Hachi: A Dog’s Tale

hachi-a-dogs-tale-2009-photo3_thumbA family drama with a decent cast and one of the most adorable dogs in film history, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is perfect for anyone that understands that bond of undying love between a four legged friend and its owner and is a beautifully heart rending little film.

Based on a true story, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is about a college professor who finds an abandoned dog and forms an unconditional bond after bringing him into his home. When no one comes forward to claim Hachi, Parker Wilson (Richard Gere) manages to persuade his less-than-convinced wife to keep the dog and he becomes a valued and loved member of the family.

The cutest little popcorn stealer ever
The cutest little popcorn stealer ever

Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is a remake of the Japanese film Hachi-kō released in 1987 and like many true story films has been hugely Americanised. The titular Hachi-kō, a gorgeous Akita Inu, was found at a train station in Tokyo by a professor at the nearby University of Tokyo and waited for him every day at the same station until long after his master’s death. His immense loyalty and love for his adoptive owner has become something of a legend. It is unfortunate that the original Japanese film is so difficult to get hold of, the authenticity of the 2009 remake is tainted by the Americanised cast, setting and overall style.

Although Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is a beautiful family film with a decent cast and a tear-jerking true story the film plays out almost as a montage with no real substance or plot to it. It’s very slow moving with no real direction to begin with and although it has a poetic feel about it, it is ultimately very strange. It’s difficult to say just through HACHIKO-001researching the true story how accurate this film is and how true it is to the original film adaption but it’s a very raw, heart warming portrayal of a dog and its owner and the actors do a brilliant job. A Japanese dog, not just by location of birth but by breed too, finding its way to an American station and an American family is all too convenient though and a more realistic setting would benefit the film. It feels like a bit of a desperate stab at taking yet another successful Asian film and making it American lest the poor American audience should have to try and understand something from a different culture; this comes from the country that demanded the badgers in 101 Dalmatians be turned into skunks and racoons, despite the London setting of the film, because the kids of America ‘wouldn’t understand the badgers’.

Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is a beautifully shot film, poetic in pace and completely adorable. It’s one of those loveable films that hachikodespite it’s flaws you couldn’t possibly hate. The canine actor is the star of the show, rightly so, and his on-screen bond with Richard Gere is so believable it makes the end of the film that much sadder. Despite being totally Americanised it is a decent portrayal of the story and not a corny Hollywood mess as you might expect, it has a warm and realistically raw feel to it. The perfect film for dog lovers, and one that will make you want to drag your dog over for a big cuddle at the end.

As a family drama Hachi: A Dog’s Tale hits all the right notes. The dog is adorable, the story is heartwarming and the acting is decent too. It’s nothing particularly special and it’s merely a ‘nice’ film, 03_hachi_bluraynothing more and nothing less. It’s a shame the original Japanese film isn’t quite as easily accessible, and it’s a shame the whole thing has been Americanised like many true story films are, but for a harmless, cute bit of family entertainment you can’t possibly go wrong with this one. Although you may need tissues.

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6 thoughts on “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale

  1. Just caught it this evening on an unknown channel. Yes, it was “nothing special”, but damn, if my wife were not in the room, I would be bawling my eyes out.

    I’m a sucker for simple respect, un-conditional love and endless devotion. Forget the esoteric film review and absorb the human and pet interaction. This world needs more simple relationships like this.

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    1. There are many far better films than this out there.
      I did cry while watching the film (I’m the most ridiculous softie when it comes to dogs and after losing mine I’ve always been a sucker for these films and never managed to watch one without bawling my eyes out) but I still took a step back and looked at it objectively like every film reviewer does and should.

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  2. Wow, that’s easy. The critic here goes on and on about how the Americanized version is anything but great: “Although Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is a beautiful family film with a decent cast and a tear-jerking true story the film plays out almost as a montage with no real substance or plot to it. It’s very slow moving with no real direction to begin with and although it has a poetic feel about it, it is ultimately very strange. It’s difficult to say just through researching the true story how accurate this film is and how true it is to the original film adaption “. Lady, what exactly are you looking for, or expecting out of this film if research alone is not enough. If you meant something else, care to elaborate?

    And, did you (the critic) say, “no real substance”?

    What about this film strikes you as “strange”?

    Could you also speak to your skills / experience / qualification for criticism of this film’s direction?

    Also, the Japanese version is easily available on youtube *since sometime after this article*. That said, unless someone has access to all historic youtube data, it is hard to categorically say that there was *never* any video of the original Japanese film, Hachiko.

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    1. “The critic here” you’re obviously New to this site. This is a personal website, a labour of love in fact, and although I have a degree in media production and have written in the entertainment sections of several websites over the years I am not and do not ever consider myself a critic. You can get lost with comments like this and take them elsewhere, I can’t even be bothered to get into a discussion, this was a review I wrote quite some time ago. I don’t care if you agree with my point of view or not to be honest, that’s not why I write and that’s not what this site is about. If you’re new to WordPress and don’t write a WordPress blog yourself then you may not understand it, but I don’t write this site as an actual website, I single handedly made this site a long time ago because it was a passion. I have a job, and I’ve never made any money from my writing although I have done some pretty awesome things off the back of it and it’s been a pleasure and great fun too. People who read my blog know all this, and they’re who I write for (well, used to…I no longer write really because my actual job is demanding and I don’t find the time anymore). I’ve not once called myself a critic or claimed to be one, but if my blog looks good enough to be mistaken that way then I guess I’m flattered! I stand by how I felt about the film at the time, even though I can now only vaguely remember the damn thing. Maybe if I was a critic and if I made money from my writing I’d satisfy you with a real discussion and a real explanation for my thoughts on the film, but this site has taken a lot of time and effort and, aside from the satisfaction of gaining a few readers, followers and friends in the WordPress community, has given me nothing in return…because of this I can’t be bothered, I’m too tired and I don’t even write on this sodding website anymore, but hey….thanks for mistaking me for a critic! If my writing ruffled your feathers enough to warrant a comment like this then I must have done something right! Now get off my blog

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