A mix of live-action and computer-generated animation, this adaptation of Jack London's classic 1903 novel sees Harrison Ford follow Clark Gable and Charlton Heston in the role of John Thornton.
It's obviously a story that's been told many times, but advances in technology mean it's never been told quite like this - Ford is the first to work alongside computer-generated dogs.
The Call of the Wild follows the journey of a St. Bernard/Scotch Shepherd called Buck, who is uprooted from his cushy life in California and sent to work in Alaska's Yukon in the 1890s. Buck's story is one of enlightenment, as he experiences both cruel and compassionate masters on the way to fulfilling his destiny - a return to the wild.
It's an epic adventure perfect for the tween audience looking for a family film that's an alternative to pure animation. There are plenty of laughs, with Buck winning the audience over in the first five minutes as he goes about his morning routine - chasing the mailman, waking the household and terrifying the kitchen staff.
Sold to work as a sled dog in Alaska, Buck finds a home with a kind mailman, but is then sold to a nasty gold prospector. It's Harrison's Thornton, a heartbroken recluse, who takes Buck on the final leg of his journey into the wild.
Though a dog was on set as a stand-in and to establish the visual look for Buck, Harrison and others acted opposite motion-capture star Terry Notary who acted as Buck. Fans of The Square will know Notary as the performer responsible for traumatising a stuffy art gallery fundraising event with his ape impression.
Notary delivers an emotional performance as Buck, which is almost human-like in its personality and expressions. Buck is stoic, cute, funny and full of empathy, which makes him easy to relate to; however the photorealistic look and performance range also makes him less like a real dog than is needed to really pull you in.
The Call to the Wild is a sweet, moving and fun adventure, but it doesn't pull on the heartstrings as much as expected.
Harrison Ford, Dan Stevens, Omar Sy
An epic adventure told with Disney sweetness.