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Hallström yanks dog lovers’ chains

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More stories from Eleanor Kline-Olson

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The director of “A Dog’s Purpose,” Lasse Hallström, specializes in making movies the same way Hallmark makes movies — he will leave the audience a crying mess. The film is based on W. Bruce Cameron’s book “A Dog’s Purpose.”

“A Dog’s Purpose” was released Jan. 27. The film is shown from the perspective of a dog, Bailey (Josh Gad). In the movie, Bailey lives with diverse types of families as he is reincarnated into different breeds of dogs. He lived several lives as Ellie, Tino and Buddy. His first family experience begins with a young boy named Ethan (Bryce Gheisar) and his parents. The audience is shown the many different families Bailey lives with and how some are not the idealistic household.

Hallström uses the style of hair, clothing and cars and the difference in family structure through the years to display the different time periods used in the movie between the 1950s and 2000s. He uses the classic Mustangs to illustrate the ‘50s vibe. He portrays the father as the breadwinner and the mother as a stay at home wife at the beginning of the movie. The style switches from letter jackets, to shoulder pads, to jheri curls, to yoga pants.

Hallström is not new to mushy movies, as he is the director of “Dear John,” which is also known as a tearjerker. “A Dog’s Purpose” will leave you crying, but there are also some funny scenes because of Bailey’s mischievous nature as a puppy. However, Hallström uses the death experience by the dog’s several lives to hit at your emotions and you leave the theater crying about an emotional reunion.

Gad is very familiar to voicing characters on screen. He is most known for his work as the  voice of Olaf from “Frozen” and Louis from “Ice Age Continental Drift.” He shows off his talent of being able to convey his characters well and the emotions they feel. His voice is soft and clear during his many lives as the dogs.

The human actors are obviously better than adequate, but the dogs are the real show stoppers. They help carry the plot along with their cute behavior making the audience forget how cheesy the plot is. The talent to have the audience feel attached to many animals in a short period of time proves that Hallström is strong with manipulating audience emotions.

The film’s box office numbers were hit when a video was released by TMZ before the film was released, showing behind the scenes of one of the dogs being abused. This lead to the video becoming viral and PETA and many others boycotted the movie. Later it was found that the video was edited to make it look like the dog was being abused. The film’s budget was $22 million and in box office number was $56.4 million, which is a little more than double the budget.

When audience members get home they will want to give their pet a little extra love after seeing that Bailey was always loyal to the person he is with. We as the audience see how letting a dog into our life and heart could bring happiness to oneself.

“A Dog’s Purpose” 3/5

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Hallström yanks dog lovers’ chains