Making the Grades
Aesop taught that slow and steady won the race. In Homeward Bound 2, a quiet little movie containing no bad language and little sex or violence, another message may be brewing.
In this sequel, the Seaver family is flying to Canada with Shadow, Chance, and Sassy (voiced by Ralph Waite, Michael J. Fox, and Sally Field) packed for the trip in the luggage compartment. But Chance gets nervous about being locked in a cage and flies the coop while they are parked on the tarmac. Now it's Home Alone goes to the dogs (and cats) as the three pets must find their way from the San Francisco airport back to their home in the burbs.
Obvious content concerns for parents are few, with the main source of violence being two guys who want to kidnap dogs to sell to a science lab. Otherwise, an occasional dogfight breaks out as the trio crosses into another group's turf (maybe gang violence is an animal control problem). A few sexual innuendos are also present, as scriptwriters struggle to attract older audience members through easier means than crafting a great story.
My real concern, however, is how Chance plays his role of being the dog who always throws fate to the wind, and forever winds up lucky. His wisecracking lines and refusal to obey or listen to anyone sets a negative example for younger audiences. Chance's actions are reinforced by having him cast as the star "hero" dog and getting the girl in the end. By comparison, the slow and steady Shadow is boring and out of date.
Often children's movies are marketed at a price intended for purchase. Be especially selective when deciding to put a movie that your children will watch repeatedly into your family's collection. Themes not apparent after a single viewing become much more powerful when watched over and over. I'm sure if Aesop sold the movie rights to his fable today, most certainly the tortoise wouldn't stand a hare of a chance.