Published On: Thu, Mar 5th, 2020

Harrison Ford can’t save ‘The Call of the Wild’ from humanized CGI dog

Disney took on a ton of crappy projects with the 20th Century Fox purchase and The Call of the Wild is the latest. Harrison Ford stars in the new adaptation of Jack London’s famed novel, but is one of the few bright spots in a fine family film which is slowed by the distracting elements of the CGI main character, Buck.

Buck, a Saint Bernard–Scotch collie mix, is stolen from his wealthy, proper owners in California and taken north into the brutal elements of the Yukon during the gold rush. Buck is sold a mail delivery dogsled team, which teaches him how to survive and thrive in the difficult, frozen terrain. When the mail run is canceled, Buck lands with the film’s “villain” (Dan Stevens), a stubborn, arrogant prospector, but is rescued by Ford’s John Thornton.

Ford is a gruff grandfather, not the action star so many fans remember. Buck is continually drawn into the forest, seeing a vision of his wolf ancestors, and ultimately, meets a pack of wolves, traveling back to Thornton before dark daily.

Harrison Ford as John Thornton next to Buck in “The Call of the Wild”

The Call of the Wild is a good family time, clean and entertaining. All of the performances are fine, with Ford stealing the show every time he’s on screen.

What hinders the film is creator’s desire to digitally create Buck, which is clearly needed to pull off certain scenes, but more specifically the humanizing of the dog. Buck steals alcohol bottles, makes several facial expressions and is clearly trying to be a lovable to kids.

The end result is an overly tame, wildlife adventure with a cartoon main character and sadly, you always know Buck is not real. That is the problem with the film. The Call of the Wild is NOT as bad as Lion King, because it’s a different kind of weird or awkward.

It’s unknown if the this is the final version of the film from Fox or the Disney sanitized version as London’s darker and gritty elements are gone. There is no murderous Indians…I don’t think there are any indigenous figures as antagonists anywhere in the film.

In the end, director Chris Sanders and company should have found a different solution to portraying the animals (all of them are CGI), because it doesn’t work and it ran up the budget, making the film a financial flop.

The Call of the Wild earns 4 out of 10 stars

Add a star or so if you have small children and can just settle in for a nice, clean family time. If you love the novel and want to see dive deep into London’s classic, subtract two stars, this is upset you….don’t do it.

The Call of the Wild


The Call of the Wild

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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