The Journey Home

THE JOURNEY HOME (Roger Spottiswoode, Brando Quilici). 88 minutes. Opens Friday (September.

THE JOURNEY HOME (Roger Spottiswoode, Brando Quilici). 88 minutes. Opens Friday (September 4). Rating: N

Where to watch: iTunes

This Free Willy-style adventure set in the Arctic won’t melt your heart, but that’s not the climate’s fault.

The Journey Home, the thoroughly lacklustre and frequently incompetent tale of a boy taking a polar bear cub to be reunited with its mother, is all clichés and nature photography rolled together with as much care as it takes to build a snowman.

Dakota Goyo stars as charmless adolescent Luke, a small-town kid living in what appears to be Nunavut, who finds the cub in his garage. As far as personality goes, it’s the tossing and turning fur ball who steals the show as the two embark across the melting ice cap to locate Mama Bear.

An Inuit-trained tracker named Muktuk (Goran Visnjic) is there to help, mainly because he feels responsible for letting Luke’s dad die in a backstory that full-fists sentimentality down our throats. But getting misty-eyed over any of this is difficult when across-the-board stiff performances make the actors seem too frostbitten to emote.

Meanwhile, the action is laughable, probably because shooting can’t be easy when your stars are a boy and a bear. Every brush with danger feels scraped together from what looks like spare, incomprehensible footage that misses the crucial action, forcing us to imagine what’s going on.

We could imagine a better movie while we’re at it.     

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