20th Century Fox | Release Date: February 21, 2020
6.4
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 55 Ratings
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29
Mixed:
21
Negative:
5
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6
ChrisMizerakFeb 22, 2020
In order to get into a family adventure film such as “The Call of the Wild”, the first thing you’d need to be able to do is reasonably manage your suspension of disbelief. Because if you are unable to do that, you won’t buy into anything thatIn order to get into a family adventure film such as “The Call of the Wild”, the first thing you’d need to be able to do is reasonably manage your suspension of disbelief. Because if you are unable to do that, you won’t buy into anything that happens within its story and the experience will be ruined as a result. And that’s exactly what happened with me when watching “The Call of the Wild”. The story of this film centers on Bud, a dog from the South who gets kidnapped and sent to the Yukon/Northern landscape where he eventually becomes a sled dog, initially against his wishes. As he finds his ever-changing true calling through navigating the wild landscape, he shares a bond with a kindly old man, played by Harrison Ford, who treats him as an equal. Getting this out of the way bright and early, the biggest problem that sinks this film overall was the decision to have the central protagonist entirely computer-generated from beginning to end. In all fairness, I understand to a degree why this strategy was taken. To prevent animal cruelty or forcing animals, namely dogs, into training they are clearly not suited for. But if you’re going to take an approach like this to appease your public relations, couldn’t you at least do a better job at convincing us that a dog is really there? Yes, the CGI creation in question is still a dog, but it doesn’t really behave or feel like one. Now I’m not claiming to be a vet or an expert on animal behavior. Far from it. But even then, I know this much. Animals such as dogs by nature do not have the degree of facial expressions that Bud and a few other wildlife creatures in this film exert. Furthermore, all animals in the wildlife for better or worse act on their instincts, especially dogs. A fact that is semi-ignored when developing this story. Don’t get me wrong. The random instincts for Bud are there, but they’re all too conveniently placed into the mechanics of the plot. And if I know something about animals, it’s that this should not be the case. “The Call of the Wild” would have played much better if the animals gave into their instincts much more. To the film’s credit, it establishes a clear connection between Bud and the black wolf he sees occasionally at certain points. It’s crystal clear that the wolf represents his instincts, and it sets up an interesting concept that this film really should have explored a lot more. Instead, we get in its place an overly obvious, disjointed, and hammy narrative involving a search for gold in the true wilderness with an outright cartoonish antagonist, played by Dan Stevens who painfully overacts his role. Ford does fine here with a fairly standard character acknowledging the journey Bud has been on. It’s not much to work off of, but he’s reliable with the overall execution. There are a handful of moments that were amusing, mostly related to the messes Bud makes within the first half and not knowing what’s right or wrong. That is until he miraculously becomes a perfect saint where everything he does is for a reason, part of the aforementioned convenience that makes the developments in the narrative unreliable and unconvincing. For a film titled “The Call of the Wild”, this film should have ventured much further into the wild than it ends up doing. Instead, it’s just content to go with the painfully obvious, tame, and safe when it comes to its sense of storytelling. What the story may have in competence, pacing and adhering to tried-and-true formulas, it severely lacks in spontaneity, inspiration and subtlety. “The Call of the Wild” is clearly not the calling to mother nature that we had in mind. Expand
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4
TVJerryFeb 25, 2020
Even though Harrison Ford is billed as the star, his story doesn't start until an hour into the movie. First, we watch the protagonist pooch get kidnapped and transported to Gold Rush Alaska, where he's conscripted into a sled dog team toEven though Harrison Ford is billed as the star, his story doesn't start until an hour into the movie. First, we watch the protagonist pooch get kidnapped and transported to Gold Rush Alaska, where he's conscripted into a sled dog team to deliver the mail. None of this matters because the script is so excessively precious and corny. Making matters SO much worse is the horribly computerized canine creation. Not only do they anthropomorphize him to an absurd degree, but they have him doing things that no dog could ever intuit, much less perform. I'd say the scenery is beautiful, but not sure how much of that is computer generated either. Children (who can be less discriminating) will probably enjoy the oversized emotions, minimal grittiness and sweet canine star, but author of the novel Jack London must be rolling over…and I mean that as a dog trick. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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5
tropicAcesFeb 21, 2020
Perfectly fine, I have no major issues with it. It’s just randomly dark for a kids film (murder, demon wolves and blood fights), and the CGI dogs often look off-putting (this thing cost $125 million!! Who approved this?)
