Movie Review: ‘The Call of the Wild’ Overcomes Horrible CGI


Harrison Ford is one of the most reliable actors in filmmaking. Even as he ages, he just seems to become more steadfast. Which is an important quality in a movie like ‘The Call of the Wild’, because without his presence this movie might certainly have failed.

The story doesn’t need to be lingered on much here. It’s a literary classic and we’ve seen versions of this dog out of place becoming the head of a dog sled team many times before. In fact, if you have Disney Plus then I strongly recommend watching ‘Togo’ instead of this. The thing that stands out with this film is Ford and the use of CGI. Ford is a plus, but the CGI is not.

For some reason, and I’m assuming it’s because of the fact that Buck the dog couldn’t do a lot of the stuff they want him to do here, they chose to use very poor CGI for Buck’s action. This is sometimes a little jarring and other times completely laughable. Bottom line, it’s a bad idea and completely degrades an otherwise decent film.

Luckily, everything else around this is top notch. The aforementioned Ford is excellent. The cinematography is beautiful at times. And John Powell’s score often soars. Which makes scenes that might come off as hokey because of the CGI, transcend their limitations. Plus, there is just no denying the power of man’s best friend stories. I’m not even a big animal guy and I feel the emotion from these bonds like this.

So, despite some very noticeable issues, this movie is worth watching. It’s not the best man and beast story by any stretch of the imagination, but it works. And I believe most audiences will enjoy their experience.

Nathan Ligon

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