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Movie review: ‘A Dog’s Purpose’

Dennis Quaid, right, bonds with a much-reincarnated friend

Dennis Quaid, right, bonds with a much-reincarnated friend in "A Dog's Purpose." Credit: Universal Pictures / Joe Lederer

Recently, we went to Manhattan to see the movie “A Dog’s Purpose.” It was amazing. We all cried at some moment, others more than the rest. It was dramatic and exciting. In all, it was a great film. Anyone with a heart will cry during this movie, so bring your tissues.

The movie takes place in a small rural town. A boy named Ethan finds a puppy and instantly falls in love with it. He asks his parents if he can keep the dog and they reluctantly let him keep it. He names the dog Bailey, and a strong bond is forged between the boy and his dog. Ethan meets a girl named Hannah and they hang out for a long time. Later in the movie, Bailey saves Ethan but when Ethan goes to college he leaves Bailey and Hannah behind. Bailey dies while Ethan is at college and becomes another dog, Ellie.

The movie is a story of Bailey’s life — the life he leads in other dogs’ bodies. Throughout the movie, the audience is taken along on one dog’s journey to find its purpose.

In the next life, Bailey, now Ellie, still wondering why a dog is on Earth and what the meaning of life is, has become a female dog. The purpose for that life is to be part of the K-9 unit. Carlos is in charge of Ellie. Ellie saves her owner’s life but at a cost; the dog dies.

He is reborn again, this time as a corgi named Tino. He belongs to a lonely college student named Maya. He also is able to “read his owner’s mind” when she wants a type of food. He goes to the dog park and falls in love with another dog named Roxy. His owner runs into the owner of Roxy. The owners eventually get married and have kids. When they have kids, the owners make a choice to put Roxy down. Without Roxy, Tino is very depressed. He eventually passes away.

He is born again and is named Waffles by his owners. They leave him outside in the cold for years. Eventually they get rid of Waffles. The man leaves him at train tracks. Waffles goes to a dog park and smells a familiar scent. He notices he is back in the rural area he originally lived in. He tracks Ethan to his house. His presence there changes the course of Ethan’s adult life, eventually helping him to live a more satisfying and happy life.

The film has a great message at the end. Your dog is there for you no matter what, and will always love you. Dogs are meant to entertain you and love you; that is their purpose. If you are alone, then a dog would be there to comfort you. Following the many lives of one dog in this film was a unique style of storytelling. After watching this movie, you will never look at your dog, or any dog, the same way.

The cast of this film did a phenomenal job. Josh Gad was the voice of the dogs, and he did a stupendous job. Viewers could really relate to the dog Bailey’s character, largely in part due to Gad’s ability to be the dog in this film. Dennis Quaid did an amazing job playing the older version of Ethan. Though his time in the film is short, his effect on the audience is lasting. You can feel his pain and enjoy his happiness.

Bryce Gheisar played young Ethan and did a good job as well. Girls will love him, and guys will love young Hannah. Most of the main leads did a great job acting and playing the role. The entire cast did an amazing job overall.

This movie was a great film, and we rate it five Baileys out of five.

Read our interview with Dennis Quaid, who stars as the older Ethan, online: newsday.com/kidsday

We met actor Dennis Quaid, who stars as Ethan in the movie “A Dog’s Purpose,” at the Sirius XM Radio offices in Manhattan recently. He talked to us about his role in the film and the controversy surrounding the alleged abuse of a dog on the movie set.

Do you have any comments about the video with the dog?

Yes. That video was a scam and it is a shame, actually. It’s a shame that people would do something like this for money. That is what this person did. He shot this video and he edited it and he manipulated it. He waited 15 months until the movie was coming out, and then he sold it toTMZ. If he was so concerned about dogs, why didn’t he come out the very next day? I was on the set, and I would not be on the set -- I would walk off if an animal or people who would be abused. I saw all the footage that was shot that day and talked to the people that were there, and I wouldn’t be out here promoting the movie and supporting it if I had felt that the animal had been abused.

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