The weak script was only held together by two great leading performances - Zac, in particular, continues to grow amazingly as an artist. Lily has never been better. There are a lot of wonderful isolated moments (the 'hacksaw' scene stands out!) but it never comes together in a substantive way.
beautifully animated; has a story made of complete nonsense that works; it’s funny; it knows how to tug on your heart strings without resorting to the usual dog movie trope of the dog dying (in fact, spoiler alert, none of the dogs you get to know die); the bulk of it is entirely in Japanese without subtitles (for the people, at least. As the movie itself says 'All barks are rendered in English’ so all the dogs speak English) yet…
I think the true alchemy of this movie is that unspeakable magic that happens when the right chemistry between the right people with the right script comes together. Any one element can be good, and in this case I’d argue that they all are exceptionally good. But together they are more than the sum of their parts. Together they make gold.