Roger Ebert’s 1993 review of HOMEWARD BOUND: THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY is one of the most delightful things to read. He begins by expressing his distaste for the genre of talking-animal films. However, through the course of the film, he realizes he is enjoying himself. He remarks, “frankly [the film is] designed for kids, and yet it has a certain craftsmanship and an undeniable charm, and if you find yourself watching it with a child you may end up liking it almost as much.”
The story of HOMEWARD BOUND is simple enough: Two dogs and a cat believe their owner has left them and might be in danger, so they trek through some scenic landscapes to find him. The “charm” Ebert refers to comes at the animals’ charactertizations. They are given such distinctive personalities that they begin to feel more real and complex than characters in some contemporary mainstream films.
Michael J. Fox provides the voice of Chance, a brash and adventurous American bulldog. Sally Field voices Sassy, a Himalayan cat with a sarcastic sense of humor. Shadow, the Golden Retriever is voiced by Don Ameche, an actor and radio host who uses the range of his voice to lend wisdom to the most memorable character in the film.
HOMEWARD BOUND is a feel-good film that, as proved by Ebert’s review, can persuade even the most cynical viewer into seeing its merits.
— Diana Martinez, Film Streams Education Director