Lit­tle hope for A Dog’s Way Home

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - ENTERTAINMENT - Chris Knight

Ni­co­las Cage could prob­a­bly swing it, and I’m go­ing to throw in Meryl Streep be­cause she can do any­thing. But in this case it drips, one syl­la­ble at a time and in glo­ri­ous mono­tone, from the lips of Keanu Reeves in the trailer for Repli­cas.

Reeves stars as Will Foster, a bril­liant neu­ro­sci­en­tist whose wife ( Al­ice Eve) and chil­dren are killed in a car crash that some­how leaves him with­out a scratch. So he builds ro­botic du­pli­cates of them — or cre­ates clones; the trailer isn’t clear on this point — and then up­loads their mem­o­ries into these crea­tures.

The trailer also fea­tures some­one ask­ing Reeves’ char­ac­ter: “What if some­thing hor­ri­ble goes wrong?” Which sounds like a screen­play gone off the rails — shouldn’t it be “What if some­thing goes hor­ri­bly wrong?”

Isn’t a hor­ri­ble thing gone wrong a kind of dou­ble neg­a­tive?

If all this proves too con­fus­ing, a sim­pler night at the movies is sug­gested by the trailer for A Dog’s Way Home. If that ti­tle and the film’s con­ceit — an adorable pooch, played in bub­bly voiceover by Bryce Dal­las Howard — seems fa­mil­iar, that’s be­cause it comes from the same writ­ers as last year’s A Dog’s Pur­pose. That one pre­sented the the­o­log­i­cal no­tion that no dogs go to heaven, and nei­ther do they have to be cloned or brought back in robot form, be­cause they al­ready rein­car­nate and will even find their way back to past masters in need of life lessons.

In A Dog’s Way Home it’s just one dog’s life as Bella — played in the flesh by a res­cue dog named Shelby — gets sep­a­rated from her owner ( Jonah Hauer- King) and has to travel hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres through dan­ger­ous ter­rain, sur­viv­ing avalanches, wolves and even a cougar, although the big cat seems to have watched Dis­ney’s The In­cred­i­ble Jour­ney, and de­cides to help Bella get home.

Nei­ther Repli­cas nor A Dog’s Way Home was screened in ad­vance for Cana­dian crit­ics, and both are open­ing on the dead- of- win­ter date of Jan. 11. That doesn’t bode well, but you never know. They might defy every nat­u­ral law there is just to be good. ck­[email protected] post­media. com twit­ter. com/ chrisknight­film

Sup­plied photo

Bella, played by Shelby, is seen in a scene from A Dog’s Way Home. The film, along with Keanu Reeves’ Repli­cas, wasn’t screened in ad­vance for Cana­dian au­di­ences, usu­ally a bad sign for movies.

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