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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

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.

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

Understanding Arrival Movie | Full Arrival Movie Explained with Spoilers

Finally got some time to write the explanation of one mind bender of a movie Arrival! Such a beautiful concept the movie has that it explodes you, when you figure it all out. It is a movie that teases you with its inklings until it drops the bomb at you. But the true nature of its beauty lies in its profound direction, of how the rest of the world interprets the word ‘alien’, and their incapability to understand the unexplained.

Without wasting any more time let’s dig into it. Also, if you haven’t seen Arrival movie yet, there was no point coming to this page. You should go first watch it, read our review maybe first,  and then proceed, coz it’s full of spoilers!

Arrival Movie Explained (Major Spoilers Ahead)

The best way to understand Arrival movie is via the fact that there is no definite order to things. There are no tenses. So if you are being shown a scene that looks like a memory it could very well not be.

  • We see what appears to be a flashback of memories, frames that show our protagonist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) playing with her daughter, raising her up all by herself. Then we see her grow up to be a beautiful teen, but unfortunately one day she passes away from a disease that looks like cancer.
  • We move on to gather the profession of Louise Banks. She is a linguist who teaches in a college. That’s when 12 Alien Spaceships appear all across the globe at different locations. Everybody freaks and leave as she too gets the day off and decides to hit home. She is least interested in what’s going on, as she speaks to her mother.
  • Forgetting about the huge repercussions of Alien ships, she goes to the university yet again to find it deserted. That’s when enters the U.S. Army Colonel Weber asking for her help. She is briefed on to help them understand why the Aliens are here, as she joins the team that comprises of Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner).

You can understand communication and still end up single.

Visiting a Spaceship

  • In Montana, they are brought in to check out one of the spacecrafts. On entering they find the spacecraft had its own strong gravity that explains how throwing something upwards rivets it to one side.

still of suited up scientists from Arrival movie

  • They follow the path to meet two huge aliens behind what appears like a protective glass. Ian names those heptapods Abbott and Costello in an effort to make them understand the concept of introduction.
  • It is there where they discover their language was, well, alien. Huge confusing circular symbols are drawn on the glass with a disappearing ink. With that begins ceaseless session of questions and answers in an attempt to understand what the hell the aliens were really trying to say.
  • Meanwhile, Louise Banks keeps getting visions of her daughter. Let’s not forget that! Till this point she thinks those were mere dreams. Also, Ian makes an allusion that Louise could be dreaming in a foreign language, the language of Heptapods.

The Huge Twist of Arrival

  • Then comes the huge twist. When Louise and Ian finally fixate and relate their letters to our letters, Louise asks a question about the nature of their visit. They answer with the word ‘Use Weapon’. Even though Louise is convinced that the word weapon is open to more than one interpretation, the rest of the world goes loco and opts to attack the pods instead.
  • Further communications are barred as Louise and Ian make one final attempt to understand what Abbott and Costello were trying to say. In the backdrop an explosive was put in the spaceship to knock it out of space. A series of complex messages are left by the Heptapods, to decipher in a hurry. But the bomb goes off, as Abbott saves their lives in process.
  • Ian and Louise wind up in military beds, and the spacecrafts go further up in the atmosphere for their safety. Ian deciphers the symbols that were left by the aliens to be pointing towards the concept of time. That it was nothing but one-twelfth of a gift they intended to give. Thus they figure out that the heptapods want all the nations where the 12 spaceships were present to cooperate with each other so that the intended gift can be utilized.
  • But it is too late. Chaos has ensued. Entropy of life has seeped in. All communications have failed, and the world is ready to attack the innocent ships that have come seeking our help and are hanging mid-air gawking at their certain sealed fate. That’s when a pod is sent for Louise by the heptapods.

