The Call of the Wild (2020) Poster

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I was expecting the wrong thing
dylanhorne-7690921 February 2020
This is a great family movie. It has all the aspects of what makes kids smile. However, this is not the adaption of Jack London's book that I was looking for. In my opinion, in searching for that feel good vibe, it lost the character that defined the original story. Everything was made PG and the raw unforgiving reality of the book was lost in translation. Additionally, the CGI was good, but over used to the nth degree. Its worth a watch, just keep in mind that this movie is a rather loose adaptation.
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A classic novel well-altered... especially for the younger ones
Davor_Blazevic_195923 February 2020
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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Dear Hollywood...
freonicusmaximus2 March 2020
Stop trying to PC everything. If you'd made an actual authentic film here, it would have sold like gangbusters. But instead you drop in an African American guy and Asian lady as Francois and Perrault and a CG dog as Buck for Christ's sake. A CG DOG in a classic such as this is insulting. You liberal idiots ruin everything. I hope California breaks off into the Ocean soon.
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Maybe it should have been called "Call of the Mild" or "That Darn Buck!"
iboso6421 February 2020
Very, very loosely based on one of the great adventures of literature, this movie frequently plays more like a 1970s Disney film. While I think it's awesome, using a CGI dog to put him and the others through the harsh action scenes, did they have to make him look so cartoonish in the more personal scenes? A dog's reactions should be that of a dog, not a human. About half of the names in the cast are in blink and you'll miss it cameos, and the film only really comes to life when the focus narrows down to Ford and Buck, getting in touch with nature. It's only the last half hour or so, with them, that keeps me from giving this an even lower score.
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So looking forward to this but...
tocanepauli28 March 2020
It was spoiled for me in the first few minutes when it was apparent that the dog (the star of the film) was totally (and badly) CGI! WTF! There are so many fantastic dog stars, why not use one of those? So disappointing. Couldn't watch it and walked out! This should have been a hard, moving film and not a semi real family cartoon! Great book, lousy film!
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Fake Movie All Around
lhalm-2744226 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Wow, where do I begin with my disappointments. Not only are the dogs fake (CGI generated), but the majority of the film is shot on sets and the "nature" scenes and blowing snow are computer animations. Maybe the producers should've spent less money on a detached walk-through role by Harrison Ford and actually shot the film in the Wild (as the title suggests). I would've enjoyed it better if it was a cartoon movie altogether. The author of this story, Jack London, told a story of man and dog vs. nature, and the cold realities of the frozen north. The movie failed to make us viewers understand the gist of London's message. The dogs were portrayed as human-like in their thinking and actions; much like a Disney-Lion-King aberration.

Along the way, many parts of of the great London novel were altered or removed, most significantly, the sled-pulling gambling scene that was so important to the book. Also, the film's hero, John Thornton (portrayed lackadaisically by Ford), meets his fate by a manner completely different than what happened in the book.

Do not see this movie unless you are under the age of 12 (or if you want to take the kiddies to a film). Simply awful, I almost walked out.
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Harrison Ford saves this film
AlsExGal23 February 2020
This film was really meant to be a post Christmas family film, and it probably succeeds at that. What really bothered me is that the dogs are completely CGI. I can understand it for the scenes where the animals would be in peril, but for the close intimate scenes between man and dog, it really hurts the film to not have a real dog in the part of Buck. Also, this tale is of a kinder gentler Buck, not the tale in the Jack London novel.