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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6
Compi24Feb 26, 2020
Never mind the laughable CGI. Doing so would neglect the critical issue at the crux of this shockingly middling (I honestly expected it to be a whole lot worse) project. This is an attempt to turn an unflinchingly bleak and austere novel fromNever mind the laughable CGI. Doing so would neglect the critical issue at the crux of this shockingly middling (I honestly expected it to be a whole lot worse) project. This is an attempt to turn an unflinchingly bleak and austere novel from the early twentieth century into a children's film for the year 2020. The results are astoundingly complex in quality, and not in a particularly good way. The best way I can put is thus; the first 45 minutes of this movie are obnoxious and silly beyond repair, and the last 45 minutes are much more focused and emotionally resonant. There's an honest-to-God night and day difference between the two halves. First, you're witnessing a ludicrous, barely-of-this-reality-looking canine emoting for dear life against CGI backdrop after CGI backdrop, complete with slapstick and anthropomorphisms galore. Then, we end with a plaintive, melancholy meditation on life, death and the cruel reality of nature, featuring a much less cartoonish-acting -- and, thus much more palatable-looking -- doggo at the center. It's infuriating how much better the second half of this movie is than the first. So goes yet another film to toss into the "Tale Of Two Movies" case file. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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5
moviemitch96Mar 8, 2020
It's based off a classic novel and Harrison Ford's usually pretty reliable, so I figured I'd give it a go. And unfortunately, I really don't have much to say on this one other than its story feels very loosely-structured in comparison to theIt's based off a classic novel and Harrison Ford's usually pretty reliable, so I figured I'd give it a go. And unfortunately, I really don't have much to say on this one other than its story feels very loosely-structured in comparison to the novel, and I've always felt as though a film can focus strictly on animals rather than humans for only so long before becoming a bit tedious. In addition, every single dog in this film is very painfully obviously CGI, which didn't sit too well with me. The bond between Ford and the main dog was endearing at times, and there are some cool shots and scenes throughout, but none of it's really enough to make the rest of the film worthwhile. Expand
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5
AxeTMar 2, 2020
Knowing this was coming for some time but without looking into it being based on the classic novel, imagined an intense thinking man's survival adventure like "The Revenant" and perfect for Harrison Ford as an action swan song of sorts only aKnowing this was coming for some time but without looking into it being based on the classic novel, imagined an intense thinking man's survival adventure like "The Revenant" and perfect for Harrison Ford as an action swan song of sorts only a rare very few could pull off at that age. Well, it's not that! From the trailer it was instantly clear the dog is not real and it's a problem even if many viewers don't outright realize it, they'll sense it (it does push the envelope technically and soon you won't be able to tell). Ford is as usual completely convincing. As legendary a mega star and great actor as he is, somehow he's still under-rated. This movie would rate slightly lower but for a good classical story, however unoriginal. Expand
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5
moviecritic68Mar 4, 2020
Guess I was expecting a little more out of the story since Harrison Ford was in it. It had your "Old Yeller" moments if you are old enough to remember that film. Basically a feel good story with a digital dog being the main heroic character
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5
Tony1984Feb 25, 2020
An enjoyable family movie and a chance to see Harrison Ford in a lead of sorts, which we won't have much opportunity to do in the future I don’t think. The CGI takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do, you can really appreciate it.An enjoyable family movie and a chance to see Harrison Ford in a lead of sorts, which we won't have much opportunity to do in the future I don’t think. The CGI takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do, you can really appreciate it. It's very well done.
The supporting cast is not so hot, either one-dimensionally bad or one-dimensionally nauseatingly good (The support casting is a tad strange to be honest) but it's a kids movie so nevermind. They will struggle to make the $125 mill back methinks despite the feelgood heartstrings factor. It’s more on the mediocre side than good I’m afraid.
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6
joeyabukiFeb 27, 2020
It's a movie to spend some time if you have nothing better to do. I don't understand how Disney release this in theaters and Togo in Disney+, of Togo has much better production, cinematography and performances than this home movie.
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5
JLuis_001Feb 27, 2020
Harrison Ford was fine but the whole film failed to be more interesting. To be honest I enjoyed Togo a lot more.
