Far From Home - The Adventures Of Yellow Dog Reviews
Set in today's Pacific Northwest, a young teen by the name of Angus (Jesse Bradford) falls for a lovable mutt that wanders on to the property one day. With a combination of manners, rambunctiousness and loyalty, the dog soon works his way into the family's hearts. Thus, when father and son take to the sea to deliver some supplies down the coast, Yellow Dog comes along.
An unexpected storm capsizes the modest craft, leaving Angus and Yellow to fare for themselves until help comes. Well versed in survival practices, the pair manage quite well for the first few days after reaching shore. But when the rescue party fails to materialize after many days, the choice is made to strike out on their own for home. The resulting trip is a grueling and tiring trek; laden with confrontation and disappointment.
Writer/director Phillip Borsos has an easy style that tells his story economically. He touches on a lot of bases; covering family life, young love, wilderness adventure and the power of nature. Despite his capable hand, his story seems like a hodge-podge of scenes from past films. The basic premise draws direct comparisons to Disney's ``Old Yeller'', while the numerous adventures are distilled from any number of similar stories.
The oddest thing about the film is the way in which the high points, ie. thrills, repeatedly build to a peak without any resolution. Dangers faced appear and disappear without any real purpose other than to provide something for the advertisers to put in their commercials.
This makes the film tame enough for kids (PG rating), but leaves the story drawn out and unexplained at times. If it weren't for the praiseworthy values embodied by the family's struggle and the rugged beauty of Canada's British Columbia coast, this would be a real snoozer for adults.
Bruce Davison and Mimi Rogers offer great support as the refreshingly wholesome, loving parents: a dad who actually spends time teaching his boys crafts, and a mom who displays strength and intelligence without being a corporate business woman.
At under an hour and a half, this should be a good matinee film for children. Teens will probably find little to cheer about in the action department as the dangers are quite tame, but hopefully they will find the old-fashioned life depicted a pleasant change from the gang-banging culture so prevalent in contemporary stories. It will definitely remind parents of another age.
A very young Jesse Bradford (who eventually went on to parts in films including Bring it On, Flags of Our Fathers and I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell) is excellent in the role of Angus, an intelligent teen down on his luck when his boat capsizes, leaving him lost at sea. Fortunately, his experience growing up in the wilderness has taught him a thing or two about survival. Not only that, the stray dog his family recently took in happens to be along, too! Day after day the boy and his dog struggle to get by; living off the little food they brought and scavenging for more, sleeping on whatever they can find and escaping the constant threat of predators (particularly wolves). They know their loving family and a devoted search team is looking for them. But can their survival skills keep them going until their rescue team brings them to safety?
A nicely done film that most will enjoy, Bradfordâ(TM)s courage and maturity for a tough role elevate this one to great heights and his companionship with the dog (whose name is âYellowâ?) is first rate. Seems to borrow themes from stories like Shiloh and Hatchet, but still a nice addition to the family flick collection. Also the last film for director Philip Borsos, who died of Leukemia the same year. Not to be confused with the 1989 thriller, Far From Home (starring Drew Barrymore). Filmed in British Columbia.
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