Based on a novel by W. Bruce Cameron, this family-friendly adventure stars Bella, a sweet dog on a treacherous journey to find her way home.
Puppy Bella (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard) lives under a house in Denver, Colorado with a bunch of cats. The house is ready for demolition when Lucas (Jonah Hauer-King), a nice guy who lives across the street with his mother Terri (Ashley Judd), adopts the lively puppy.
Bella thrives on Lucas’ attention and the rambunctious puppy turns into a loyal companion to both Lucas and Terri.
He teaches her tricks and she makes him laugh. Other than the time when Lucas is at work, the two are inseparable.
Pitbulls are banned in Denver and as Bella is a pitbull-mix, she is targeted by the animal control officers. Terri, an Army vet, hides the dog at the VA Center where she has therapy sessions. The other Vets fall in love with the frisky dog and she brings a lot of joy into their lives.
In order to keep Bella from being picked up and impounded by an officer that has zeroed in on her, Lucas sends the dog to stay with his girlfriend’s family in New Mexico, She’s content at her new house, but misses her family and breaks out to head for home.
It’s an often dangerous 400 mile trek. Along the way, she encounters a pack of wolves, an avalanche, and a young bobcat that she befriends. The use of CGI is obvious, but doesn’t detract from the story.
Director Charles Martin Smith (A Dolphin’s Tale) tells a good story. Ashley Judd has a small role as the smart adult in the room, and Jonah Hauer-King is a charismatic young actor with a terrific smile. But, there’s no confusion here, Bella is the real star.