Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Movie Review: Far from Home - The Adventures of Yellow Dog

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Wonderful acting brings the characters to life
Cons: Short scenes and plot points makes it hard to care
The Bottom Line:
Animal journey
That will appeal to kids
More than their parents

Lost in the Wilderness

I don't get to see every film that enters my consciousness right away. For example, I heard about Far From Home - The Adventures Of Yellow Dog when it first came out over a decade ago. Yet I just sat down and watched it. Turns out the film is mildly entertaining, but I wasn't really missing much.

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, young Angus McCormick (Jesse Bradford) has learned many survival skills. He's just finishing up a nice canoe. And when he finds a stray dog, he adopts him and names him Yellow.

Taking a few days off from school to accompany his dad, John (Bruce Davison), on a supply run seems like a dream come true. But when they encounter a fierce storm, the boat they are in capsizes. John is quickly rescued, but the search and rescue teams can't find any trace of Angus or Yellow.

The two have survives and are trying to find their way back to civilization. Will they be able to survive and be reunited with their family?

I knew that much going into the movie. And yet it took forever to get to the storm. Instead, we get plenty of character and plot point set up. When it pays off later, I was glad for it. But until then it made for a slow start.

And I saw all that set up for what it was. The overall story is very predictable. The only surprises were in how exactly the events would unfold. A couple things came up I wasn't expecting, but I could then predict the solutions easily.

Worse yet were the short scenes. Quite often, we seemed to have a scene that lasted for 30 seconds or so. Maybe it's because of all the books I read, but I need almost that long to get my bearings every time a scene changes. After that, I can get back into the story and character development. As a result, I found it a little jarring.

The movie also felt like it tried to cram too many obstacles into the story. Instead of spending the time to adequately develop a few of them, we get just about every survival obstacle in the book. Again, this cuts down on how emotionally involved we can get in the story because we don't care about anything for an extended period of time.

As a result, I was surprised at how emotionally invested I felt when we reached the end. I credit the actors with that. Rounding out the main characters are Mimi Rogers as the mom and Joel Palmer as the cute younger brother. All four of the actors bring the McCormicks to life did an outstanding job. And we cut back to the other three as they wait for word of Angus quite frequently. In fact, it was those scenes with the rest of the family where I began to find myself truly invested in the outcome.

In the end, I wasn't missing much by waiting this long to see Far From Home - The Adventures Of Yellow Dog. It's not a movie to rush out and see, but if you get a chance, give it a chance.

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