Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hachi ~ My overdue movie review

In full disclosure I am slightly jaded based on my own experiences. For instance, many commercials lately like to use images of dogs with their heads sticking out car windows into the wind with a blissful look on their faces. And I think most people see that image and think; Awww how cute, look at the happy dog! I see the same image and think OH MY GOD WATCH OUT FOR HIS EYES!!!! But I do work at a vets office so perhaps that is an extreme example.

Spoiler alert! If you don't already know what the movie is about, or how it ends, this is not the review for you to read. No complaining because you were warned.

I finally sat down and watched Hachi, the new Americanized remake of the Hachiko story staring Richard Gere. They did a good job with it. I cried. Of course that is hard not to do with that story. True there were some very unbelievable parts in it. In this country that dog would have been in rescue faster than you could have said, "look there's a loose akita in the same place every day" for instance. No responsible owner would have let the dog loose TO make his own decisions like the one in the movie either. And certainly a loose akita would wreak some serious havoc in a neighborhood if left to his own devices. But belief has to be suspended for many movies. This one is no different.

For me the sad part is the true story behind the movie. This actually happened many years ago in Japan. And while I understand times were different then, I find it reprehensible that no one could take the dog in. (which is how it was portrayed in the original Japanese version which I have) Living for 10 years as a stray just doesn't seem like a very comfortable life to me.

So for what it was, a story about a dog left on his own to mourn a missing owner, it is ok. Have your tissues ready. I even liked some of the effects they did from the dogs eye view. And they did explain a little about what an akita is and isn't. "They don't play fetch. They're not that kind of dog." (Nobody told my last akita that however.)

I liked the special features about training the dogs for the movie. Not sure why they didn't use actual akita puppies for the pup in the beginning. (tho the shibas were adorable!) And the make-up job they did on the dog for the last scene was amazing. I disliked where the dog lived in the movie. A real akita would have been very lonely out there. They prefer to be WITH their family. But I suppose that is a detail like when cops watch action movies, they count the bullets and know which shoot outs aren't realistic.

If nothing else it is a charming movie about a man and his dog with some beautiful akitas to watch. (even tho Gere's character is a Yankees fan, bleck VBG) For those that take this historical story about one akita as an example of how loyal the whole breed is, get a grip. All dogs are individuals and while the breed is known for being territorial and possessive of it's people, loyalty doesn't come without bonding and fair training. You have to earn that loyalty. Setting boundaries is also very important for akitas which is why this isn't a breed for everyone.

The jury is out on the effect this movie may have on akita rescue and back yard breeders looking to cash in. While the dogs are beautiful in the movie I think some people may realize they aren't for them based on some of what they say in the movie. Tho they show a dog that isn't realistic in other ways so it may be a wash. Who knows, only time will tell. Fingers crossed.

***Possession is NOT protection because protection implies there is a threat to the person. If there is no threat and a dog attacks a person simply for being near you then you have a problem, not a loyal dog.


Donna Brinkworth said...

Thanks for this review! I had asked on Facebook if anyone could let me know what they thought, but got no responses (a while ago). I will probably rent it now. I love your blog, by the way! Donna over at Spiritdance dog blog.

Marie said...

Thank you! I am so flattered! The internet really makes the world smaller doesn't it? I love your blog too!