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The Call of the Wild (2020)

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1:59 | Trailer
A sled dog struggles for survival in the wilds of the Yukon.

Director:

Chris Sanders

Writers:

Michael Green (screenplay by), Jack London (based upon the novel by)
Reviews
Popularity
18 ( 25)

How Harrison Ford Answered 'The Call of the Wild'

The Call of the Wild star Harrison Ford shares how his movie adaptation differs from the classic novel — and how he bonded with Buck, the CGI pooch at the heart of the story.

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Harrison Ford ... John Thornton
Omar Sy ... Perrault
Cara Gee ... Françoise
Dan Stevens ... Hal
Bradley Whitford ... Judge Miller
Jean Louisa Kelly ... Katie Miller
Michael Horse ... Edenshaw
Karen Gillan ... Mercedes
Colin Woodell ... Charles
Micah Fitzgerald ... Red Sweater
Heather McPhaul ... Head Cook
Adam Fergus ... James
Stephanie Czajkowski ... Postmaster
Abraham Benrubi ... Skookum Bench King
Thomas Adoue Polk ... Assistant Postmaster
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Storyline

The Call of the Wild is a vibrant story of Buck, a big and kindhearted dog, a crossbreed between a St. Bernard and a Scotch Collie, whose carefree life of leisure was suddenly upset when he was stolen from his home in Santa Clara County, California and deported up north, to be sold in Skagway, Alaska, and taken further north, to Dawson City, Yukon, during the late 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, when strong sled dogs were in high demand. As a newcomer to the dog team delivery service - and not before long their front-runner - Buck, a dog like no other, who had been spoiled, and who had suffered, but he could not be broken, is having the time of his life. Forced to fight to survive, eventually taken by his last owner, John Thornton, to proximity of the Arctic Circle, somewhere between Yukon and Alaska, he progressively depends on his primal instincts, sheds the comforts of civilization and responds to "the call of the wild", as master of his own. Written by Davor Blazevic 1959 <davor.blazevic@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on the Legendary Novel.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some violence, peril, thematic elements and mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

21 February 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Call of the Wild See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$135,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,791,624, 23 February 2020

Gross USA:

$62,342,368

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$107,604,626
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Harrison Ford and Bradley Whitford previously appeared in Presumed Innocent (1990). See more »

Goofs

In the beginning of the movie, a sign on a building in the background has "Groceries" misspelled as "Grocereries." See more »

Quotes

John Thornton: [narrates] There's a place in these mountains where a new breed of timber wolf roams, wiser than men or wolf, because of the dog that runs at the head of a pack. Now... they live without fear, raise their young and flourish.
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Crazy Credits

Film title at the end of closing credits See more »

Alternate Versions

Prior to re-shoots, Mercedes, Charles, and the remaining dog team die (off-screen) on the broken-up river; only Hal survives to return to Dawson and confront John Thornton in the Argonaut saloon. (Paraphrased: "I lost everything because of you: my dogs... my sister...") Despite successful test screenings, studio heads changed this to Hal saying, "My dogs ran off" -- indicating the team and (one assumes) Mercedes and Charles survived -- in an attempt to keep children from being upset. See more »


Soundtracks

Great Unknown
Performed by X Ambassadors
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User Reviews

 
A classic novel well-altered... especially for the younger ones
23 February 2020 | by Davor_Blazevic_1959See all my reviews

Before writing anything about the film itself let it be noted following.

(1) Screenplays are usually related to source materials (works of fiction or documentary depictions of factual events and experiences) with the phrase *based on*, which is mostly read as *copied from* (whether a fictitious depiction or reality) although fully faithful account of events and their protagonists almost never happens, so, in all fairness, it might be safer to understand such relation simply as *altered from*.

(2) Furthermore, CGI has erased strict distinction between live action and animation, introducing a new method and a whole new form of cinematography by blending realistic imagery and kinematics of existing animals (and other fantastic beasts) with anthropomorphic expressions and gestures given to their stylized representation in the world of animation, a trend probably started in 1970's by ILM servicing Star Wars saga, getting (over)exploited in recent followers of the kind, most notably Disney's The Lion King (2019).

That having been said, in the latest take on Jack London's classic novel, screenwriter Michael Green and director Chris Sanders--apparently intentionally not bound by faithfulness to the original text, particularly avoiding its darker overtones, certainly counting with receptiveness from the audience, especially from those (among us) who have read the novel--have succeeded in meeting a great deal of expectations from the film seeking to be labeled with family entertainment attribute.

The Call of the Wild is the story of Buck (as main human character, John Thornton, described it), a dog like no other, he'd been spoiled, and he'd suffered, but he could not be broken... Buck's life gets turned upside down during the gold rush of the 1890s, when he was suddenly banished from his home in California and moved, first to Yukon, and then deep into the heart of Alaska, reaching Arctic Circle. *As a newcomer to the dog team delivery service - soon their leader - Buck is having adventure of a lifetime, finally finding his rightful place in the world and becoming the master of his own destiny.*

By smoothening London's honest account and description of--pursuant to extreme conditions easily understandable--truly violent interaction between people, animals and nature, primarily by minimizing cruel dog beatings at the hands of their masters and brutal, often fatal dog fights, film makers have altered such survival seeking Darwinian world, in which dog eats dog and a man is (often) a wolf to another man, by promoting rather-friends-then-foes approach towards strangers, and, whenever possible, insisting rather on gentleness than harshness of the great wild outdoors, overhauling the classic story to an easier digestible, ergo family friendlier.

Other qualities include good acting, with Harrison Ford as a stand-out, whose husky calm voice offers narration throughout the film, providing vulnerable yet soothing, almost comforting presence in his appearance as John Thornton, seemingly a gold prospector, but in fact, after losing his loved ones, a son to a deadly fever, and a wife to subsequent collapse of his marriage, no more than a grief-stricken redemption seeker. Also, in the first half of the movie, as a far north delivery service running couple, Omar Sy and Cara Gee are joy to watch in their often, despite all difficulties, comic relief providing roles.

Film demonstrates commendable seamless integration of CG imagery of beasts and beautiful environments into spectacular cinematography provided by Janusz Kaminski.

Joyful music, scored by John Powell, is well-paced to follow the speed of onscreen action and reflect the highs and lows in the moods of characters.

All in all, it is nicely crafted film with the fast-paced story, providing enough dramatic excitement and fun, especially for the younger ones.

My rating score stops short of perfect, due to a trend described in my second opening note that I cannot easily fall in with, too.

Finally, on a lighter note, having film menagerie of animals fully CGI-ed renders monitors from American Humane Association superfluous, as even in their absence we can rest assured that *no (real) animals were harmed during the making of this film.*


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