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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:

Beauty and the Beast Review (2017) | An Exhilarating Musical to Revive the Age Old Fairy Tale

How many times have we seen this gargantuan heartfelt epic romance take shape? Every era has its own version of Beauty and the Beast, a fairy tale that had once originated in the beautiful mind of Gabrielle -Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. Over the years we saw its retelling, we saw it getting hammered in the form of TV series, animated movies and what not. The fairy tale would never fail to surprise as long as there is that tinge of magic in it to support it, thoughtful verses that send us brooding and music that aggrandizes prospering love. Fortunately Bill Condon‘s Beauty and the Beast movie retains all these elements.

Theme and Cast of Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast is a theatrical feat that gambols along with its extraordinary music. Yes, it’s a musical and I think only an alluring musical could do a gorgeous fairy tale like that justice. On one side of the ring we have the gorgeous beauty Belle, who Emma Watson wears quite beautifully making it her very own persona. On the other side of the ring is none other than the cursed Beast, who by the way is a softie trapped in a monstrous body played by Dan Stevens. He could have really used a little less CGI, or a better one, now that we have already boldly ventured into that territory.

still of luke evans as gaston in beauty and the beast

Not to forget the very handsome Luke Evans who is as perfect, confident and rad with his dialogues, er, songs as he looks in reality. Casting for Gaston happened perfectly there. We have LeFou done by Josh Gad who is one of the most entertaining dimwits in the movie. He alleviates perversion with his outlook.

Voices of Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Lumiere were done beautifully by the likes of Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, and Ewan McGregor. Stanley Tucci hid under the veil of Maestro Cadenza pretty good.

Mocking Society

While this might have been like an umpteenth adaptation, I liked Beauty and the Beast for its hard-hitting veracity. The fact that it stuck to reflect things as they are or are supposed to be in real life, is something that connected with me the most. It is a satire on human perception, of how things work around a town that scoffs at a person who thinks differently. It is a parable that reflects how mob works, that how easy it is to egg them with a cunning spark.

The opening scene that showcases Belle’s obsession with the books, and how everyone in town sees education as a curse goes on to mock ignorant societal elements who want to churn the world their way. While at one end Belle is ahead of her time clearly seeing through it all, the insular mob in her little village wants her to follow its footsteps. People don’t like different and that’s what they hate about Belle.

Your library makes our small corner of the world feel big.

Whilst Belle is busy trying to find a world that isn’t as insolent as the one she is living in, she seems to have come to terms with it, and found the perfect abode in her books. She is thriving in a world that doesn’t get her. I guess a lot of us can relate to her in that aspect.

Materialistic Judgments

It takes our protagonist a curse to make him realize that materialism wanes. That whatever we judge based on the way it looks or appears is a curse per se because beauty is always hidden.

He fell into despair and lost all hope, for who could ever learn to love a beast?

Gaston, au contraire, is braided just the opposite. He is an irritable narcissist who can’t see beyond the material world that engulfs him. Him talking to the mirror carving a living satire with remarks like,

No one deserves you, but at least your children will be beautiful.

Goes on to show how he is full of it. He is a paragon of beauty and strength, which are things that the world is quick to judge you by.  They think exactly what he thinks of him, and fail to see what’s underneath his veil.

still of Belle and Beast in Beauty and the Beast

That salient materialism is in the punitive action of the beast too. When he punishes Maurice, Belle’s father, for life, for merely picking a flower.

He means forever. Apparently that’s what happens around here if you pick a flower.

People are so full of it that they are quick to deliver judgments. There is hatred in the heart of the beast and hatred is one of the primal causes of things that affect one’s judgment. He has punished a man with a life sentence for just picking a flower! His world’s no different from the one that we live in. The flower was dear to him, and that was it – Reason enough for him to punish and have his revenge.

You can’t judge people by who their father is, can you?

In a way the movie elicits a satire out of human perception, emotions and judgments.

Love Takes Time

People don’t fall in love in a moment. That too when there’s a ghastly creature involved; You can’t fall in love with him in a snap of a finger. You have to be around, spend ample time around someone that looks different to truly understand him, to even venture that lane.

She had seen that there was no love in his heart.

