Hachi: A Dog’s Tale DVD Review: Richard Gere Hooked On Puppy Love

Switching it up from his more familiar fascinations on screen with hooker romance in movies like Pretty Woman, American Gigolo and his current turn in Brooklyn’s Finest, Richard Gere gets into a very different kind of infatuation, pursuing puppy love in the man’s best friend family drama, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. And no stranger to mutt movies, this is Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom’s second foray into that realm, along with his 1985 canine/kid buddy bonding venture, My Life As A Dog.

Richard Gere is Parker Wilson in this story based on a popular 1987 Japanese film, a suburban Rhode Island professor and commuting Dashing Dan, who finds a stray Akita puppy roaming around his train station one winter night. When the grouchy ticket booth clerk (Jason Alexander) refuses to assume responsibility, Parker rather reluctantly takes the irresistible pooch home to his disapproving wife, Cate (Joan Allen). Though she eventually relents after observing Parker’s enormous attachment to the lost and found pet, as man and beast munch on popcorn over baseball games on TV, frolic together on all fours in the backyard, and unfortunately fail to corner an uncooperative skunk in the garage.

Far more than your basic furry love story, Hachi – a name attached to the dog’s collar and linked to his distant origins at a Japanese Shogun monastery – touches on the uncommon loyalty of pooches for people, a devotion that has a lesson or two in store for more often than not fickle humans. Even more amazing, is that this heroic tale is all true, based on the life of an actual dog in 1920s Tokyo who never forgot or ceased to await the arrival of his homo sapien master, even years after their separation. And for whom a bronze statue exists at that corresponding Tokyo railroad station in question.

My only pet peeve with Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, is the excruciatingly annoying musical score that never let’s up in tugging mercilessly at viewer heartstrings, when the more than sufficiently poignant narrative speaks for itself. A substitute barking soundtrack would have been more pleasing to the ears.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Rated G

3 stars

DVD Features Include: Behind The Scenes Featurette: Stay: The Tale of Making Hachi; A Bond of Loyalty: The Making of Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.

Blu-ray Extras: BD-Live; MovieIQ: Access to continuously updated information on cast and crew, and relevant trivia such as production facts, music and soundtrack information all tied to scenes within the movie.

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.