I might add an extra star if you are just trying to entertain some kids for a couple of hours. For the adults, seeing that Harrison Ford is the old pro he always has been is probably going to save the experience for you.
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When a dog barks instead of is a dog!
pegadodacruz24 February 2020
Not sure what the critics saw that was so bad with the CGI on buck the dog... if anything the ability of having animal like emotions displayed felt much better than looking at lions trying to speak...I thought the movie was well put together. Harrison Ford does a very simple yet good performance, the narrative is simple and easy to figure out for adults but still very relate-able and, the whole journey of the protagonists is really good a true adventure of self-discovery... What really told me that the movie nailed it, was when in the end I asked my 9 year old, what was it all about... and she goes it's about being you, not letting others tell you what you can or cannot do... and my 12 years old, goes like it's about finding your place in the world...take the kids, have them be quite and listen...they might just get some life lessons out of it.
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Simply enjoyable from beginning to end
vinnied-2788321 February 2020
If you like Harrison Ford, or dogs, or animals, or nature, or great feel-good stories, or all of the above, you will enjoy this movie. I can't really think of anything bad about it. I enjoyed every minute of it.
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cgi dog in the woods pretending to be real?
kimdel23 February 2020
I'm sorry, but using a CGI dog for a Jack London story is like using yellow minions in a Godfather movie. I just could not take this seriously, and as a computer enhanced movie it made Harrison Ford look like he was talking to a puppet. I walked out of one scene and wished I had not gone back in. Completely backfired for me. Read the book and use your imagination and you'll be far ahead of this movie. And I feel bad saying this because the acting really was good and the scenery breathtaking. It was a merging of two opposites that didn't work for me.
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A Plastic Movie
gcarpiceci3 March 2020
I can understand a wide use of CGI for a sci-fi movie: space-ships, aliens, remote stars, etc are hardly available for filming; same for dinosaurs and similia. But for God's sake, The Call Of The Wild features forests, woods, snow and dogs...dogs! Why does one need an ordeal of CGI to film such things? Why does one need to create a fake, digital dog (and the wrong one, at that)? One has to wonder how cinema could exist before the invention of CGI.... As if this were not enough, we are then forced to watch a classic of literature bent to the needs of having a Disney family movie... The last touch of this hall of shame which is The Call Of The Wild is that Buck, our hero CGI'd dog, acts like a human. Yes, the dog which is called back to his wild roots, the dog which undertakes this epic journey from human civilisation to the wilderness of the woods, is made look like a human being. The director could not find a better way to give a dog its own dignity than to make him act and look like a human being, the very same acting like beasts in the very same more stupid can human being be?
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Chris Sanders is a Good Boy
WillsFilms19 February 2020
The Call of The Wild is a solid, incredibly well made movie. Buck is an extremely likeable protagonist who goes on a compelling journey of self discovery. Despite being a dog and not having a word of dialogue, Buck is an incredibly interesting, three dimensional character with a well developed arc. The CGI used to bring him to life is amazing. While it doesn't always look natural, Buck's CGI model is so expressive and can cause the viewer to experience a variety of different emotions, despite not even being there. Harrison Ford also does well as the elderly, depressed John Thornton, carrying a great deal of tragedy and mystery about his past throughout the movie. The movie also features stunning cinematography, with several beautiful shots and camera angles. It's a true joy to look at. However, there are a few problems with the movie. For starters, John Thornton narrates a lot throughout the movie, despite not being present for, and therefore having no way of knowing about, the events that he's describing. Another issue is Dan Stevens' character; Hal. Hal is an entirely unnecessary, one dimensional antagonist, who just doesn't work with the story this movie is trying to tell. His presence also completely derails John Thornton's resolution. However, despite these problems, I still recommend The Call Of The Wild. It's a fantastic movie, with an incredible protagonist and stunningly beautiful visuals that you shouldn't miss.
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If you make a dog movie, make the dog behaves like real dog
liuxinluust7 March 2020
This is a real people movie. Everything in the movie is so fake and all animals behaves weird. This is the animal version of cats. It's a total distortion of the original fiction. You should not get technology in the hand of wrong people.
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arclinecreative23 February 2020
The minute I realized that most of this was filmed in front of a green screen with every animal animated, I knew I was in for a bad movie. And it was. The character played by Dan Stevens, the 'villian' was so ridiculously overacted that I almost laughed out loud. A good movie to take your little children to. But for those of us who like movies made the 'old fashioned way' not.
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For kids under 10
tigr-tigrov22 February 2020
Made strictly for little kids. I've read a book and was emotionally taken on a great journey with its happy and sad moments. Here, I feel like they took away ALL cruelty in order to make it watchable for little kids, but because of it, I wasn't worried and cared very little. Another thing, didn't feel any connection with Buck's masters, specially with John Thornton. Was going too flat, too predictable, too nice, to the point that it felt fake and unreal. CGI was fine, but it still put off, made me believe less. Movie has some visually beautiful scenes, but nothing more. And again, loooots of great, emotional moments from the book wasn't included in the movie. Feel kinda empty walking out of the theater. If you have little kids - take them, otherwise save your time and money.
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Away with the critics
michelhawaii22 February 2020
The 'professional' movie critics have seen too many movies they forget the magic of them. I didn't have any expectations like the folks i mentioned, yet I surprisingly and not surprisingly love it. Yes the characters are cliché. But who cares. It provides for good entertainment that kids, especially, will love. I mean who doesn't love a huge smart and caring dog. The dogs are so realistic that i couldn't find any CGI flaw. Their expressions were far better than the (acclaimed) Lion King last rendition. I have 2 dogs, a small and a big one. I can tell you that the dogs expressions and reactions are spot on without being out of touch like the Lion King. For once they don't talk. Although at some point i could easily imagine complete dialogs. Ford's charismatic presence made up for the rest of the movie. I came out of the movie light hearted and happy, unlike after a MacDonald meal that makes you wonder what you just ate.
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Didn't realize the dogs were going to be animated/CGI
afriedman-2159027 February 2020
Had I known this was going to be a partially animated film I would've never gone to see it. The whole connection between man and canine is what I was looking forward to and that was completely lost with a computer animated dog. As a result I walked out halfway through. I'm sure it's probably a good movie for kids but that's not what I was looking for. Very disappointed.
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CGI should BANNED from the Oscars
GregClapton21 February 2020
There just isn't any reason to watch these "fabricated movies" anymore. If want CGI I'd watch a comic-book cartoon which is what this really is and that's a shame. Gone are the days where it took real actors and animals had to interact with each other and then you saw the magic between them. The Oscars should ban any movie that has CGI fakery or have a special category for them that is "special manufactured characters/animals" and not be eligible for best movie. I see a bleak future where ALL movie characters are fake and the human beings and animals are no longer part of the Hollywood magic, only computer nerds and fake reality will exist. Thank god for books and digital copies lol.
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Adventures of Han Solo and his CGI Dog
mblakey3321 February 2020
Nice story in some ways. Understand it's a family/kids movie, but I didn't enjoy it. I was bored at times and looking at my watch counting down the time until it ended. The CGI dogs just didn't do it for me - at times they did seem real but others you could obviously tell they weren't. The up and down story also would be pretty confusing to some younger people. Harrison Ford is just now milking what ever he could muster up from Hollywood.
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4 adults wished we hadn't wasted our money
sharibennett-1429228 February 2020
We didn't enjoy this movie at all - slow, boring, way too much and exaggerated CGI.
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Old Yeller, Lassie, Rin Tin Tin? Not quite. Not a fan of a CGI dog etc
2828657488121 February 2020
This movie is a joke. What is the purpose if all the animals in the movie are CGI generated. It takes the fun out of it. Like someone else posted, reminds me of a Scooby Doo movie. Do yourself a favour and do not see it.
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The CGI Monstrosity
Grumphy25 February 2020
If you can get past that absurdly poor attempt at CGI, then maybe you're capable of believing that the thing that looks like a dog, might almost resemble one (albeit with no reproductive organs whatsoever).

