"The Call of the Wild" (2020) Movie Review
The Call of the Wild as a novel was a timeless classic that inspired several film adaptations starring such greats as Clark Gable and Charlton Heston. Now, added to that list is Harrison Ford. Harrison doesn't have a big part, but he has an important part. You know those bumper stickers from Rescue Shelters that say "Who Rescued Who"? That's what this film reminded me of. While Harrison did have an impact on Buck's life, it was Buck that changed Harrison's life.
The film follows Buck, a dog who is as restless as he is playful. He just wants to run, to be free, but his owner just wants to keep him restrained. One day, Buck is kidnapped and is brought to Alaska. Buck escapes and falls into the hands of a sled-dog mail deliverer. The man is kind but firm and teaches Buck how to be a good sled dog. But Buck's adventure is only starting and we're right there with him, along for the ride.
I'm going to go ahead and get this out of the way first. I've heard a lot of complaining about the animals in the film being CGI and I've also heard a couple complaints about the poster/trailers being misleading. First, the CGI animals was the best choice for this type of film for several reasons. You can have the animals do what you want them to do and you don't have to worry about the wildlife getting, well, wild on you. Wildlife can be unpredictable and working with so many varieties of animals is a difficult task. Using CGI animals not only reduces the risk to the animals but also to the people involved with the film. Second, I suppose that yes the poster and trailer was misleading in the sense that Harrison Ford isn't the center of the story. While in previous adaptations, John Thornton was the main character, but this film makes the choice to make Buck the center of attention and, you know what, that's how it should be. Read the novel again. The dog was always the center of the story. Think about the movies A Dog's Purpose or A Dog's Journey. You don't go to those movies for Dennis Quaid, you go for the dog. That's as close of a comparison as I can make.
I loved how well-made this adaptation was. It had a ton of heart and love at its core, not just for Buck but for nature in general. It also had a beautiful story of human redemption tied into it. Omar Sy, Dan Stevens, Karen Gillan, and Harrison Ford all performed wonderfully in their roles. Dan was the gold-crazed villain of the story and I have to say, he was the most convincing of all of them.
In conclusion, I'm going to recommend this film to everyone. It's a film that the entire family can enjoy, even with its few frightening moments. Kids and adults alike will fall in love with Buck, just as I did. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.
© 2020 Nathan Jasper