The Call of the Wild Movie Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 19 Old 04-20-2020, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
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The Call of the Wild Movie Review



Adapted from the novel by Jack London, The Call of the Wild tells the story of 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 Canadian Yukon. Blu-ray reviewer Ralph Potts had to opportunity to check out the Digital release and offers his thoughts on the film.



My Thoughts:




Adapted from the novel by Jack London, it vividly brings to the screen the story of 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 Canadian 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.

If I am being honest, the trailer for The Call of the Wild didn’t leave me hankering to see it. After hearing positive feedback from some that had seen it, my interest level went up and, I am glad it did. This is a fun adventure story that revolves around Buck’s journey of self-discovery as his various encounters lead him to find the place where he was destined to be. I haven’t read Jack London’s novel but, that didn’t prevent me from connecting to the story and enjoying its whimsical and heartwarming tale that is ultimately about two old souls seeking answers.

The Call of the Wild isn’t a perfect film, narratively speaking but, it takes aim at its subject matter and more often than not hits the target. I recall being put off by the obvious use of CGI in the trailer but, after seeing the film, felt that it worked quite well given the nature of the telling. I found the approach to its execution, in Buck’s case, was very interesting (you’ll have to check out the bonus features to see what I mean).

Harrison Ford didn’t have as big a part as I thought but, made the most of it when his character entered the story. I really like Omar Sy and enjoyed his performance, along with Cara Gee’s. The small supporting characters played by Bradley Whitford, Jean Louisa Kelly and Karen Gillan weren’t a factor. Dan Stevens as the heavy/villain during the final act didn’t work at all but, it wasn’t substantial enough to detract that much.

When the credits rolled my wife and I looked at each other said the same thing, “that was better than expected”. The Call of the Wild is solid family entertainment that has a little something for kids and their parents. Easily worth the price of admission.

In light of the fact that this digital version included a Dolby Atmos soundtrack I wanted to offer my thoughts on the sound:


Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that made steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects is a mix atmospherics, discrete effects and music. This is done to very good effect and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. During the first act, there are several instances where the mix generates a noticeable improvement in dimension and depth of field.

Beginning with the scene aboard the ship, there are a host of sounds that utilize the overhead channels, creating an involving listening experience. This continues with the film’s action-based sequences, most notably during the avalanche, which conveys the breadth/expanse of the soundstage as the track bristles with enveloping ambience and discretely placed effects. I also found that this applied to mood setting scenes such as the one at night where Buck and John travel down the calm river.

Overall, I would say that viewing The Call of the Wild via the Dolby Atmos mix definitely heightened the experience of watching the film.


Dolby Atmos Rating: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Level of immersion:
  • Soundstage integration:
  • Audio object placement:
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform:
  • Entertainment factor:



The Digital Code I received for The Call of the Wild wasn’t for Ultra HD. I redeemed it on Movies Everywhere/iTunes which was the 1080p version with Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound. In addition to its engaging sound, I found the quality of the streaming video to be excellent. I am uncertain whether or not the Ultra HD/Blu-ray version will be forthcoming given the current circumstances but, I hope to receive a copy.

The Digital version also included the bonus features which is welcomed. My rating for the film, and bonus content is below.



Film:

Bonus Features:


Blu-ray/DVD Release Date: May 12, 2020




Bonus Features:
  • • A Man and His Dog (Digital Exclusive)
    • Origins
    • The On-Set Experience
    • State of the Art
    • The World of the Wild












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post #2 of 19 Old 04-20-2020, 10:24 AM
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Like you, Ralph, the trailer did not motivate me to seek this one out, but glad to hear you enjoyed it so will check it out at some point.

On a different topic...are you not listing overall star ratings on your reviews any more or is there just something preventing that from showing up in the posts?
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post #3 of 19 Old 04-20-2020, 10:48 AM
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Yet another mailed in listless performance from Harrison Ford. He's the in the Bruce Willis phase of his career, collecting paychecks and couldn't care less. Why does he keep getting acting jobs when there are other older actors who still care and take the craft seriously?

Also, PETA should protest that a real dog lost a job and doggie treats to a CGI abomination.
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post #4 of 19 Old 04-20-2020, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCCaniac View Post
Like you, Ralph, the trailer did not motivate me to seek this one out, but glad to hear you enjoyed it so will check it out at some point.

On a different topic...are you not listing overall star ratings on your reviews any more or is there just something preventing that from showing up in the posts?
It is below the ATMOS rating, where it normally is above it. He gave it a 3.5.
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post #5 of 19 Old 04-20-2020, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCCaniac View Post
Like you, Ralph, the trailer did not motivate me to seek this one out, but glad to hear you enjoyed it so will check it out at some point.

On a different topic...are you not listing overall star ratings on your reviews any more or is there just something preventing that from showing up in the posts?
Greetings,

With the current state of affairs receiving physical media from the studios' fulfillment houses (mostly located in southern California) for review is predominantly on hold. I have been able to get some of the digital versions for coverage which enables me to share them with the community here. Since these are not full/typical A/V Blu-ray reviews I have omitting certain aspects of my standard review template.