I made a mistake and didn't watch the trailer. (Trailers tend to bore me more often than not.) I walked out from the theatre about 15 minutes in. I just couldn't swallow what I was being fed any longer. So, I'm only judging the film based on the "dog".

However, the poor CGI creature wasn't perhaps even its biggest fault. But. If you combine that with the filmmaker's (who've apparently never seen a real canine before) idea of a dog, you get this eerily anthropomorphic disneyesque product designed for six-year-olds'. The bottom line is: this is not how dogs behave. No matter how intelligent they may be.

Why wasn't it adapted into a straight animation? This, as it is, does not work for me. Insult to anyone who owns a dog. Or rather - to all the dogs.
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Gets better as it goes on
bexhillz21 February 2020
When I first started watching this movie, I didn't think I was going to enjoy it, due to some of the scenes at the start, but as the movie went on, it got more and more BRILLIANT
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Heartwarming adventure
masonsaul19 February 2020
The Call of the Wild is a familiar but heartwarming adventure that's surprisingly funny and emotional. The CG dog is great and conveys lots of emotions and the CG in general is also great, though it has moments where it dips in quality. Harrison Ford is amazing and Omar Sy gives a really good supporting performance. Chris Sanders' direction is great and there are some thrilling set pieces. It's well filmed, well paced and the music by John Powell is fantastic.
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Sweet, innocent, old school movie
theojhyman20 February 2020
I was actually very impressed with the CGI dog, who became more and more real as the film went on, probably because of how emotionally involved you become with his character. Harrison Ford is great (though in the film for probably 50% of the time). Anyway, it's all about the story of Buck the dog and it's a sweet, lovely, story with an old school feel. The CGI expressions on Buck's face are just slightly hyper-real, as in a bit overly emotive compared to a dog in reality, but it works, and if you like dogs, then you'll love Buck and his adventures in this movie. He gets treated quite harshly and violently at times, but that makes his story all the more emotional at the end. Great for kids aged 7 and up and great for parents who like an old school movie or fans of Harrison Ford too!
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