Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
G
Entertainment: +4
Acceptability: +3 1/2

When Bob Seaver (Robert Hays) marries Laura, he gets three children and their associated pets. The youngest has a bulldog named Chance (voiced by Michael J. Fox) who narrates the story. The middle girl has a Himalayan cat, Sassy (voiced by Sally Fields) and the oldest boy has a retriever, Shadow (voiced by Don Ameche). The family must move to San Francisco for a short time and leave the pets at an aunt's ranch. For the rambunctious pup, Chance, the chicken coop is a playhouse until he meets a protective turkey he calls Birdzilla. Shadow, the older dog, tries to teach Chance the way a dog should behave. Sassy, like her name, is often trading insults with Chance. When the aunt leaves for a short time to move horses, Shadow feels something is wrong and decides it's time to go home. Sassy follows him over the fence; Chance follows when chased by Birdzilla. The challenge facing the trio is to cross part of the Sierra Madre mountains guided only by Shadow's instincts. There are humorous encounters with skunks, trying to teach Chance patience in fishing, and a tense moment when Sassy is swept over a waterfall. Thinking Sassy is gone, Shadow and Chance carry on. Chance begins to learn from Shadow the characteristics that make him "man's best friend." Together, they outsmart a mountain lion. Rejoined by Sassy, who was rescued by a naturalist, they rescue a little girl lost in the forest, escape from the Park Ranger's pound, and find their hometown. But the biggest obstacle is getting across the train yard near home. The combination of humorous antics and dialogue with plenty of action and suspense make HOMEWARD BOUND a winner with viewers of all ages.

This remake of Walt Disney's 1963 original INCREDIBLE JOURNEY is an excellent family film. The story is seen and told from a pet's eye view. Animals have been used since Aesop's fables to teach moral stories and there are several in this tale. Shadow displays the characteristics we would like to see in our friends; loyalty, courage, and tolerance. Chance learns to temper his enthusiasm with a little wisdom and respect the elder Shadow. Sassy grudgingly admits that even Chance has redeeming features. The family in the film also learns a little about giving the new step-dad a chance. There is less violence than in the original film. The dogs are threatened by bears and a mountain lion, but do not fight them. A humorous launching of Sassy by Chance using a seesaw as a "cat-apult" leads to a similar act when the dogs confront a Puma. There are some moments which could disturb younger children, such as when Sassy struggles in the river before being swept over the falls. Also, Chance gets porcupine quills in his muzzle and Shadow is hurt when he falls in a muddy ditch. There are also a few moderate crudities referring to dogs marking trees, animal droppings, and a slang term for posterior is used by Sassy and Chance. We heartily recommend this film for the whole family with the caution for younger children.

Preview Reviewer: Paul R. Bicking
Distributor: Buena Vista Distribution Co., 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521

Summary
Crude Language: Few times - Moderate (references to dog markings and animal droppings; slang term for posterior)
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Several times - Moderate (dogs threatened by bears and lions; guard knocked down by dogs.)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: None
Running Time:
Intended Audience:

Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (www.previeoOnline.org)