Lassie, the courageous collie with the heart of a lion and the navigational instincts of a homing pigeon, really does come home in Charles Sturridge's cosy family adventure, which brings the legendary mutt back across the Atlantic to the British setting of Eric Knight's original novel. Everything else adheres to feel-good Hollywood formula, though newcomers to the franchise may feel the same warm glow audiences felt 60 years ago when the eponymous pooch first barked on the silver screen.
When t' local pit closes, Yorkshire coal miner Sam Carraclough (John Lynch) and his stoic wife Sarah (Samantha Morton) have no option but to sell their son Joe's beloved bitch to the dotty Duke of Rudling (Peter O'Toole). Our hirsute heroine, however, has other ideas, foiling His Lordship's every attempt to keep her under lock and key.
When the Duke relocates to Scotland, it looks as if Joe (Jonathan Mason) will finally have to say farewell. Naturally Lassie thinks differently, beginning an arduous cross-country trek that sees her meet the Loch Ness monster, escape a Glasgow dog pound, testify in court and fall in with a travelling puppeteer (Peter Dinklage).
Episodic isn't the word for this rambling travelogue, in which a bewildering array of familiar faces (Edward Fox, Robert Hardy, Nicholas 'Rodney' Lyndhurst) pop up for a succession of bizarrely brief cameos. Still, the combination of everyone's favourite canine and eye-catching Irish and Isle of Man locations ensure this nostalgic shaggy-dog story sends you home with your tail wagging.