Early mornings and dog movies…

This morning I woke up at 4:30am. I could not go back to sleep so I turned on HBO Family and watched the movie Far From Home The Adventures of Yellow Dog. It is a movie about a Labrador retriever or a golden retriever that is adopted by a young boy (Angus). Angus names the dog Yellow Dog. Not exactly original but it is a movie about a boy and his dog and the struggle for survival. I was hooked right in. You see, I have a soft spot for animal movies and especially movies about a boy and his dog. Old Yeller, White Fang and Iron Will are some great ones. The Journey of Natty Gann is also one I liked, although that was about a girl and her dog. And the movie Eight Below had me bawling at the commercials, never mind the movie itself. I thought that I would get the heartstrings tugged at while watching Yellow Dog but I was wrong.

The movie is fair overall and it is set in a beautiful location so it was worth watching for some of the picturesque shots. What bothered me about the movie was how it seemed to jump around a lot. Yellow Dog was a great dog, he fends off wolves and he catches dinner for Angus once or twice. What really drew me in was that Yellow Dog looked so much like Taylor. Yep, Taylor the soccer playing wonder dog of my sister Tara. It was 4:30am and I was hooked in.

Basically Angus is very self sufficient because he learned survival skills from his father and he paid attention. The kid can sew, make his own backpack eat anything that will give him nutrients and build shelters like nobody’s business. Angus and his father take a trip in their fishing boat down the coast (I think it was somewhere in the Pacific Northwest) and the boat is capsized by a rogue wave (rogue waves are convenient plot devices). A helicopter immediately rescues the father but Angus and Yellow Dog end up adrift on Angus’s newly constructed boat. Yellow dog and Angus make it to land and Angus sets about making a shelter out of the boat and then another shelter from driftwood. Had he stayed where he was he probably would have made an entire log cabin. Each place he goes he makes this great shelter for himself and Yellow Dog. That had to have taken some time, so how is he making progress on his trip? Eventually Angus and Yellow Dog make it to a giant fallen tree that spans a gap above a rushing river about 100 feet below. As they make their way across the tree a search plane spots them and sends a helicopter to find rescue Angus and Yellow Dog.

This is where the movie loses me. The helicopter buzzes overhead and the rescuer gets Angus but Yellow Dog thinks that the rescuer is trying to hurt Angus and Yellow Dog lunges at the rescuer and falls off the log to the river below. This should have been the saddest part of the movie. I had been watching and I was invested in what happened to Yellow Dog, but no, the movie did not compel me to fear for Yellow Dog’s life. As the dog fell we cut to a scene where Angus is in the helicopter and they have to turn back because of wind. Apparently 70 MPH winds. Yet, there was no wind as Angus was rescued. The viewer has not time to feel the impact of losing this dog that had been a best friend to Angus. Because the next scene Yellow Dog limps out of the water. The whole thing was cut together and shot poorly. It was as if the loss of Yellow Dog was an afterthought. Then the rest of the movie consisted of Angus at home and recovering and each day he blows this dog whistle hoping against hope that Yellow Dog returns. And then one Day Yellow Dog returns. What? Where was the story of Yellow Dog and his hardships to get back to Angus? Where was his story? The movie left me unsatisfied to say the least.

Go watch Eight Below, Old Yeller and White Fang if you are interested in good dog movies. I would skip Far From Home The Adventures of Yellow Dog.

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