HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Furnace, The
Tyrel
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
   
 
  Call of the Wild, The Wolfing It Down
Year: 2020
Director: Chris Sanders
Stars: Harrison Ford, Omar Sy, Cara Gee, Dan Stevens, Bradley Whitford, Jean Louisa Kelly, Michael Horse, Karen Gillan, Colin Woodell, Micah Fitzgerald, Heather McPhaul, Adam Fergus, Stephanie Czajkowski, Abraham Benrubi, Thomas Adoue Polk, Terry Notary
Genre: Western, Drama, Action, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1897 and in North America there is a gold rush on, especially in The Yukon area of Alaska, where dogs are needed to pull the sleds. Further south, one dog is Buck, a pampered pooch who is allowed to get away with quite a bit by the wealthy family of Judge Miller (Bradley Whitford), though he decides to rethink his leniency when Buck destroys a family gathering by devouring all their food in one fell swoop. Therefore that night, instead of letting the dog into the house, the Judge makes him sleep on the porch, where he catches the attention of a passing dognapper who lures Buck into the back of his cart and crates him up, then sends him all the way to Alaska to pull those sleds...

Jack London was the biggest writer around at the turn of the nineteenth century into the twentieth, and with the newly arrived film industry just establishing itself around the same point, looking for stories to adapt, his works were snapped up. This means London's success was contemporaneous with the rise of cinema, and while many a writer of his era has gone on to be forgotten all these years later, his books and short tales, with their clear, fastmoving style, have never gone out of fashion with adapters, as seen by this version of his biggest novel in terms of sales, The Call of the Wild. Director Chris Sanders wanted to be as faithful as he could to London's intentions here.

To do so he used his skills as an animation director to bring Buck to life, a mixture of animation, actual dog sounds, and motion capture expert Terry Notary acting out the animal's movements over which, effectively, a cartoon dog was placed. You notice the cast talking to the dog not only as if it would understand what they were saying, but as if it would answer back like it was Scooby-Doo or something, and there was a degree of anthropomorphism going on in how it interacted - though it did not actually speak, and unlike The Shaggy Dog, didn't drive a car either. As a newly renamed 20th Century production, it was under the Disney banner, however, and it did resemble one of theirs.

The Disney animal movies had historically been both animation and live action (Old Yeller traumatised a generation way back when, after all), so you could observe this combination of both was an obvious way to go forward, especially when training animals for use in film and television was becoming socially problematic, if the creatures were involved in anything potentially dangerous. Technically, The Call of the Wild was a Western, and you may muse to ponder if CGI horses to ride on would ever be a thing when watching this, but this was one oater where dogs were more important than nags, as they were employed (or forced) to pull the sleds important to the plot, with Buck making sure the post got to its destination on time.

For about half the story, anyway, but this was merely a stepping-stone to the hound finding itself in a fundamental manner, which again was in tune with the twenty-first century view of preservation and celebration of nature. The postpersons were played by Omar Sy and Cara Gee, the former a welcome sight as many were the Westerns from the previous century that ignored the presence of black folks, be they cowboys or otherwise. But Harrison Ford was the first-billed star, even though the CGI dog was the main character, and he appeared a few times before making his mark as Buck's owner after saving him from sadistic gold obsessive Dan Stevens, whose sister was played by Karen Gillan in a role so brief it suggested she had signed on to share a scene with Ford rather than be enthused by any substantial acting opportunities. As an adventure, if nothing else it showed London's storytelling instincts were a classic skill, and while you were never convinced Buck was a real dog, it was a traditional, enjoyable yarn. Sweeping music by John Powell.

[20th Century's Blu-ray has a range of informative featurettes and the trailer as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1115 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: