The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

  • Cara GeeHarrison Ford...
  • Action & AdventureDrama...
  • Chris Sanders
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Yasmeen Mamdouh
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The Call of the Wild: Surefire Winner?‎

Featured image © 2020 – Walt Disney Pictures

Are all dog movies surefire winners? With the number of dog movies that have been released during the past few months, it seems like filmmakers try to take advantage of how loveable dogs are.

The Call of the Wild follows intelligent dog, Buck, whose spoiled life as a judge’s favourite pet ends when he is abducted, sent to the Yukon, and ends up with a cruel trainer who beats him and finally sells him as a sled dog. From there, Buck goes on a journey of self-discovery where his leadership, his intelligence, and his endurance are tested. It is only when Buck meets the kind John Thornton (Harrison Ford) and becomes his companion that Buck truly becomes all he can be.

The film is adapted from Jack London’s 1903 short novel of the same name, which became an established classic, and although the movie does not recreate the book to the letter, the overall spirit is definitely there.

The main issue with the feature is its use of CGI; Buck is presented as CGI which leaves him robotic, puts a wall between him and audiences, and makes the moments that he goes through, whether good or bad, produce little to no feelings. The audience is continuously reminded that this is not a real dog and everything they are seeing is not real.

The Call of the Wild also exaggerates the cartoonish effect in many aspects, like going on and on about how Buck is enormous to the point of breaking floorboards, while compared to other dogs he is just big, and not even that big for his breed. This exaggeration produces an artificial animated feeling that makes the film too silly for its deep aura.

The film does get better when Buck meets John Thornton in the third act, but that does not mean that it gets more implausible, especially when it comes to a forced villain that neither has a place or credible reason to be in the film.

Harrison Ford gave a strong and simultaneously minimalist performance that made The Call of the Wild a much better film. Ford provides the movie with the depth it was aiming for through his narration and his performance as John Thornton.

The Call of the Wild is a feature that takes the ultimate winning formula of a dog movie and turns it into an emotionless CGI concoction that is only worth watching when Harrison Ford is on screen or narrating.

Like This? Try

Eight Below (2006), A Dog's Way Home (2019), Dolittle (2020).

360 Tip

Harrison Ford's best known roles also have a connection to a dog. Indiana Jones was named after George Lucas's Alaskan Malamuke, and Indy is shown to have kept the same breed as his own pet when he was a boy. That same dog inspired Han Solo's co-pilot, Chewbacca.

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