Epic Revelation

  • It is here that we get to understand what is really happening. When she reaches the spaceship Costello communicates with her telling her that Abbott was on its deathbed.
  • When she asks the heptapod who was the girl she has been seeing, you realize that her daughter “Hannah” wasn’t actually born, and that it wasn’t a memory we were being constantly shown.
  • The heptapod explains to her that what she has been seeing (her dreams) the future all this time. That time is non-linear from their perspective.
  • 3000 years from now they would be needing humanity’s help, and that it is crucial for them to teach us how to use the gift which was nothing else but their language, something that gave us the ability to fathom time, its surreal non-linearity. If we understood that, using its help we could be helping them out in the near future somehow.

still of Louis and Ian in Arrival

Dodging off War | Arrival Ending Explained

  • When Louise returns with this epiphany, she envisions her distant future where she has managed to unite everybody, and written books on Heptapods and stuff. She is felicitated by General Shang in a United Nations meet saying that it was Louise who had changed Shang’s decision to suspend Chinese attack. To her surprise he even goes as far as to show her his personal no. that she had dialed in order to waive off the Chinese attack.
  • In the real world, China was about to attack the pods. This gives her the inkling to act quickly and so she runs for a SAT phone and calls the General on the no. from the vision. Now she doesn’t know what to say, so she scours for it in the future vision yet again, only to realize Shang telling her the exact words she said on the phone that did the trick. It was Shang’s dying wife’s last words,

“In war, there are no winners, only widows.”

  • It was the only thing that could have possibly changed Shang’s mind. With that intimate knowledge Shang calls of the strike, and the other nation’s follow suit, eventually cooperating to understand their language, the cardinal gift.
  • When the heptapods realize their job was done, they disappear.

Epilogue

We realize through plethora of allusions that the physicist she used to talk with her daughter about was none other than Ian. The following line then eventually gets delivered:

“If you could see your whole life laid out in front of you, would you change things?”

It gets responded immediately by Ian:

“Maybe I would say what I felt more often. I don’t know.”

Soon he adds,

“You know I’ve had my head tilted up to the stars for as long as I can remember. You know what surprised me the most? It wasn’t meeting them. It was meeting you.”

This confirms that it is Ian that she ends up marrying. That she conceives Hannah with Ian in the near future, and that her knowledge of Hannah dying, forces Ian to leave her. That’s why we see Louise alone raising her.

But the line about the future leaves it to viewer’s imagination as to whether or not Louise would do something different to change her doomed future. Because it is after all, what she gives the aliens to learn from.

Bottomline of Arrival Movie

The bottomline in Arrival is that aliens don’t know how to save themselves from their looming downfall, their imminent death in the future. So, they have come to learn to handle this from us. So when they tap in our understanding of freewill, they have a shot at it. That they are to benefit only when we unite to understand their language. As to what is that imminent threat, we don’t know. And I think it is not important either.

The moment we work on World Peace, they leave us, because time being non-linear their impending doom gets called off, by something some human did in the non-linear version of time.

Well, to put it bluntly as I have put it, might sound stupid to some, but the thing is the movie’s true strength lies in its concealed timeline. It tries to cloud your judgment by showing glimpses from a different juncture in time. But it also patiently waits with its titanic climax to reveal everything in the end. It leaves you intensely satisfied, and that’s what a good movie should do.

Arrival is simply a work of genius. The more you think about it, the more awesome it becomes. Let your thoughts shower in.

Goosebumps Review (2015)

A light popcorn entertainer!

Goosebumps fails to give you what its name promises. Or wait….maybe it didn’t promise anything in the first place. More of a tribute to R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. The movie is a very light comedy which banks on its sheer adventurous story to work. It does work though but not exactly the way you wanted it to.

With a fantastical plot where characters pop out of books into the real world, it basically gives you the idea where things are headed. But when you don’t slip in logic or even try to give a proper explanation things begin to go downhill.

What is quite surprising about the movie is the fact that it manages to hold on, even when things don’t. Both direction and editing of the movie have been done brilliantly. Helmed by Rob Letterman this flick has proper focus and runs at a great pace. There is slight comedy hurled hither and thither to make things jovial, which keeps the theme upbeat.

Jack Black plays Stine, the renowned author. But here you see a different version of the Jack you used to know. He is a non-comical recluse holding a dire secret. Both Dylan and Odeya are delightful to watch and have been complemented well by the remaining crew.

If you love dark, this isn’t a movie for you. You might want things to go out of hand and to an extremity like in Cabin in the Woods. However, this movie makes everything seem pretty normal. Adrenaline doesn’t pump much. Love looks mediocre. Loss doesn’t bring tears. Proper thought hasn’t been given in that department. Almost reminds you of all those Disney flicks they make!

Quite childish this movie, if you ask me! Kids are gonna love it though!