A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Teamwork and perseverance.
Positive Role Models
Kids show how resourceful they can be when they get lost in the woods in search of their blind father. One of the lead characters is blind, having lost his vision while serving in Afghanistan.
Violence & Scariness
Some peril throughout. The captain of a transport boat loses consciousness, causing the boat to nearly crash into land and killing a blind passenger and his dog. After the boat crash, the blind man is shown bleeding from the forehead. While in the woods, a man is attacked by a wolf. The wolf is beaten back by the person who accompanied the man on the search in the woods for a missing blind man and his dog. A brother and sister get lost in the woods while searching for their blind father and his dog. They soon lose their camping supplies and must find a way to find food and water.
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Mild name-calling between siblings ("lame-o").
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hero Dog: The Journey Home is a 2021 adventure in which a blind man must find his way home with the help of an Alaskan Malamute after a boating accident leaves him stranded. This blind man and his dog try to navigate a thick forest by themselves and fall into some danger as the man, already shown bleeding from his forehead after the boating accident, gets a leg trapped under a log. A man is attacked by a wolf and suffers an injury before the wolf is beaten back with a stick. The blind man's son and daughter sneak off from their house to find their dad, but then get lost themselves. They soon lose their camping gear and must fend for themselves and find their own food. Some name-calling between the siblings, like "lame-o." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a heavy-handed adventure story about a dog in the wild, but kids will probably enjoy it. It's the story of a man who lost his vision while serving his country in Afghanistan who now must find a way to navigate the deepest of woods after the captain of the boat that was to take him back to his family loses consciousness and leaves him far from home, with only an Alaskan Malamute named Chinook to get him home. There's plenty of the requisite peril -- everything from mountain lions to wolves to merciless rocks and rapids, and if that's not enough, the son and daughter of the lead character soon become lost themselves after they try to use their camping skills to do what the helicopters, planes, and walkie talkies of the search party cannot do. But no matter. Chinook is preternaturally gifted at orienteering, and knows when to bark when the danger to the humans is especially eminent.
The lead character is not only blind, but he has also lost his wife to cancer two years ago. He works a job in "the city" now that the local mine has closed. Also, his son resents his dad for taking the job because that means they're going to move to the big city, and the son wants to continue to enjoy his life in the great outdoors. It's already a lot, so it seems a bit much to also have to face off against a rabid mountain lion with nothing but a flare gun and a big dog. It's clearly in the tradition of the older Disney movies with gifted pets who rescue their grateful human counterparts, but it really doesn't do anything new with that tried-and-true formula. Still, dog lovers will enjoy seeing a heroic dog do his thing.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.