Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog
"Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog," captures the beauty and danger of the wilderness in this tale of a boy and his dog. Fourteen-year-old Angus McCormick (Jesse Bradford) lives an idyllic life in rural Washington State with his parents (Bruce Davison and Mimi Rogers), brother and dog, Yellow. Angus, the older son, has the privilege of accompanying his father on a boat trip up the Canadian coast. Father, son and dog are onboard when a storm capsizes the vessel. The father is saved by the Coast Guard, but Angus and Yellow are swept away in their lifeboat. They land on a deserted island where the boy hopes to be seen by rescuers. After days of waiting, Angus decides to hike twenty miles to a lighthouse where he might be able to summon help.
The route to the lighthouse proves treacherous. Angus and Yellow must fight for survival. They find shelter where they can and eat what is available, even bugs and worms. A bobcat threatens the pair. At one point, Yellow tries to cross a deep ravine, falls into a river below and becomes lost in the woods. After much travail in the wilds, the film ends on a happy note.
The theme of a boy and his dog has great appeal to children. Dogs can help children with their emotional growth by supplying unconditional love and being a recipient of the child's love. Many children have experienced those feelings toward a pet and can identify with Angus. Given that the boy is alone in a potentially hostile environment, Yellow's presence gives Angus the emotional support that he needs.
Adolescents will be drawn to the theme of an adolescent proving himselfcapable of survival without his parents' or any adults' help. The search for identity and separation from parents is a developmental task of adolescence. Angus's strength in the face of adversity and his ultimate survival gives the impression of an initiation rite into adulthood. He proves himself to be not only capable, but adept. He courageously faces his difficult situation, using intelligence and creativity to forge ahead. Although not literally lost in the wilderness, adolescents face the challenging and sometimes burdensome task of finding their own way in this complex society. This film gives them the message that they, like Angus, have the resources to succeed.
Some children under 7 years-old might be frightened by the threatening bobcat, for animal attacks are a common fear of young children. It would be helpful for parents to prepare those very young children for that scene and reassure them that there will be a happy ending. "Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog" gets its drama from a boy and his dog encountering the wilderness, not from guns and violence. Yes, this is another good film for most kids.
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