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Hachi: A Dog's Tale – Blu-Ray Review | Inside Pulse

Hachi: A Dog's Tale – Blu-Ray Review

Everybody loves a good tearjerker every now and then. While the men scoff at female tearjerkers such as Steel Magnolias or The Notebook, they too enjoy one every once in awhile (see Brian Song or Rudy). But usually what does it for even the most testosterone fueled male is a story about man’s loyal best friend. If you get a guy in the right situation, I’m sure he would confess to getting a little misty-eyed at Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, or even one of the old Lassie or Benji movies. The DVD release of Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, hokey colon-ized title aside, should come equipped with a box of Kleenex.

Based on the true story of a Japanese man and his dog HachikĹŤ, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is about a man Parker Wilson who discovers a dog in the train station one day on his daily commute from the university where he teaches. Unable to find an owner for the dog, Parker takes the dog home for the night, determined to find him a home the next day. His wife opposes at first, but as the dog stays with them longer and longer, she begins to notice the strong bond that is forming between Hachi – the name on the dog’s collar – and Parker and Hachi soon becomes a part of the family. Every day when Parker leaves for work, Hachi grows restless in the backyard and often breaks out to say goodbye to him at the station before he leaves for work, and then stays to wait there so he can greet Parker after work.

One day after saying goodbye to Hachi and going to work, Parker suffers from a stroke and dies in the classroom (this isn’t giving anything away, the trailer shows this). Hachi doesn’t know this though, and continues to wait for him at the station. Parker’s wife moves out of the house that they shared, and her newly married daughter takes Hachi to live with her. Hachi still breaks out of the backyard and runs to the station so that he can wait for Parker. For ten years, Hachi waits at the station until he himself finally expires in the exact spot where he waited so long.

While it’s always great to see Richard Gere, Joan Allen, and Jason Alexander, the true star of this film is Hachi. Director Lasse Hallström even goes so far as to shoot plenty of scenes using doggie vision, and filmed in black and white. This special touch really gives the audience insight into the way this remarkable dog viewed the world and his master. All making the ending just that much more heartbreaking.

Hachi: A Dog’s Tale probably should have had a theatrical run, and could have been very successful after the box office success of Marley & Me. After all, how often have we seen direct to DVD releases of movies directed by Academy Award nominated Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, Chocolat) and starring Golden Globe winner Richard Gere (Chicago) and Academy Award nominated Joan Allen (The Contender)? This is one of the most touching movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a shame it didn’t get more recognition. The G rating is almost unheard of nowadays, as even animated movies get PG ratings for foul humor. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is an old-fashioned story of loyalty, there should be more movies like this. Just keep the Kleenex handy.

Presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio with Dolby Digital sound. This doesn’t necessarily look like Blu-ray quality, but that doesn’t take anything away from the movie watching experience.

A Bond of Loyalty – The Making of Hachi: A Dog’s Tale – Generic making of featurette, with interviews with the cast and crew, also with information about the true story. (17:50)

Movie IQ – The film can be viewed with or without Movie IQ, pop up trivia.

TrailersOpen Season 3, Planet 51

When I first saw the trailer for Hachi: A Dog’s Tale before the DVD of Bright Star, I thought it would be released into direct to DVD oblivion. But thankfully, this DVD release has been given plenty of press and high praise. Entertainment Weekly gave the film an A- and lots of space in their latest magazine. If you are a fan of man’s best friend movies, Hachi is not to be missed. And thanks to the G rating, it’s one you can enjoy with the entire family.

Sony Pictures presents Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. Directed by: Lasse Hallström. Starring: Richard Gere, Joan Allen, Jason Alexander. Written by: Kaneto Shindo, Stephen P. Lindsey. Running time: 93 minutes. Rating: G. Released on DVD: March 9, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.

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