By: Addison Wylie
Parents: if you feel your child is too old for those Air Bud movies but too young for Wild America and Alaska, that happy medium you’re looking for can be found in The Journey Home.
A boy named Luke (played by Dakota Goyo) attempts to reunite a lost polar bear to its mother by travelling across perilous, icy terrain through flurries of snowstorms and over ice caps. The polar bear (which is eventually given the name Peezo) doesn’t have one of those computer-generated mouths, but it collects a quota of cuteness by tumbling around, jumping off snowmelts, and wrestling with Luke. There are moments where it looks as if the bear is attempting to gnaw on the actor’s hands and arms, which unintentionally reminded me of a junior version of Noel Marshall’s Roar. That’s morbid – I apologize.
Anyways, there’s not much more to say about The Journey Home. It can be easily summed up in my introduction. It’s slightly more mature than most family fare, but some of the overacting brings the film back down to a childish territory. Linda Kash, a competent actress I last saw in Servitude and Moon Point, is oddly the hammiest of them all. Goyo also has to awkwardly interact with the polar bear, which produces some strained emotion and humour for the audience.
Parents will roll their eyes a lot, but will find the film’s nature footage impressively shot. It’s to no surprise co-director Brando Quilici (who was in charge of the high arctic scenes) has experience on a number of educational documentaries – he’s very good at his job. Co-director Roger Spottiswoode, on the other hand, settles for some poor special effects. The errors are minor, but its enough to pull us out of a scene and question if what we’re watching was a last minute reshoot in front of a green screen.
The Journey Home is all about pleasing kids though – which it does decently. The youngins will see Luke and his polar bear and be wrapped up in their story. They won’t care that the movie is twenty minutes too long.