FILM REVIEW | The Call of the Wild

The classic Jack London novel The Call of the Wild has been adapted for the screen many times, and its latest iteration has just hit cinemas.

Now starring Harrison Ford and a computer-generated dog in the role of big-hearted hound Buck, The Call of the Wild take audiences on one dog's journey from a comfortable life with a wealthy American family to the freezing wilderness of the Yukon in the late 1800s.

The trailers and promotional material for the film would have you believe that Ford is a big part of the The Call of the Wild, but a great deal of the story takes place without him.

Buck is the true star, and while the CGI work is pretty decent, it's just unrealistic enough to occasionally be disconcerting.

The film has plenty of moments of dog-driven humour that will give the kids a laugh, and it's very colourful and bright in a Disney movie kind of way.

But on the other hand, Buck encounters some horrible cases of cruelty and hardship in his journeys and these are really difficult to watch if you're a dog lover.

Gone to the dogs: Harrison Ford stars opposite CGI hound Buck in the latest adaptation of classic novel The Call of the Wild, rated PG, in cinemas now.

Gone to the dogs: Harrison Ford stars opposite CGI hound Buck in the latest adaptation of classic novel The Call of the Wild, rated PG, in cinemas now.

Sensitive kids are likely to have a hard time dealing with these scenes, as are adults with beloved pets.

Apart from the cruelty, the film is almost sickeningly cheery at times.

But the action scenes are fun, Buck has a winning and lovable personality and is genuinely a beautiful (if digitally created) pooch.

A slew of supporting characters come across the canine on his voyage, including mail carriers Perrault (Omar Sy) and Francoise (Cara Gee), cartoonish villain Hal (a ridiculously over-the-top Dan Stevens), his companion Mercedes (Guardians of the Galaxy's Karen Gillan) and Buck's original owner Judge Miller (Bradley Whitford).

The historical setting is certainly interesting.

The plight of prospectors heading to the frozen north in search of gold, leaving their lives and security behind, is fascinating.

Even the role of the postal workers, before the likes of telegrams became available, in this remote, largely inaccessible area is captivating and could be worth a movie in itself.

While there are things to like and things to turn away from, The Call of the Wild, overall, just comes off as a bit synthetic.

Rating: 5.5/10

This story The Call of the Wild movie review | Dog epic both hit and miss first appeared on Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.