A Review by Gatsby the WSF mascot
Some people have described Max as heartwarming and colorful, but I could have sworn I saw it in black and white – maybe it’s just me. To be perfectly honest, this family movie about a boy and his dog didn’t exactly have me wagging my tail when I left the theater. It wasn’t terrible, but it could have been much better. The premise felt new and exciting. Max, a military dog with posttraumatic stress disorder is taken in by the rebellious younger brother of the deceased soldier who handled him in Iraq. But instead of sticking to that premise, the filmmakers decided to turn the film into a farfetched action film that feels like Home Alone meets Lassie but takes itself too seriously to realize its all a bit silly.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the movie is it’s leading thespian, Carlos, a Belgian Malinois who plays the lead character of Max. I haven’t seen that much charisma in an actor since I saw Chris the dog take on the role of Beethoven in the family classic of the same name (how the Academy over looked him for the Leading Actor award still puzzles me to this day.) Carlos is delightfully athletic, emotional, powerful, and yet vulnerable in his portrayal of Max. I just wished he had given Lauren Graham a few pointers. Graham, who played the boy’s mother and was previously seen starring in The Gilmore Girls, delivers a performance that is tragically opposite of that of Carlos. Close to the ending of the movie, she gives a speech to some policemen and the music behind her words tells us that we should be inspired, but I really just felt like saying “Okay… moving on…” The rest of the cast was decent, nothing outstanding, though the two Rottweilers who portrayed Max’s nemeses were also incredibly physical and menacing. Between us though, I think I could have taken them.
Max is a film with very good intentions that attempts to honor the men, women, and dogs who put their lives at risk in order to serve their country - I didn’t even know we, dogs, could suffer from PTSD, that was very interesting to learn. But I believe the movie suffers from a mild identity crisis. It doesn’t know if it’s a drama or a family fun movie. So the fun feels a bit tragic and the drama feels a bit silly. It’s a movie I might rent for a few dollars but wouldn’t break the wallet to take the whole family to the theater to see. I give it two-and-a-half barks out of five.
Tailpiece - An Afterword…
Friends, this was Gatsby’s last movie review for his blog “Gatsby’s Corner”. Our beloved Gatsby passed away during surgery to remove a tumor in his stomach on Saturday 7/18/15 around 4:30pm. Though we knew the risks it came as a shock to us all, even his surgeon and doctors. We had a whole team of healers in place to help Gatsby recovery from surgery and get him in remission so he could enjoy several more happy months with us. But sadly after fighting valiantly he lost his battle with cancer as it had spread throughout his stomach. We are heartbroken but grateful that we could spend a final hour with him while he slept under anesthesia to hold and cuddle him, tell him how much we loved him, and that it was okay to let go and make his transition over the rainbow bridge. Gatsby was loved beyond measure and he touched many lives. We have already been overwhelmed with the outpouring of loving messages we have received. Every client, or visitor to our office knew what a special dog Gatsby was. Though he was protective of us his personality and nature was kind and gentle - unconditional love personified. He will be missed immensely and never ever be forgotten! Rest in peace sweet boy.