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Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey


This 1993 family hit is the second adaptation of Sheila Burnford's book about two dogs and a cat who must trek across America to find the family that owns them.

Disney first adapted it in 1963, during the height of their 'Animal' era, but this time around they've given the animals voices. Their mouths don't move, Babe-style, but we hear their thoughts and communications through recognisable actors' voices.

There's an aging Golden Retriever named Shadow (voiced by Don Ameche), a bulldog pup named Chance (Michael J. Fox) and a Persian cat named Sassy (Sally Field).

When their owners move across country, they leave the pets in the care of a neighbour, who promptly dumps them on another friend. The animals then set out to find their original family, and must trek across the treacherous Northwestern wilderness, where they face snakes, lions, bears and waterfalls.

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey effectively balances cuteness with the adventure and nature aspects, providing a beautiful-looking film that will enrapture kids and charm adults, especially the animal-loving ones.

But the film was held back for release for a year after production, and underwent much re-tooling and re-scripting. Originally, the animals were voiced by Donald Sutherland, Jon Cryer and Annie Potts, but the other actors were brought in to up the emotion, apparently.

Usually this kind of post-production re-tooling is a bad harbinger for any movie, but in this rare instance the film appears to have benefited from it, coming out just right.

Interestingly, the film's director Duwayne Dunham was a protégé of David Lynch. He edited Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart (and, er, Return of the Jedi) and directed several episodes of Twin Peaks.


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