(Review originally written at 8 March 2007)

Very simply said; this movie is like the classic "Shane", only with a dog this time. Same sort of emotions, same sort of settings and same sort of main characters.

Just like "Shane", this movie also concentrates on issues such as family values. It also has some wonderful different written emotions and character development in it, such as the oldest boy taking his first steps into the progress of becoming a man, when he is left to take care of the family ranch. During this progress he is being helped by the inspiring and loyal dog Old Yeller. So in that regard "Old Yeller" isn't 'just' a family drama, it's also a coming of age movie.

In essence, "Old Yeller" is a children's movie, after all it's a 'Disney'. But its also a movie that always has been great to watch by adults. It's a story for all ages, that never becomes too childish for adults and never too adult for children.

The approach of letting a dog be the central character of the movie might sound odd and childish but it works fine for the story. It even makes some of the emotions and drama all the more powerful. The movie is of course best known for its emotional twist in the end, that basically everybody knows, even those who have never seen this movie.

There is quite a lot happening in the story and despite its emotional heavy subjects, the movie never becomes too sappy. It also helps to keep the movie realistic, which certainly also strengthens some of the drama.

The movie is good looking and set in a nice looking environment. It makes the atmosphere of the movie, which is old fashioned but warm.

It's obvious that the acting isn't the best thing about the movie. The movie is filled with a whole bunch of actors that you'll probably have never heard off. They're at times weak and at other quite solid. In other words, some really varying acting. It's definitely true that Tommy Kirk's character grows in the movie. It's quite a tough and responsible role for a boy of his age but he handles it really well. Chuck Connors also makes a pretty good appearance in the movie. Kevin Corcoran was mostly irritating as the younger always nagging little brother. Of course the animal acting was also really great.

As far as children movies are concerned, this one is about as good as they can get.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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