Call of the Wild
Please be warned. My cryptic surgeon friend loved the cinematography and special effects while disliking the film. Then again, why trust a surgeon?
If you liked Andy Serkis playing Caesar in the recent Planet of the Apes films and Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, you’ll find enjoyment watching Terry Notary’s performance as Buck, the lead dog in Wild. Contrary to the opinion of several critics, the digitally created dogs are both authentic and a joy to watch.
I saw the film with six friends, all of whom had trouble with a story line that tested your IQ level. Though the cinematography and special effects fortunately buried the film’s weaknesses, Buck repeatedly proved to be smarter than any humans in the entire film. Put another way, Buck made Lassie and Rin Tin Tin look like intellectual lightweights.
Then again, the story of Buck’s maturation from a lead sled dog to a companion of John Thornton (Harrison Ford), an outcast who fled to the Yukon following the death of a son, had some admittedly emotion moments. As expected, Ford commanded your attention in a small role and his love of Buck allowed him to forgive his noble hound for destroying his liquor supply.
Though in many ways this film functioned as more of a children’s movie, it did grab your heart as it concluded. While Thornton had to reconcile abandoning a wife to live as a hermit in the Alaskan wilderness, Buck had to find a place to call home.
Would they have to say goodbye to each other? Would both survive the 1890’s Klondike Gold Rush? Criticize the film’s treatment of Jack London’s famed 1903 novel all you want, but the film’s ending will leave a tiny lump in your throat.