Genre: family, adventure, animals
My Rating: **
Official Rating: PG for some violence, language, thematic material, and brief smoking
Age Group: 8+
Summary: Nine-year-old Ryann is visiting her grandfather in Montana since her parents are off enjoying Europe. Ryann does not want to be in Montana. At all. How is she supposed to keep up her appearance and act like the popular girls at school if she's in Montana where there is no TV and no mall?
When an injured dog-wolf wanders into her grandfather's barn, Ryann is introduced to a whole new world: dog sledding. In a desperate attempt to keep the dog (named Buck by Ryann) from a cruel dog sledder, Ryann and the teenage neighbor boy train Buck to be a lead dog. If they can win a dog sled race, they can keep Buck. If they can't, well, Buck goes to the man who is cruel to his son and his dogs.
Can they win the race? Can Buck overcome his wolf side?
Word of Warning
- Ryann is rude to her grandfather.
- A man yells at his son for losing a race and says that the son embarrassed him in front of the whole town. Later, he tells his son he is stupid and tells him to cheat in a dog race. The father makes the son ride in the back of his pickup. He says to the boy, "If you don't win, you don't bother coming home."
- Someone makes one of my favorite innocent movie insults: shouldn't you be at home having a heart attack?
- Mention of ghosts.
- A man beats a dog with a club in a veiled scene that implies it happens but we never see the stick hit the dog.
- The word "cuss."
- A myth is told of a man who is apparently an escaped convict, catches rabbits with his hands and eats them raw, and eats rocks. These are just rumors and the grandfather assures Ryann that he has never hurt anyone.
- Someone threatens to have a dog put down.
- Jack sprains his ankle (minor) in a minor sled crash. This sled crash causes the kids to be stranded for about five minutes.
- A man apparently dies from a beating. This does not happen in the movie, but in a book the grandfather is reading to Ryann. There is a scene shown of a man sprawled in the snow but nothing else.
- A quick kiss on the cheek.
- A dog attacks a man (the man is uninjured).
All things considered, that list is pretty short. So why the low rating? For a few reasons, one of which is that I simply did not find the story line very interesting (isn't this the same story line we get for every animal movie involving a semi-wild pet?). The other is the quality. I don't mind a low budget movie--as long as the acting is decent. I don't even mean good. I just mean decent, and preferably with an original story line (only the films that have lots of funding can get away with a stupid story line that's been done a million times).
Ok. So I don't mean to make it sound awful. My younger siblings enjoy it, and quite honestly, it is aimed at their age group and not mine. Usually I enjoy their movies. This one was tolerable. But aside from the fact that I didn't enjoy it very much, the content itself was pretty clean.
So in short: it was fine. Not something I would rewatch, and not something I would have watched if I were not on break. But not painful and something I regret either.