Leave it to the Disney marketing machine to dust off a venerable nature-adventure film like 1963’s The Incredible Journey and wed it with Look Who’s Talking, creating a sprightly little entertainment that applies animation principles to live-action by giving personalities to the movie’s wayward dogs and cat through the clever use of the voices of Michael J. Fox, Sally Field and Don Ameche.
Although the story [from Sheila Burnford’s book] also gets spruced up with some ’90s twists, the plot still centers on three pets, left with a family friend, who try to cross the wilderness and make it back home, encountering menaces from bears to porcupines on the way.
The aging Shadow (a golden retriever voiced with stately dignity by Ameche) leads the way, followed by the upstart mutt Chance (Fox) and snooty feline Sassy (Field). For the most part the writers – Linda Woolverton (of Beauty and the Beast) and Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands) – have done a splendid job capturing what animals seem to be thinking without making them cognizant of what humans are saying, except for the few words the pets recognize.
Duwayne Dunham, a veteran film editor making his [feature film] directing debut, keeps Journey’s pace brisk. Pic is dedicated to producer Franklin R. Levy, who died during production.