I really am more of a cat person.
I do love Harrison Ford, and he is great in this movie. Unfortunately, I had checked out way before Ford ever showed up in this adaptation of the classic Jack London novel.
The Call of the Wild is the story of a dog named Buck who gets abducted from his domestic bliss and winds up in the Yukon as a sled dog under the control of a variety of masters.
I was out of this movie immediately because of the fact that Buck (and all of the other dogs as well) were CGI in this movie and it was CGI that was simply not very well done. Buck felt more like a cartoon character you might see in a Scooby Doo movie than a real dog involved in an iconic story. I just could not get past the manner in which Buck was portrayed in this movie and, despite the fact that I enjoyed the Harrison Ford component of the story and that the look of the scenery was lovely, this animated dog just was so poorly done I could not forgive it.
Sure, the film is heart-warming and a pretty solid film for the family. If you can get past the way that Buck looks and the fact that the dog is more human than many of the other characters in the film, then you probably will love this movie.
However, I could not get past it. Besides Buck, there was a villain involved here named Hal (which I had no idea and had to look up on IMDb to get his character name). Hal (Dan Stevens) is the total mustache-twirling villain with zero motivation outside of “gold” and… “evil.” Hal has to be an early year leading candidate for Worst Villain.
There needed to be considerably more Harrison Ford here than what we got. He does not come into serious use until late in the movie. The first forty-five minutes to an hour had only a few slight uses of Ford. His character had an interesting background and a real reason to be the way he was, and I could have used more of that.
Yes, I know that the movie was following Jack London’s book more and there is a chunk of time spent with Buck as a sled dog with French mail delivery man Perrault (Omar Sy), but I needed more of Ford and there was no reason they could not have set this up as two characters who were destined to meet and then we spend time with both.
Dog lovers may love this movie. I found the CGI terribly distracting and unnecessary. There were some laugh out loud moments of unintentional comedy that distracted from the deadly serious survival tale of the original novel. The film could be worse, but it could also be much better too.