Life of Pets. All such bits will tickle you fine. But to be really candid it isn’t all that funny. Most of the funny bits were already shown in the trailer, that left the movie in some stark deprivation.

HEARTWARMING MOMENTS

In the end, we get to see the doting side of the pet-human relationship that is sure to bring a smile to your face. Also, when a little girl finds Snowball in the end and he goes jab jab at her only to give in when she touches his head, is definitely going to melt you. It is satisfying to see him finally escape the dark side.

DOWNSIDES OF THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS

The big downside of The Secret Life of Pets lies with the filmmakers. No matter how bad Illumination Entertainment tries, they can never do a Pixar. A sense of sentience is always missing in their work. Also, their humour has this weird way of skimming only the shallow surfaces. There is nothing genuine to their storyline either. You have a good look at it from a distance and you realize, their work always wades towards the purposeless.

Despite the obvious problems that Illumination Entertainment deal with every release, they still manage to make The Secret Life of Pets fairly delectable.

Check out the trailer of The Secret Life of Pets movie here:

Broken Horses Review (2015)

Broken Horses is broken on so many levels. To begin with, I will take the kid who can’t act first. Whoever did the casting concentrated on his features alone, that and how much he would resemble Chris Marquette growing up. As the lame boy struggles with his lines without an expression on his face, Thomas Jane goes on to show his acting prowess by imparting brilliant gravity to his role.

We soon meet a guy called Hench played quite beautifully by Vincent D’Onofrio. Surprisingly his entrance and introduction to the tale gets smeared by poor direction. An unimportant dispensable element to the story was Ignacio played by Sean Patrick Flanery. He gets lost in a pointless plot. So does a horse that was merely kept to justify the movie moniker, and also to blast out five seconds after two bullets get fired. Chris as Buddy seemed as if he was on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. The plot that surrounded Garza too was an exercise in futility.

Screenplay is really poor. The drama also doesn’t stir you up. Actors seem to act on preordained tracks. The score is average albeit occasionally the violin would take things up for a while. The direction is quite mediocre and scrambles awkwardly with a predictable plot. It lingers along with the poor editing of the movie and goes on in a weird pace.

There is one scene wherein the camera captures Buddy in the background mourning as his brother beseeches Hench to let him help his brother out. I didn’t comprehend why was there a need to take all three of them in a single shot? He looked more animated acting at a distance, unfocused, mourning, simply spoiling the gravity of the talk. Even little things in the movie are explained or told by actors taking audience for fools. For instance, as we see a grown up Buddy version he instantly tells his brother that he had a haircut. I mean, why do you even need to spell it out? We knew who he was! Du-uh!

The movie being a Vidhu Vinod Chopra flick, I went in with high expectations. That could have been the cause of my big disappointment. There was nothing thrilling. Just a bland tale projected with a bleak vibe.

Eventually, I would still call it an average flick uplifted only because of Vincent and Anton’s performances. However, I would suggest you pass this one!