’s “The Call of the Wild
” is the Og of anthropomorphized adventure stories, transforming its St. Bernard
-Scotch Collie mix into an engrossing protagonist without turning him into a primal cartoon. The epic 19th century tale of Buck, the domesticated pet who finds himself sold into the Yukon and battling life as a sled dog, maintains a tricky balance: Although London roots his story in the canine perspective, Buck’s back-to-nature plight is always realistic.
It’s a wonder, then, why 20th Century Fox
(now Disney label 20th Century Studios
) decided to adapt London’s story by turning Buck into a motion-capture monstrosity, the most prominent unnatural ingredient in a movie all about the natural world. The 2020 “Call of the Wild
” isn’t all-out atrocity so much as a question mark,
If director Chris Sanders’ family-friendly treatment never devolves into a “Cats”-level atrocity, it’s only because