Oh Buck ‘The Call of The Wild’ (Movie Review)

The Call of the Wild Movie ReviewHowl there everybody! If you guys couldn’t tell I went to see the screening for The Call of the Wild (2020) last week. My anticipation for this movie was through the roof! I am actually being somewhat sincere about this. The preview for The Call of the Wild (2020), if I’m not mistaken, came on before the screening of Dolittle (2020) back in January. This was a rare occasion. The good friend of mine I went to see Dolittle (2020) with can attest to this. After viewing the trailer for The Call of the Wild (2020) my friend and I had concluded that this “live action” film was made almost entirely of CG. Now this is not a terrible thing. Most films will have a considerable amount of CG put into them whether it be for vast and lavish landscapes or even to the tiniest grain of sand. However, my main concern was “will this film feel somewhat convincing?” Well I’m here to tell you guys all about it. Let’s embark!

The Call of the Wild (2020) is an adventure/family/drama directed by Chris Sanders, who was the writer of Lilo & Stitch (2002), How to Train your Dragon (2010), The Croods (2013), and last, but not least, Mulan (1998). The film is based on the novel of the same name, written by the late Jack London, and receives a screenplay by Michael Green, writer of Logan (2017) and Blade Runner 2045 (2017). The film stars Buck, our CG, dog protagonist, played by Terry Notary who is a gymnast that works as a movement choreographer for more films that I can list in this review! Look him up sometime though. Notary is to thank for the locomotion of a plethora of characters we see on the big screen today. Major props! The rest of the cast consists of Harrison Ford, no introduction needed there, Karen Gillan, Cara Gee, Dan Stevens, Bradley Whitford, Jean Louisa Kelly, Omar Sy, Wes Brown, Preston Bailey, Stephanie Czajkowski, Colin Woodell, Alex Solowitz, Adam Fergus, Michael Horse and way too many more to list.  The film is produced by Erwin Stoff, the producer of such films like The Matrix (1999), I Am Legend (2007), Chain Reaction (1996), and Edge of Tomorrow (2014). I’ve seen at least three out of the four aformentioned films and they all had a very fitting look to them. The production values for The Call of the Wild (2020) feature a high quality and consistency, even when it comes to dressing the muddy streets of a coastal Alaskan town. The attention to detail in both the CG assets and the live action portions are not lacking by any means. Though the visuals are all well and good let’s not forget about story and character development. Shall we?

The Call of the Wild Movie Review

As mentioned before the trailer for The Call of the Wild (2020), I believe, was shown before the screening for Dolittle (2020). If you read my Dolittle review you know that I was not a huge fan of that film. It just went on and on and had very little substance or takeaway from it. Once the animals started speaking, Dolittle (2020) became kind of a cringe-worthy mess. Now getting back to The Call of the Wild (2020). The film got cute from time to time, but not in a “trying too hard” type of way. The animators used much more subtle ways to show emotion and personally in the CG animal cast members. Although the film kept the CG star and costars relatively believable, there were many moments in which the realistic animals did act and emote a little more like humans than expected. It seemed as if at any moment these CG animals would speak if the script allowed it. The portions in which the animals took on more anthropomorphic  actions seemed to bring me out of the film a little. I mean I see what they were intending to do, but it drew more attention to the fact that these animals, as real as they seem, just aren’t at the end of the day. I will say this at least, the story was straight forward and Buck does transform and grow. Don’t worry I’ll give you guys a little more background on this.

The Call of the Wild (2020) starts out with our furry friend Buck (Notary) making his way through town. Buck is this St. Bernard-looking dog. He is huge and pretty much terrorizes the town. After chasing the mailman all the way home and scarfing down some celebratory roast, Buck settles in for the night… outside on the porch. During the night Buck is lured into a trailer and is essentially stolen from his family. It is from this one incident that Buck’s world is changed forever. Buck experiences a “riches to rags” type of story, but ultimately grows in unexpected ways along his journey.

The Call of the Wild (2020) was a much better film than I anticipated, despite it not really being my thing. Though I appreciate all the work that went into making these CG animals look and, somewhat, feel like real animals I feel that the uncanny valley still prevails. Trust me, I have an understanding of what goes into making these features possible, but when something seems off it is hard to shake that feeling. The only excuse I give to the film is the fact that it was consistent with the CG animals being a little more aware and emotive than actual animals. The Call of the Wild (2020) is worth a watch, much more than Dolittle (2020), but nothing to rush to the theater to see.

The Call of the Wild Movie Review


1 Response to “Oh Buck ‘The Call of The Wild’ (Movie Review)”

  1. Gregg

    Great coverage but where’s the score?