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Call of the Wild

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  • Call of the Wild

    I have been looking forward to seeing this movie and now, having seen it, it has lived up to my expectations. What a nice movie, a good story with just enough excitement to keep things interesting.

    The idea is that a large dog from a southern state ends up as a sled dog in the Yukon, where he eventually encounters a chap who's running away from the world and they leave on an adventure to find their destiny. It's paced very similarly to the old-time Disney movies like Old Yeller and whatnot (I wonder why they've never done a remake of Old Yeller) and has about the same amount of action and peril.

    I see that this movie says "Twentieth Century Studios" with the Fox fanfare, so I guess Disney must have shot the fox.

  • #2
    (NOTE:Our old friend the Spoiler tag does not work in the new forum, so when you see SPOILER, skip ahead to where you see /SPOILER if you don't want to read spoilers.

    Well, different strokes for different folks, I guess.

    I went into this movie really expecting to love it, because I like Harrison Ford and I like this type of movie, and Fox has done well with this type of movies in the past (as in "The Art of Racing in the Rain" and "Marley and Me"). But this movie left me colder than Buck (the dog)'s nose.

    First, the animated dog. He was realistic enough in the looks department, but he was just too fluid and "cartoony"-acting to seem real in the action scenes. It was distracting. They had him doing way too much "crazy dog stuff," especially in the early part of the movie. You expected him to give one of those Wile-E-Coyote looks at the camera whenever something bad was about to happen. I miss the days when they would film a real animal as much as possible and fill in the blanks with non-CGI in creative ways. In Disney's recent "Lion King" and "Jungle Book" movies, the animals were convincingly realistic for the most part. In this movie, there is absolutely no doubt, ever, that you're looking at a photorealistic an animated dog.

    Then the heroics. I wish the people who make these movies would just do a LITTLE research about "how things are" in the wilderness. [SPOILER] For example... a female character falls through the ice in a swift river and is swept away. After her companion tries to find her and fails, the dog dives into the water, finds the person, and BREAKS THROUGH THE ICE FROM UNDERNEATH and somehow hauls her to safety. I mean... come on, I'd expect that in a movie called SuperDog, the Amazing Kryptonian Wonder Canine, but not in a story like this. There's also a scene where the dog picks a bad-guy up, and heaves him into a burning building to his (deserved) death. [/SPOILER]

    Yes, it's that dopey.

    There are other random bits of wilderness stupidity.

    [SPOILER]In the same raging river incident mentioned above, when the person falls through the ice and is swept away, the following bits of nonsense were noted:

    1. The ice is like a clear plate glass window. NO, in real life, river ice (if it's thick enough to walk on) is full of air pockets and you can't see through it at all. (Disclaimer: I'm from the Rocky Mountains, and that's the way river ice is in this area...maybe it's clear as glass in the Yukon.)

    2. The human character searches for the dog, who gets swept away again after saving the woman, by walking about ten feet downstream from the hole, sweeping the snow aside, and gazing into the plate-glass-window ice. And then trying to pound another hole in the ice, apparently unaware that he’d get swept away too if it breaks. And then the dog shows up, having miraculously gotten himself out of the river without help.[/SPOILER]

    There is a lot more ridiculousness I could cite, but you get the idea. OK, one more…. there’s the part about the dog single-pawedly lifting a huge tree off of a guy. Maybe the dog IS from Krypton, get him a red cape!

    Harrison Ford seems to know he's in a dog-turd of a movie, given the acting job he turns in. He's barely in the movie until the second half, and when he does show up, he seems bored with the proceedings. The rest of the human cast is forgettable. There are about eight other dogs in the movie, but they disappear as soon as Ford shows up, with barely any explanation of what happened to them, outside of Harrison intoning "they're gone."

    The sound mix for the score was kind of weird. It was appropriate adventurey music, but it was too soft in the background for my liking, especially in the action scenes.

    Overall, the only redeeming quality this show had for me was the scenery, which was grand, so it gets one star out of five for the cinematography. Other than that.... it's a dog.