Five for Families: ‘Isle of Dogs’ and 4 other flicks for National Pet Month

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Here are five movies from various platforms that families may want to consider. Because not all are appropriate for younger children, age recommendations or ratings are included.

The phrase “dogs are a man’s best friend” isn’t just a saying, as movies and real-life can prove. Some canines thwart the bad guys and save the world, and others show their loyalty as they offer devotion and love to their human companions. Since May is National Pet Month, here are five movies for families to consider that honor our furry, scaly and feathered friends.

In theaters: ‘Isle of Dogs’

When canines are exiled to an island garbage dump, a young boy embarks on a journey to rescue his dog Spots. His voyage also inspires an investigation into a government conspiracy that threatens the existence of the island dogs. The clever stop-motion animation of Wes Anderson’s film combines symmetrical design with Japanese style, according to Josh Terry of the Deseret News. He awarded the film three and a half stars out of four and said dog lovers will appreciate the “quirky, bittersweet and charming” film that is “a great example of what happens when a little creativity cuts loose on the big screen.” “Isle of Dogs” is rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some violent images. The film has an 89 percent “fresh” rating and also an audience score of 89 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Netflix: ‘The Secret Life of Pets’

The life of New York City terrier Max is upended when his human takes in an oversized rescue dog named Duke. Plugged In calls the film a “good-hearted, pro-pet flick, one that also reminds us humans not to make hasty decisions or sidestep responsibilities when it comes to the animals we adopt. And the movie promotes that message while pointing out just how great a loving pet-and-owner bond can be.” The website awarded the PG-rated film four stars out of five.

iTunes: ‘My Dog Skip’

In this coming-of-age film, a shy boy grows up with his dog Skip, a Jack Russell terrier, by his side. The Dove Foundation awarded the film its “Dove Approved” seal for ages 12 and over and noted the film’s “Norman Rockwell ambiance” that is engaging for young children and involving enough for older children and adults. The website said the film “reminds (viewers) of what a great gift man’s best friend really is.” The film is rated PG for some violent content and mild language.

Netflix: ‘Hachi: A Dog’s Tale’

“Hachi” is based on the true story of Hachiko (Hachi for short), an Akita dog who would greet his owner each day at Japan’s Shibuya train station — a loyalty that continued well after the man’s death. After Hachi’s death, a statue was erected at the train station. Common Sense Media awarded the film four stars out of five and said the “dramatic story of a dog’s devotion is emotionally intense.” Although the film is rated G, the website recommends the film for children ages 10 and older.

Netflix: ‘Cats and Dogs’

A scientist tries to create a serum to cure dog allergies in humans, but cats intervene and try to take over the world. Parent Previews said the PG-rated movie contains “romping action scenes and nasty activities” of the bad guys that may be of concern for young and impressionable viewers, but older children “will likely get caught up in cheering the interspecies espionage.” The website gave the film a thumbs up with an overall grade of B+.