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Josh Gad is an Immortal-ish, Time-Traveling, Sentient Pup in A DOG’S PURPOSE (Really)

This movie’s existence is proof that humans are monsters.

One person’s feel-good movie of the winter is another person’s horror show. It may seem like a simple, happy thing at fist—but there’s darkness lurking there in the shadow-y corners. Like in the trailer for Josh Gad‘s potential time-traveling coming-of-age journey emotional exploitation film, A Dog’s Purpose, which is most assuredly a sign that the human race is its own worst enemy.

A Dog’s Purpose is going to make some of you out there cry—your mom and Aunt Diane are going to love it and talk about it for at least a week—because small animals and pure love and lifelong companions and all that ‘ish. Your Uncle Bob’s going to insist it’s just the jalapeños in his movie theater nachos that are making him misty. (He doesn’t care about dogs, he swears.) Your grandma Barb will tell stories about that one time she had a cat named Trixy that she swears she met later as a rabbit back in ’83.

But that doesn’t make any of this okay. Because the emotional manipulation that comes with the assumption/assertion that dogs are only here on Earth to bring us joy and teach us “life lessons” (a.k.a. how to not be a total dick) when the world is garbage is truly the stuff of unchecked human arrogance and maybe a dystopian nightmare or two.

Because we’re not saying the science is off—there is something to the idea that, just as the corporeal self evolves as a species through the multitudes of life and living and adapting, so too does the “soul” or what-have-you—it’s the mentality of it all (also tweet at Kyle Hill to ask him about dog reincarnation with the hashtag #DogScience). DO WE REALLY THINK ANOTHER LIVING CREATURE’S ONLY PURPOSE IS TO HELP US?

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And still, we’re sure this movie will do well enough—maybe even warranting a sequel (starring Kaley Cuoco as a ladydog version? Maybe Kevin Hart as a real citypup? The mind reels). After all, the premise is simple enough (we guess?): a dog, voiced by Gad, is born and reborn in the bodies of different dogs throughout the years, starting with a young boy that—TWIST/SPOILER ALERT/IT’S IN THE TRAILER!—he later comes to be owned by again when that boy is an old man. TO COMPLETE HIS LIFE! Totally ~crazy~ how all that works, right?

It should probably come as a surprise to absolutely no one that this concept was based on a beloved bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron. And the director isn’t exactly a slouch—Lasse Hallström, he of The Cider House Rules and Chocolat and The 100-Foot Journey and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and also Dear John and oh my GOSH everything makes sense now. The logline explains that this is “the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love. The “family film told from the dog’s perspective” stars Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, Britt Robertson, K.J. Apa, Juilet Rylance, Luke Kirby, John Ortiz, and Pooch Hall (which is the most incredible real name and proof that maybe destiny does exist in this particular case).

Are we judging this too harshly? Maybe. Maybe. Or maybe we’re just the only one who’s seeing the truth behind this story—that it’s feel-good wishes are based on the fact that THIS DOG’S SOUL TRAVELS THROUGH SPACE AND TIME AND VARIOUS DOGS’ BODIES TO TEACH THE ONE YOUNG-THEN-OLD WHITE GUY HOW TO LOVE.

I just don’t know, you guys. I just don’t know if this is a good thing.

We’ll have to wait until January 27, 2017 to figure that one out, though. Are you going to see it? Let us know in the comments below.

Image: Amblin Entertainment

Alicia Lutes is the Managing Editor of Nerdist and creator/co-host of Fangirling. Find her on Twitter

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