A Dog’s Purpose is going to make you cry; the trailer almost had me tearing up in the middle of the cinema. Starring Josh Gad (The Book of Mormon, Frozen), who makes everything awesome, the film follows a young Golden Retriever from birth to death and across several lifetimes as he discovers his purpose; to help his myriad owners in various ways. The tagline tells us that “every dog happens for a reason”.
A Dog’s Purpose is a classic feel good kind of movie with shades of The Incredible Journey intertwined with Marley and Me and perhaps a little bit of Cats and Dogs. Reviewers have described it as “partly endearing, partly predictable” and “calculated tear-jerker”, and it’s doing surprisingly well at the box office, despite the cancellation of the LA premiere due to allegations of animal abuse on set. In China, it even managed to topple Logan off the top spot.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) called for boycotts of the film following the release by TMZ of a video, filmed in 2015, that appeared to show a German Shepard being forced into rushing water during filming. In the video, the dog seems to be fighting to stay out of the fast moving stream while a man in a green suit attempts to force it in. The footage, which was later found to be authentic, although edited, cuts to a scene of the dog submerged as people swim towards it. A voice is then heard, off camera, yelling, “Cut it! Cut it!”
Universal released a statement reassuring members of the public and concerned animal rights groups that the dog was “happy and healthy”. They also said that they were “reviewing the footage”. In February, the American Humane Association reported that an independent third-party expert in animal cruelty had determined that reasonable safety measures were in place on the set of A Dog’s Purpose and that the footage had been edited in a deliberate attempt to mislead the public.
Dennis Quaid, who stars in the movie alongside Josh Gad, released a statement saying “My experience is that the animals were treated great. There was no animal abuse. That video that someone took and sold for money and held on to for a year and a half until right before the film’s coming out, does not tell the whole story.”
“First of all, it’s been edited and manipulated. And I think it’s a scam, to tell you the truth. What they (the viewers of the video) saw was completely out of context. It was edited…and all of the footage I saw, the dog was going into the water happily and had to be restrained, actually, from going into the water many times during that day.”
Are you looking forward to A Dog’s Purpose? Let us know in the comments!