Overlooking everything takes time, and that’s what the movie sells. Belle spends ample time with the Beast enough to understand him, to accept him despite that apparent skewed image of his. Love was gradual and it was very much relatable unlike some Hollywood muck we come across every once in a while.

Then it teaches us how clingy never works with people. If we truly love someone we have to give them space. That’s what Beast does when he lets Belle return to her village. He couldn’t have possibly asked her to stay, and wished to earn her trust.

Can anybody be happy if they aren’t free?

You can order Beauty and the Beast movie here:

Issues with the Movie

If you are thinking, by now, the movie was outright impeccable, I would have to sadly add: No. There were plenty of drawbacks in Beauty and the Beast. The first and foremost being the fact that you could feel the contrivance knocking at the big screen at every juncture. Emotions were often absent. Behind that awful CGI you couldn’t see Dan Stevens reacting the way he should have. Despite how committed Emma Watson appeared in her role, Dan felt quite the opposite. He didn’t quite fit the bill, and would often get carried away with animation.

image of lumiere and cogsworth in beauty and the beast

Their chemistry wasn’t quite right either. Didn’t evoke a keen sense of longing when they weren’t together, didn’t draw out emotions when there timing was right. Everything seemed placed awkwardly like marionettes. With Lumiere taking most of the screen time , and some zany bits loosely hanging around in every scene, the movie takes away its requisite seriousness.

You must forgive first impressions.

Climax has been bluntly filled with a tasteless flavour. It rushes in eventually as if all we wanted to see was the revived cast heading into another ball. Questionable editing there! People who like to have proper focus in their movies, it’s clearly not for them.

Then you can’t really overlook how the movie doesn’t project the enchantress properly as well. She walks in at a time when she was needed as if she was supposed to be there. No character build up, nothing. She was a mere needle in the haystack.

The Final Verdict

People who are averse to musicals might not enjoy all that singing. But those who love musicals are going to love this beautiful flick. Pay attention to what the characters have to say through apparent metaphors, and you might even enjoy the musical more than anything.

Different timbres and tempo and the deafening music in the flick is something that makes the movie an enjoyable hoot. It is as loud as it is supposed to be. We can’t thank the composers Alan Menken and Howard Ashman enough for that.

Gaston stands out, hands down, as one of the finest antagonists, and something that you might remember the movie by. As far as feelings and emotions were concerned the movie failed to induce that.

You can check out the trailer of the flick here:

The Angry Birds Movie Review (2016)

Given the multitude the flightless birds have covered via its endearing game, the Angry Birds movie falls far away from its tree. It doesn’t come close to meeting the levels of jaunt Rovio Entertainment had set out on through its gaming venture. Things that stop it from hitting the spot are – bland story, vapid shenanigans, mediocre humour, and absence of real substance to keep things together.

WHAT THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE REALLY IS

The Angry Birds Movie is more like having a conversation with a pissed off Jason Sudeikis. It doesn’t have a real direction and stretches out beyond limit till their nemeses arrive; an inevitable rock-bottom that we all knew was coming. A character portrait of Mighty Eagle was shoehorned into the tale to kill time, which apparently seemed more like a clichéd sub-plot, something we all have seen thousands of times in animated movies. Peter Dinklage makes it better though, no doubt.

COMPLETELY HOLLOW

The weirdest thing about The Angry Birds Movie is that 20 minutes in it and you know how hollow the movie is. It is as if nobody really cared that they were making a movie. You could almost hear yourself in the backdrop – the movie-makers might have thought, “Let’s put that joke, let’s squeeze in a funny line like that. THAT would be funny!” Music is more like no matter what stuff is played it only comes out as their trademark song.

Though there is entertainment imbibed but it is more like in parts, and with no real connection to each other. So if you could pull them out, the whole flick would fall apart. It is almost like someone from the company who was tired of playing the game, filled with apprehension of them losing business got up in epiphany and shouted, “Hey guys! I know how to ensure we stay in business. Let’s make a movie!”

BRIGHT SIDE

To look at the bright side, you have chubby cute birds that make your day. A funny character called Chuck that makes the movie enjoyable. Rest is a mere deliberate attempt to tickle you.

THE FINAL VERDICT

The Angry Birds Movie will lighten your mood though, but there is nothing like a classy witticism to throw you into fits of laughter. If you have a good sense of humour you are definitely going to hate it. Period.