Every night as Sofia falls asleep, her father Djibi takes her into "Storyland", a fantasy film studio where their extraordinary fairy-tale adventures come to life starring Djibi in the lead role as the heroic Prince Charming.
An earnest ball of yarn named Purl gets a job at a fast-paced, high energy, male-centric start-up. Things start to unravel as she tries to fit in with this close-knit group. Purl must ask ... See full summary »
Bret 'Brook' Parker,
This is a map of the Yukon. My son was always reading adventure stories, crazy about the news coming out of the Yukon. Wasn't the gold, he didn't care about that, it was the mountains. He spent all day looking at maps and pictures of the mountains, dreaming about was on the other side, places no one had been, wild places. We could go, you and me, see what's out there. What do you think?
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A classic novel well-altered for the onscreen family fun
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 feature films and animation, 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 not to its darker overtones transmitted, counting as well with us (viewers) and our responsiveness to taking such liberties, have succeeded in meeting a great deal of expectations from the film 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 when he was suddenly banished from his home in California and moved deep into the heart of Alaska during the gold rush of the 1890s. 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, therefore often 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 though vulnerable, but soothing presence in his appearance as John Thornton, seemingly prospector, but in fact, after losing his loved ones, a son to an accident 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, but also fun for the whole family.
My rating score stops short of perfect, due to a trend described in my second introductory note that I also cannot easily get down by.
Finally, on a lighter note, even without responsible monitors, we can rest assured and therefore stay calm about the certainty of the fact that *no (real) animals were harmed during the making of this film.*
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