Nothing quite like a live action talking animal movie. So this is about two dogs and a cat being babysat on a ranch while their family takes a trip. When they convince themselves that no humans are coming back, they venture out on their own to see if they can find their way back home. While I didn’t grow up with E.T., I did certainly grow up with Homeward Bound. My VHS copy of this got heavy rotation in my childhood, so when it popped up on Netflix streaming, my wife and I decided to have a private screening for our giant chocolate lab puppy that is almost a year old. It was a great experience for me to revisit this, and it was a trip down memory lane in the best way possible.
I now understand the allure of a retriever.
Now this isn’t a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. It doesn’t have any Academy Awards under its belt, and whenever they weren’t sure on where to take the script next, they make a pun, and let me tell you: this is pun city for animals. I don’t know if kids will fully appreciate the jokes, as they range from decent to eye roll, but that’s not the point of this movie. The whole reason this was made was to get cute animals on an adventure, and you get that in spades. Now this is actually a remake of a 1963 movie that I haven’t seen, but if I’m not mistaken, I think the animals straight up get abandoned by the babysitter in the original. To make it a miscommunication was a smart choice as it makes it far more endearing. There is a true sense of camaraderie and honest to God character development as these animals journey through the wilderness, and that is a bit surprising out of a kid’s movie. You have the wise Shadow, the rascal Chance, and the prissy Sassy (yes, they named the cat Sassy), and I feel more for these animals than I do for most human characters in movies.
… he’s right behind me, isn’t he?
Homeward Bound is a cuteness overload that pulls on your heartstrings. If you’re not in full blown ugly cry mode at the end of this, our friendship probably isn’t going to last, because I don’t understand how your brain functions. I love these animals and this movie was a true part of my childhood. I’m glad Netflix picked it up, and I think it is a movie that is well worth revisiting.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993) ****
– Critic for Hire