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19 February 2020 14:58

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This time, though, I'm going to do exactly that by opening with something worth pointing out yet is utterly insignificant when it comes to the bigger picture, and work my way back from there. Why does a film with 'wild' in its title, a film that's about connecting with nature, centre around a motion capture dog instead of a real one? I guess the problem isn't that director Chris Sanders opted to use motion-capture. I reckon it isn't easy to train real dogs to fight like graceful and majestic warriors atop a snowy hill as other felines watch on in nervous anticipation like it's Ip Man vs a Japanese army general (a great scene, by the way). The problem is that it's not believable when there are human characters around, which is 99.9% of the time.

I guess it's supposed to look like the direwolves in Game of Thrones, except every now and again, the dog, Buck, which looks kind of real, does something cartoonish that's diametrically at odds with its realistic design. It's just a meaningless and forgettable TV movie at best — the kind you randomly put on one day in the background while doing the dishes and angrily thinking about your useless boyfriend that should be in the kitchen helping you out instead of sitting on his ass watching football highlights on his phone. (For the record, I'm that useless boyfriend.) It doesn't give you immediate entertainment in the theatre (i.e. Sonic the Hedgehog) and you'll find more to chew on after in a can of minced beef that has been ravaged by ten stray dogs. You can say that The Call of the Wild is a story of a tame house dog who goes on a journey of self-discovery, reconnecting with nature and unleashing the inner beast that lies within itself. You can even say that it's simultaneously a tale of a man who goes on a similar journey as he tries to figure out where home is.

It's more like a condensed and cheap replica of How to Train Your Dragon 3. There's even a scene where we see Buck, a brown dog and his new white wolf girlfriend standing atop a precipice in a magical looking forest as other wolves look up at them in adoration. I'm just saying I thought of HTTYD 3 when I watched this movie because HTTYD 3 told a similar tale infinitely better. Everybody loves Buck, but it's obvious that he doesn't belong. He gets bought by a kind mailman who uses dogs to pull his sleigh across hills and Frozen lakes as he delivers letters.

You think this is the story (but at the same time you can't help but wonder how Harrison Ford fits into all this). A couple of scenes later, it's a pro. Buck, along with the rest of the pack is immediately bought by an aristocrat so cartoonishly evil, I can swear Dan Stevens walked on set one day thinking it was an audition to play a villain in 101 Dalmations and director Chris Sanders decided to just roll with it. As this moustache twirling douchebag whips the dogs around, Harrison Ford's John Thornton comes to the rescue, beats up the villain, nurses Buck to health and they form a camaraderie. There are some scenes where John and Buck do whatever a man and his dog would do in the wild, such as go fishing for gold and bum around. Buck has the hots for her *INSERT MONTAGE* Now Buck is like a full-on creature of the wild or whatever and John starts talking about how he left his wife but regrets doing so. Think about how this story plays out in the How to Train Your Dragon franchise. Think about courting scenes between Lightfurry and Toothless. The End. There are no characters arcs in The Call of the Wild. It's the kind of uninspired nothing-picture that leaves your body as you take your post-movie piss. The telling of the story," said Academy Award-winning actor, Harrison Ford (Star Wars) about taking the role of John Thornton in the 20th Century Studio's presentation of "The Call of the Wild" – arriving in theatres February 21, 2020. The Call of the Wild story began in 1903 when Jack London published the novel "The Call of the Wild" about the journey of a big-hearted dog named Buck, uprooted from his home in Los Angeles to be sold to work as a sled-dog in the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush. Bucks journey takes him through the meeting of different types of people – some loving and some not – before he finds the courage and heart to take control of his own life. Oscar-nominated Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones) plays John Thornton, a mourning father who decides to go on an adventure with a dog named Buck. Harrison Ford's acting has help brand mass appeal to both the Stars Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. Now, sharing the starring role with an animated dog, Ford says this role suits him just fine. I was pleased to read it at the time, but it didn't stick," Harrison admitted. We constructed a story to see the journey of Buck finding his destiny and Thornton resolving his issues." Ford is also set to executive produce Annapurna's drama series "The Staircase" and will reprise his role in the fifth presentation of Indiana Jones in 2021. "I had dogs all my life. They gave me comfort and pleasure," Ford said when questioned about playing beside a dog. We had an actor/gymnast play the part of Buck (while filming)." www.Family.FoxMovies.com/movies/the-call-of-the-wild EVENT: Eunice is founder of the annual "Uplifting Minds II" Entertainment Conference (ULMII), into its 20th year. www.GoFundMe.com/Uplifting-Minds-II-Entertainment-Conference Harrison Ford is the best part of "The Call of the Wild," the latest screen adaptation of Bay Area author Jack London's classic 1903 novel. Ford brings soulfulness and vulnerability to John Thornton, a grieving man who holes up in a cabin hugging a whiskey bottle before meeting a sled dog named Buck. After witnessing Buck being abused, Thornton becomes the dog's caretaker, treating him kindly and receiving affection in return. In longish gray hair and beard and tattered woolen sweaters that suit him wonderfully, Ford exhibits so much feeling here that he transports us back to his work in earlier films like "Witness" and "The Fugitive"; back to when you could make a case for him as a great actor and not just a movie star, or Chewie's cranky companion. Ford seems so real, a quality otherwise hard to find in this PG-rated live action/animation hybrid directed by Chris Sanders ("How to Train Your Dragon"). Here, Buck is a mostly digital creation that only sometimes resembles a real dog. In another moment of kid-movie slapstick, Buck lays waste to a table of food meant for the family. At times in this film, London's magnificent beast is indistinguishable from 1990s movie dog Beethoven. Banished to the porch after ruining the family's meal, Buck is dog-napped, sold and shipped north, where there's demand for strong dogs to accompany Yukon gold seekers. Before meeting Thornton, Buck will be treated cruelly, kindly and cruelly again, and look like a dog 25 percent of the time. Buck does not talk, but he's talked-to a lot, by Thornton and the dog-whispering mail carrier Perreault (a likable Omar Sy) who first attaches Buck to a sled. This requires a lot of facial reaction shots of Buck, leading to a slippery slope of overly dramatic head tilts and other expressions more human than canine. The film loses all touch with reality when Perrault's companion (Cara Gee) gives Buck a roasted animal leg. This moment does not jibe with the dinner-table scene, much less with London's thesis about how being in the wild affects a dog. We will not spoil London's 117-year-old story here, but let's just say Joaquin Phoenix would approve. The movie's anthropomorphism can produce fun moments, however, like one where Buck rallies his fellow sled dogs like a quarterback prodding teammates on 3rd-and-long, leading to some exciting overhead shots of the dog team slicing through the tundra. The script scrubs much of the violence from London's tale, although the killings of a dog and person are implied. But in one curious scene, Thornton, surveying an ancient forest, tells Buck that this is where the dog's ancestors once roamed, as did Thornton's. But most every moment Ford is in on screen is a welcome one. Buck seems more real when in Ford's presence. But much of it seems due to Ford, who, after all, has vast experience keeping it real in effects-heavy movies.