Monday, May 2, 2011

Homeward Bound - The Incredible Journey (Film)

Release date: 1993. Performers: Michael J. Fox, Sally Field, Don Ameche. Studio: Walt Disney Pictures. Director: Duwayne Dunham. Screenplay: Caroline Thompson and Linda Woolverton. Based on novel The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford.

Plot summary: Chance, a bulldog, Shadow, a golden retriever, and Sassy, a Himalayan cat, are all three pets of the Burnford children. Jamie is Chance’s owner, even though he feels like he doesn’t really need one, Shadow belongs to Peter and Sassy to Hope. The three create mischief, especially at the wedding of Laura Burnford, the children’s mother, to Bob Seaver. After the wedding, the family must go to San Francisco for a few months, leaving the animals at a ranch owned by one of Laura’s friends, Kate. Worried that they’ve been abandoned and that their owners are in danger, the three escape from the ranch and embark on a journey back to their home through the wilderness. While in the wild, the animals experience many different adventures, some fun, some funny, and some dangerous. Will the house pets be able to survive long enough to make it home to their beloved owners?

Review: This fun remake of the classic 1963 film is based on an equally wonderful novel by Sheila Burnford. Younger tweens will enjoy this heartwarming tale of love and loyalty. The voices provided for the animals by Michael J. Fox, Sally Field and Don Ameche are perfect for narrating their “incredible journey.” They provide the right amount of humor and caring. The mouths of the animals don’t move, but they are still clearly communicating. The animal actors are also very lovable and viewers come to care a great deal about them getting home. The satisfying conclusion makes this the perfect movie for tween animal lovers. The film will also inspire viewers to pick up a copy of the novel as well.

Genre: Fiction/Animals

Interest level: Grades 2-6

Similar titles:  Homeward Bound II – Lost in San Francisco (1996), Milo and Otis (1989), Babe (1995).

Personal thoughts: This was one of my all-time favorite movies as a young tween, and I watched it consistently (sometimes daily) from about age nine through age twelve. I still love it and think it is wonderful for tween animal lovers. Since it was released in 1993, it is not full of the CGI that many movies for this age group starring animals contain. Chance, Shadow and Sassy are real animals. They communicate with human voices, but their mouths do not move. They have adventure after adventure that leads to a satisfying conclusion. I think this is a genuinely heartwarming and completely age appropriate film that I would absolutely recommend to tweens.  

Themes: Pets, loyalty, adventure.

Awards/Reviews: Well-reviewed and successful at box office.

Series Information: Sequel Homeward Bound II – Lost in San Francisco (1996)

Character information:
Chance – A rambunctious bulldog who is owned by Jamie, but considers himself independent. He often gets into trouble.
Shadow – An older and wiser golden retriever. He is owned by Peter and is concerned first and foremost about Peter’s safety.
Sassy – A prissy Himalayan cat who is owned by Hope. She often fights with the dogs, but loves them like brothers.

Annotation: What happens when three house pets travel through the wilderness to return home? Adventure, danger and a whole lot of fun!

No comments:

Post a Comment