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6
theredskyMar 5, 2020
The Call of the Wild is a strange film. All the pieces for a great movie are here but the studio or Director choose to be lazy instead of taking advantage of the opportunity. If you have seen any clips or trailers from this film then you knowThe Call of the Wild is a strange film. All the pieces for a great movie are here but the studio or Director choose to be lazy instead of taking advantage of the opportunity. If you have seen any clips or trailers from this film then you know that they animated a dog instead of using a real dog. It’s not just the dog they created in CGI. They did it to every single animal. It’s incredibly lazy and distracting. It’s not that the animals look bad, it's just uncanny. It looks like a dog and acts like a dog but it doesn’t feel like a dog. At certain points within the film, the dog will make “human expressions”. It feels out of place. The movie feels like it honestly should have been animated. I would have really liked this movie if it had been animated but I wouldn’t have loved it. The film still has issues in the character and editing category. Most of the characters in the film were pretty good such as Harrison Ford and Omar Sy but Dan Stevens' performance and character/villain was pretty awful. His performance was so over the top that it was distracting. I normally like over the top performances but this wasn’t the kind of over the top I like. His character was pretty awful too. He is supposed to be the main antagonist but he is only in the film for about 5 minutes. He feels more like a plot device than a character. While Steven’s character is pretty bad, Ford and Sy’s characters were pretty good. Both of their characters were fleshed out and were very likeable. Their performances added to this likeability. Harrison Ford did a great job. I honestly felt that this is one of his better performances in a long time. He brought a lot of depth and vulnerability to his performance and made his character relatable and interesting. Omar Sy did a pretty good job. His performance wasn’t on the same level as Ford’s but he still was enjoyable to see on screen. The plot of the film and its sequence of events was surprisingly really well done and emotional. The film is fast paced all the way through and the film is able to successfully deliver emotional punches with the human characters but not for the CGI animals. The only issue I took with the structure and sequence of events was how the second half of the film was much better than the first half. The first half of the film has good performances but the plot hasn’t fully kicked into gear yet so it’s not as interesting. The second half is when Harrison Ford comes in and the film becomes much much better. Most of the film’s technical aspects were pretty good too. The cinematography was pretty good for the most part but did have some beautiful establishing shots. The score by John Powell was great and helped add some emotion to certain scenes but the editing wasn’t that great. It wasn’t terrible but it was noticeably awkward when it transitioned to other scenes. Overall, The Call of the Wild has all the pieces to make a good film but decides to take the lazy route and animate all the animals muting some of the emotional weight. Expand
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4
jalbertaMar 15, 2020
The use of CGI was noticeable to me and it surely did affect my enjoyment. Not in a good way. Those who were unaffected by this seemed to like the Movie. Sadly, liberties are also taken with this adaption of London's classic book. I'd hopedThe use of CGI was noticeable to me and it surely did affect my enjoyment. Not in a good way. Those who were unaffected by this seemed to like the Movie. Sadly, liberties are also taken with this adaption of London's classic book. I'd hoped they would stick to the real story. Expand
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6
BatMiteFeb 24, 2020
A story about the journey of dog who seemingly had it all but is quickly thrown into the wild to discover himself. The main protagonist of the film is Buck, a CGI canine that is funny and quirky enough as we see him grow into the leader andA story about the journey of dog who seemingly had it all but is quickly thrown into the wild to discover himself. The main protagonist of the film is Buck, a CGI canine that is funny and quirky enough as we see him grow into the leader and alpha dog he needed to be. The plot of the film is nothing new or clever but has plenty of fun interactions of more CGI dogs that is just enough to make this film passable. Harrison Ford gives a good performance for the minimal screen time he is given. The movie never really shows us why the story of Buck had to really happen it all just kind of does as well as Ford's character has some background but not enough to satisfy his arc. It's a movie safe enough to watch with the family albeit it is an adorably mediocre movie. Expand
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6
fiftywordreviewMar 3, 2020
Thinly written characters and an overabundance of CGI can be off-putting, but The Call of the Wild finds success as an enjoyable if predictable crowd-pleaser. Be prepared for a generic plot but ultimately rewarding adventure.
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6
SpacemanGaryFeb 27, 2020
Overall I'm against resurrecting dead actors through CGI, but they did a semi-convincing job with Harrison Ford. Gives me hope for that new James Dean Vietnam movie.
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5
LeisureFeatureFeb 27, 2020
Shallow feel good story with no real narrative. The CGI animals were among the most convincing performances.
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