Finding yourself is the topic of an array of self-help books, videos and seminars. Going through life, challenges wait around every corner; the only sure thing is that the wilderness is ready to confront us at every turn. In the film The Call of the Wild, based on Jack London’s classic, viewers go along on the journey to the Yukon Territory to see how a man and a dog deal with the obstacles placed in their way.
Buck is a dog who owns his small California town. He can get away with almost anything, as he is the dog owned by the local judge. Buck is a giant beast and, as such, catches the eye of a dog thief, who removes him from his comfortable life and takes him far north to be sold as a sled dog.
In the harsh, snowy Alaskan wilderness, Buck, because of his pure size, is chosen by Perrault (Omar Sy) to be added to Perrault and Francoise’s (Cara Gee) dog team tasked with delivering the mail. It takes Buck a bit to assimilate to the alpha dog in the group, but he soon falls in line and continues his journey into the wild. It’s a trek that will enlighten the mighty beast and awaken a call within him.
John Thornton (Harrison Ford) is in the Yukon for other reasons. He has come for solitude amid the gaggle of individuals seeking the promise of gold. Much like the dog, John searches for his purpose as a tragic event has changed his life. He thinks the solitude of the wilderness will be just the ointment to recharge and restore.
When Buck’s path intersects John’s, the two will join forces to learn more about themselves through the environment that encompasses them. Both are wandering, both are lost, and both will get some direction from the world around them.
First, the elephant in the room about this offering: Buck is very computer-generated (yes, I need the word VERY there). It is so evident as the movie begins that it is almost comical and off-putting, but then something happened. After Buck arrives in Alaska and gets more screen time against a variety of actors, I bought things. Ford is really good as the grumpy old man who just wants to be alone, and the visuals that come to life take center stage.
This surprised me, as I didn’t think I would enjoy this trip. London’s tale is masterful, and once you put aside the weirdness of the dogs and the expectation that they would talk, I found my enjoyment.
We all answer calls on a daily basis. We all search for ourselves amid the chaos. Maybe to find yourself, it just takes a peek at the wild to open a world of amazing opportunities.
Call of the Wild is available On Demand and on DVD. Check your cable system for availability