Movie Review: Call of the Wild

Alex Ramirez, Staff Writer

 

Books are a timeless medium, there’s no doubt about that.  But they’re oftentimes set up for being adapted to film, and  Call of the Wild is one of these cases. The film centers around Buck, a big dog with a big heart, as he’s taken from his warm home in California into the cold Alaskan Yukon.  He runs into a man named John Thorton, whom he grows a close bond with as they traverse through a wilderness that may be calling to Buck. It is worth noting that, despite its PG rating, the film has some surprisingly mature moments and themes, from John’s depression and alcoholism to just how violent the film can get. 

 

The film is a visual delight full of fresh and vibrant environments, from the frigid ice caps to the lush Yukon forests.  Speaking of visuals, the film presents Buck and most of the other dogs in ways cinema has mostly never been shown canines before.  Rather than using entirely real dogs and risk them getting hurt or killed, they use mostly CGI dogs in order to get away with action scenes and to show their emotions in ways real dogs are unable to.

 

While not the main focus, the acting from the human characters is also spot on.  From Harrison Ford’s rugged portrayal of John Thorton to Dan Stevens’s performance as the film’s malicious antagonist, it really felt like every actor and actress was carefully selected for each role.  Even the less prominent actors really helped bring the book to life.

 

Overall, Call of the Wild is a film full of heartfelt moments that’ll make you both laugh and cry as you root for Buck and his human companions.  This is a film that is a must-watch for both fans of the book and dog lovers in general, as well as the casual movie-goer. It may have some moments that might be scarier for younger children, but it doesn’t detract from the film’s overall