The Call of the Wild looks like a perfectly nice movie. Harrison Ford grew a beard and signed up to make a family film, which is surprising, since he seems like he’d rather…not do that sort of thing. But here he is, starring in Call of the Wild as John Thornton, who sets off on an adventure with a big dog named Buck. Buck is the real star of this movie, and he’s also completely digitally animated, which is just a little weird. Watch a new Call of the Wild clip below, where Harrison Ford meets Buck for the first time.
The Call of the Wild Clip
In the grand scheme of things, it’s probably best to make a movie like The Call of the Wild with a digital dog. For one thing, since the dog is pretty much the main character, making him animated allows the filmmakers to better control him. There’s no need to hire animal trainers and several different dogs just to get things done. And then there’s the added factor of safety: having a digital dog ensures that a real animal (or animals) won’t end up exploited, or injured, or abused (even by accident).
All that said, the digital dog here looks really god damn weird. No offense to the animators, who I’m sure put in countless hours to make this happen. The copy for this clip even talks up the use of “cutting edge visual effects and animation technology in order to render the animals in the film as fully photorealistic – and emotionally authentic – characters.” It’s just hard to watch this and not have an uncanny valley situation kick in, where you’re constantly thinking: “That’s not a real dog.” But hey, this is a movie aimed at youngsters, and perhaps they won’t give a hoot about any of that.
The Call of the Wild focuses on “Buck, a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life is turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of the Yukon during the Gold Rush of the 1890s. As the newest rookie on a mail delivery dog sled team–and later its leader–Buck experiences the adventure of a lifetime, ultimately finding his true place in the world and becoming his own master.”
In addition to Harrison Ford and Buck the cartoon dog, The Call of the Wild features Dan Stevens, Omar Sy, Karen Gillan, Bradley Whitford, and Colin Woodell. Look for it in theaters February 21, 2020.
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