Solid, entertaining movie, suitable for young and old. It's the new E.T. (so many similarities) with a dash of The Goonies (my all time fave). Great use of classic horror techniques where NOT showing something is scarier than showing it, without going overboard on the suspense. The story was intriguing and interesting, AND complete. About half way through I felt myself really getting into it, and I prepared myself for a disappointing ending....and then I remembered--this is NOT a Stephen King movie, I don't have to do that! :P
Book was awesome. Movie was boring. They focused on the part in the book that felt somewhat contrived--you know, the "what I learned from my dog year..." part--and left out most of the cute dog stories! The book was more similar to the movie Marley & Me--cute, funny and enjoyable. This movie was short, boring and pointless....
I watched some of this on TCM. Check out the cast, I love Vincent Price as the old school sinister villain. The arguments for and against mankind are of course matched (people are good sometimes/ways and bad sometimes/ways) but the movie obviously favors the good side. To its credit, the movie manages to NOT come off as ultra-Christian, despite it being a story all about judging the morality of people's actions, complete with the devil as the bad guy.
What really interested me about this film was the similarities to Defending Your Life (one of my faves!) Albert Brooks must have seen this. I'm a little disappointed to think of my fave afterlife courtroom depiction as being inspired by a concept already imagined in the 50s!