The Call of the Wild

2020 • 99 minutes
4.4
308 reviews
63%
Tomatometer
PG
Rating
Eligible
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About this movie

Adapted from Jack London's beloved literary classic, The Call Of The Wild vividly brings to life the story of a big-hearted dog named Buck, and John Thornton (Harrison Ford), the man Buck must learn to trust. Abruptly uprooted from his pampered lifestyle in sunny California, Buck finds himself in the exotic wilds of the Alaskan Yukon. As the newest dog on a mail delivery sled team during the turbulent Gold Rush days of the 1890s, Buck has left behind a once comfortable life for one of hardship and survival. Life again changes dramatically for Buck when he meets Thornton, a loner-turned-adventurer, and it's clear that the two are destined to experience the adventure of a lifetime. Navigating through an environment that is as unforgiving as it is spectacular, the journey profoundly transforms both man and dog. With its unique blend of intense live action and cutting-edge animation, The Call Of The Wild is a visually stunning experience featuring realistic, emotionally authentic characters.
Rating
PG
4.4
308 reviews
Kyle Vansteelandt
May 6, 2021
The filmmakers decided to make the dogs and all animals CGI, But something in this film made me weak: I don't think I can critique that though, because the movie engages much more closely with the themes and the soul of the 1903 novel. It's not trying to be realistic like reality. This film avoids that and has ways of being larger than life and relatable. The movie captures the genre of the novel; an old-fashioned children's adventure drama that falls into animal fiction, in which an animal is anthropomorphized and given human traits but not too much. The CG dogs and other animals have facial expressions, realistic looking detail, and they were portrayed as characters. This kind of approach is a throwback to the animation from my childhood; "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron," and the short animated projects that I have created on Flipnote Studio on my DSI when I was younger. By the way, no animal is harmed in the making of the film, because obviously it has no real creatures. That's why all of the animals are CGI. Just like the novel, the movie is a story about survival (the strong, the shrewed, and the cunning shall prevail when life is bestial). That makes this adaptation utterly faithful and true to the source material. The entire cast was a superb choice from Harrison Ford to Dan Stevens. Buck the mixed breed (St Bernard/Scotch Collie) and John Thorton are likable and delivers performances with emotional precision. Buck (Terry Notary) is a huge and energetic dog that may be mischievous, but he has a huge heart and courage to be a hero. He even has faith in himself because he has spirituality to his character, a huge black spirit wolf that is his God. Buck eventually becomes a mate as he meets a female white timber wolf. This is not an odd couple, this is a family of ancestors (wolves are related to dogs as Buck and the timber wolf share the similar souls and instincts). Harrison Ford (John Thornton) is an experienced and good-natured frontiersman who's heart has a special place for Buck. He was also provided the narration with his gruff voice. His narration is great for a mature adventure drama for both kids and adults. The antagonists in this film are vicious, ruthless, snarling brutes; Spitz is a husky that is a tyrannical leader of a dog sled team. Hal (Dan Stevens) is a greedy and dastardly gold-prospector. I love the vigorous music score by John Powell. It fits the movie superbly, with a banjo and guitar to create the sound of the north American wilderness in Yukon Canada, the music can sound playful and lively with a hint of something epic, it can sound seriously dramatic to inspire intensity and determination, and it can sound somber and sad. Chris Sanders directed this film, his movies are well known due to the clever charming humor, heart-breaking emotion, and impactful drama that he has developed in his work. Sanders used those aspects for this film and he has such great timing in this film as well. But some of his movies lack originality because they have treaded into familiar ground like "Lilo and Stitch" and "How to train your dragon." But here, I finally got something original; Chris avoids deriving other people's work and focuses on the novel. Even the camera work is top-notch, from beautiful glossy Canadian scenery, to screenplays that are sweeping and takes you for some wild thrilling rides. The movie will go in both the sweet and the bitter, and the way that Chris manipulated the structure of the storytelling is excellent. The film contains strong messages about perseverance, courage, teamwork, and resilience. I walked out of the theatre satisfied and my heart was pounding. To conclude: Accurately faithful to the source material plus Chris Sanders's charming and soulful vision equals an engaging old-fashioned drama that has brilliant appeal.
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Benjamin De Mers
May 16, 2020
All around great family movie. This movie was not given it's proper place in order to come up with a proper review. It's bold, beautiful and full of adventure and feeling and opens the minds of viewers to what it is supposed to open them up to, the wild. There is no doubt that the use of CGI in this film is controversial, but it allows for much more interaction between the viewer, the human characters and the dog, which more accurately reflects the intense wording of London's masterpiece. I give this movie a B+ as a general audience film and an A+ as a family movie event. If you are a family looking for a great feel good clean adventure movie with lots of real life themes, this is it.
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Tito Del Piélago
July 20, 2020
Highly recommended!!! It's a wonderful adaptation of London's novel. The amazing landscapes are an excellent stage for a moving story. Harrison Ford offers an spotless acting and of course the role of the brave Buck is lovely. This story -as it's well known- reminds us of how unfair the human beings use to use the word "wild". Although everybody will enjoy the film, it's a great opportunity to discuss with children on the position of the humankind in the world. Animation effects could seem -for a while- very noticeable for some tastes, but when one assumes the aesthetic of the production they fit perfectly. Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, The Party's Just Beginning...) plays a brief character.
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