Making the Grades
A Walt Disney live action film featuring the voices of Michael J. Fox, Sally Field, and Don Ameche, Homeward Bound is a remake of a 1963 Disney title called The Incredible Journey. It stars Ben, Rattler, and Tiki playing the role of the two lead dogs and one cat.
To give the film a nineties twist, the plot revolves around a newly married husband and wife, both of whom have children--and pets--from previous marriages. Immediately after the wedding, Dad has to live in San Francisco for a short while, necessitating the boarding out of the animals at a friend's ranch. Circumstances cause these extremely smart animals to think that no one is going to take care of them, so they take life in their own hands as they start the long journey back to their home.
Giving the animals voices in this remake adds a whole new dimension to the idea. The scripting for the most part is witty, although the parts of the movie involving the humans is at times staged and lifeless.
And although this is fantasy, if these animals are really this smart, it seems odd that they cannot figure out some of the most simple situations--like don't sniff the porcupine! And, if the people at the animal shelter are going to kill you, why would they take the time to pull the quills out first?
But being picky about plot logic in a movie like this is missing the point. It provides a good dose of family entertainment that should keep kids interested right to the heart tugging finale.
Director Duwayne Dunham and cinematographer Reed Smoot had to have incredible patience in working with these animals, and manage to pull off a better performance from them than their human counterparts. Their work helped make Homeward Bound a hit at the box office, and probably just as popular at the video store.