Movie Review: Harrison Ford keeps CGI flawed “The Call of the Wild” from becoming Arctic Scooby-Doo

Some of the decisions made with the latest retelling of the Jack London classic “The Call of the Wild” work and some don’t. The latter is the unfortunately bad CGI of it’s main protagonist in an effort to make him more human, while the former is bringing in an all time great to shore up the emotional weight, resulting in an enjoyable but flawed family film.

Buck is just a big and clumsy family dog, who finds himself getting in trouble all of the time. When abducted from his home in the southlands one night, he is shipped to the great white north during the gold rush, where strong dogs help their masters through the tough terrain in an effort to find great fortune. Throughout his journey, Buck makes friends and enemies all the while trying to figure out where he truly belongs.

Buck also looks awful. He reminded me of the live action Scooby Doo of the 2000s.

I just don’t know the thought process here. He doesn’t look real and at times it almost feels like he just should have been completely animated and the whole thing should have been done “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” style. It drags the film down and later in our story it looks like a canine rip off of the Lion King.

Luckily almost everything else works out nicely.

And I’m talking about the cast. Harrison Ford is just wonderful as the tragic family man also on a journey of self discovery, while Dan Stevens does well as the villain. Blink and you’ll miss Karen Gillan and Bradley Whitford who do well during their brief time on screen. Director Chris Sanders does give us some great costumes and sets to look at that capture the period nicely, while ensuring the story moves along at a good pace.

I just wish they could have gotten the dog right. He’s worse looking than Sonic the Hedgehog.

Either way, “Call of the Wild” is a decent time for the family at the movies and if you’re a Harrison Ford fan, you’ll enjoy his heartwarming performance given to a man in a motion capture suit.

The Call of the Wild

Grade: B-

Rated: PG

Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes

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