6.8/10
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The Call of the Wild (2020)

Trailer
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) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,152 ( 122)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Harrison Ford ... John Thornton
Omar Sy ... Perrault
Cara Gee ... Francoise
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 | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1890s | remake | alaska | snow | dog | See All (88) »

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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Did You Know?

Trivia

After John Thornton rescues Buck, a few sketches of a dog are visible pinned on the back wall of Thornton's residence outside of Dawson (presumed to have been drawn while Buck was recovering). If you look closely, these sketches resemble a Bernese mountain dog more than Buck's St. Bernard/Scotch shepherd mixed breed from the book, because Buck's design at that point in production was (at a producer's request) based on a Bernese mountain dog and had yet to be changed to the final model seen in the film. See more »

Goofs

They have never been pheasants in the northwest territory or Alaska at about one hour and 16 minutes buck and the wolves kill pheasants. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
John Thornton: [narrating] It was in all the papers at the time. Men searching in the Artic had found a yellow metal. Gold. A mad fever spread as far as word can travel, and thousands more rushed to the North to try their luck. These men needed dogs. Big dogs with strong muscles to pull their sleds.
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Crazy Credits

This is the first film released under the 20th Century Studios banner (previously known as 20th Century Fox).

Thus, there is a new 20th Century Studios logo, which is an updated version of the classic Fox logo. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Good Morning Britain: Episode dated 19 February 2020 (2020) See more »

Soundtracks

Row Row Row Your Boat
Traditional
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User Reviews

 
A good natured, albeit artistically uneven film about following your destiny and discovering your true potential
25 June 2020 | by MrDHWongSee all my reviews

The Call Of The Wild is an adventure film based on the novel of the same name by Jack London. Starring Harrison Ford in the lead (human) role, it is a good natured, albeit artistically uneven film about following your destiny and discovering your true potential.

In the late 1800s, a large, overly friendly St. Bernard x Scotch Collie named "Buck" is abducted from his home in California and transported up north to the Yukon in Canada. Upon arrival, Buck returns a harmonica dropped on the ground to a man named John Thornton (Harrison Ford) shortly before being sold off as a sled dog to a pair of mail carriers. Due to him not being used to this new snowy environment, Buck struggles at first at becoming accustomed to his new life of pulling sleds but soon finds encouragement in his visions of a dark wolf guiding him through his challenges and obstacles to eventually gain the respect of not only his fellow canines but also the humans around him.

As yet another adaptation of a well-regarded American novel, this version of "The Call Of The Wild" should please casual audiences with its adorable four-legged star carrying the weight of the film through every step of the way. I am unsure, however, how closely it sticks to the original story as I have not read it in full so I can't fully determine how satisfied longtime fans of the source material will be, although from what I have researched, they seem to be somewhat divided on what has been omitted. Apparently, there have been some liberties taken with the overall mood of the film as the book reportedly has a much grittier feel that may have been toned down in an effort to create a more family friendly viewing experience. Normally, I would be annoyed at something like this happening but I actually felt more at ease while watching the film as it allowed me to take in more of the adventure without worrying too much about whether something terrible was about to happen. Some may argue that this is playing it safe but I'm not too bothered with that as I enjoy a good carefree romp in the wilderness so long as I can share it with characters I care about.

Chris Sanders, who makes his live-action directorial debut, having previously co-directed "Lilo & Stitch", "How to Train Your Dragon", and "The Croods", does handle the film quite well, showcasing his knack for creating memorable scenery and his fluid use of cinematography helped establish the wide expanse of the Yukon and the various oddities and perils that one might encounter on their travels. However, I believe he felt a little too worried about stepping outside his comfort zone as he did overuse CGI at times, to the point where it became highly distracting. For example, Buck would sometimes clearly be a real dog huffing and panting his way through the snow while other times his movements looked unnaturally cartoonish, notably in one scene involving him jumping up and down on a bed. We see his legs flail around like a ragdoll as he tries to wake up his master but anyone who has seen how dogs really jump will know that their legs stay straight when pouncing on something. Fortunately, most of this is forgivable as I can understand the difficulty in training a real dog to perform some of the actions shown in this film and CGI would obviously be a much cheaper alternative. It just proves that no matter how nice CGI may look on the surface, there is no substitute for the real thing.

I enjoyed Harrison Ford's performance as the stern but kindly wanderer John Thornton, who spends his time roughing it in the wilderness alongside his canine companion. Ford also narrates the film as well, in a manner that can be likened to a grandfather reading a bedtime story to his grandchildren, which adds a sense of childlike innocence that young viewers will definitely come to appreciate. Even though he may not have looked visually convincing at times, I loved seeing Buck and his journey from a pampered domesticated house pet to a hardened and respected dog of the outdoors. I suppose I'm just a sucker for dogs being the central role of a film as I have always had a soft spot for these wonderful animals and what they're capable of.

In conclusion, although I haven't read the original novel, this film has piqued my curiosity as it certainly feels like a story that would be better on paper than on screen. There's only so much that technology can produce before that sense of realism is severed from the audience. Despite this, the film is still worth seeing for those wanting a relatively laid-back adventure involving a dog and his master. If you're someone who loves dogs just as much as me, then this is the film for you.

I rate it 7/10


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Details

Country:

Canada | USA

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:

$110,992,779
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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