THE CALL OF THE WILD Review — Good Boys, Buck and Harrison Ford!

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The Call of the Wild review — A new take on an old classic, this story of a dog with a heart as big as Alaska is truly fetching.

The Call of the Wild reviewWhy are so many viewers skittish about seeing the latest big screen retelling of The Call of the Wild when they hear the dogs are animated? Even when I try to assure them that the indomitable Buck looks almost as real as Simba in the latest Lion King, and that filmmakers have used state of the art CGI, they’re still hesitant. C’mon guys — this is a wild and wooly tale of life during the Klondike Gold Rush! Would you prefer they use real dogs and train them to look like they’re fighting each other, merciless weather conditions and relentlessly cruel owners? I think not.

Know that it’s a lovely, heartwarming telling of the classic tale that has earned a PG rating, so some viewers will also be disappointed if they expect the rugged brutality of the original story. Personally, I’m fine without it. I think dog lovers and children alike would much rather see the engaging canines run away into the wilderness than be savaged by other animals. Maybe they’ll find a good home…

So now that I’ve assured you that these dogs are not only realistic and engaging, but do all sorts of crazy things you never could or would want to train a real dog to do, we must move on to the human element. Although popular actors like Dan Stevens, Bradley Witford and Karen Gillen are involved, their parts are small. Harrison Ford is the real star, as he should be. He’s truly invested in this role, unlike some of his other work recently, and his performance is made all the more impressive when you consider the fact that he’s not really reacting to Buck at all, but rather place holding substitutes.

Director Chris Sanders has taken all the skills learned from other celebrated franchises like The Croods, How to Train Your Dragon and Lilo and Stitch, and created an endearing, creative, kid-friendly film. I just want to hug it.

Rated PG

1 Hour 50 Minutes

If this The Call of the Wild review makes you want to go for a walk to the cineplex, get times and tickets at Fandango.com.

The Call of the Wild review — A new take on an old classic, this story of a dog with a heart as big as Alaska is truly fetching.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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THE CALL OF THE WILD Review — Good Boys, Buck and Harrison Ford!