If you note there are ratings for the film and bonus material and, if relevant (such as in this case) ratings for the audio (Atmos track).


Any reviews that I post where I have received review physical review product are the same as always. Hopefully things will soon get to a point where physical review product becomes readily accessible.

Stay Safe..

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post #6 of 19 Old 04-20-2020, 01:08 PM
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I have to say that I have zero interest in seeing a CG animal ever again. Makes no difference how good the movie is. Make an animated feature or a live action one, mixing the two just ruins it for me.
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post #7 of 19 Old 04-21-2020, 12:18 AM
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Thanks for the review! In my Netflix queue!

I was a fan of the book as a kid and this sounds like a half decent rendering. There is also the complementary White Fang (kind of this story in reverse) that I enjoyed.

John Wick 3 is a good dogs in movie example that shows that live animals in movies can be done well, it's a bit disappointing the animals (some/all?) are CGI but I'll check it out all the same!

Stay well!
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post #8 of 19 Old 04-21-2020, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post
Greetings,

With the current state of affairs receiving physical media from the studios' fulfillment houses (mostly located in southern California) for review is predominantly on hold. I have been able to get some of the digital versions for coverage which enables me to share them with the community here. Since these are not full/typical A/V Blu-ray reviews I have omitting certain aspects of my standard review template.

If you note there are ratings for the film and bonus material and, if relevant (such as in this case) ratings for the audio (Atmos track).


Any reviews that I post where I have received review physical review product are the same as always. Hopefully things will soon get to a point where physical review product becomes readily accessible.

Stay Safe..
Sure thing, Ralph. Believe me, I was not complaining...just curious. I guess I skimmed it quickly enough to miss that you were reviewing the digital film and not a physical disk. We are just glad you can still do reviews in the middle of all of this. Hope you and yours are staying safe also!
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post #9 of 19 Old 04-21-2020, 08:31 PM
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Well I am going to sound like the old geezer that I am now, but I just cannot bring myself to watch a Harrison Ford + some CGI (or whatever they call it) compared to what I considered a classic with Clark Gable and (I think) Loretta Young (a young Young). B&W ? Yes, but the on-screen chemistry plus the acting was something really special.
Hmmm, I may try this, through gritted teeth.
Anyone else recall the old, old version I speak of? An oldie but goodie.
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post #10 of 19 Old 04-22-2020, 10:48 PM
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I found this to be not a bad watch for the middle of the week.
As with some here, I went in a bit apprehensive about the CGI animals, but it was OK, but somehow I felt in doing so, they "insulted" the original and somewhat hammered the credibility if this new one.

Even with that though, I enjoyed the performances of the humans, but honestly I watched it because Harrison Ford was in it, but I realized later that was just a draw to get one to rent it.
After forgiving them that nasty little trick, I sat back and I did enjoy it.
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post #11 of 19 Old 04-28-2020, 06:25 AM
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Wait, since when is a streaming portal like iTunes supports lossless tracks like True HD? It had to be DD+/Atmos.

Quote:
The Digital Code I received for The Call of the Wild wasn’t for Ultra HD. I redeemed it on Movies Everywhere/iTunes which was the 1080p version with Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

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post #12 of 19 Old 04-28-2020, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Wait, since when is a streaming portal like iTunes supports lossless tracks like True HD? It had to be DD+/Atmos.

Greetings,

I couldn't say with certainty but, it's a 7.1 channel/Atmos track. I haven't heard of a lossy derivative of Atmos hence my comments in the review. I have covered several other streaming titles that contain Atmos sound as well.


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post #13 of 19 Old 04-28-2020, 11:21 AM
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Greetings,

I couldn't say with certainty but, it's a 7.1 channel/Atmos track. I haven't heard of a lossy derivative of Atmos hence my comments in the review. I have covered several other streaming titles that contain Atmos sound as well.


Regards,
As far delivering the Atmos metadata it won't matter if it's lossy or not as far as what you would perceive of the sound especially of the rendering, I was just curious since I never heard of any streaming service to use lossless containers like DTHD. DD+ can have up to 7.1 bed channels BTW.

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post #14 of 19 Old 04-28-2020, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
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As far delivering the Atmos metadata it won't matter if it's lossy or not as far as what you would perceive of the sound especially of the rendering, I was just curious since I never heard of any streaming service to use lossless containers like DTHD. DD+ can have up to 7.1 bed channels BTW.

Greetings,

Yes, of that I am aware. I will look into it and if I find out anything worthy of note, I will follow up here. Thanks!


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post #15 of 19 Old 05-16-2020, 03:33 PM
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Thanks for the good review Ralph.

I rented this yesterday and thought it was excellent "family entertainment." The PQ was exceptional...sharp as a tack with plenty of mesmerizing details and appreciable depth. I was distracted by the CGI of the animals when they were running or jumping but it was quite amazing when they were still or hardly moving. All in all, decent rental but I may not buy it.
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Thanks for the good review Ralph.

I rented this yesterday and thought it was excellent "family entertainment." The PQ was exceptional...sharp as a tack with plenty of mesmerizing details and appreciable depth. I was distracted by the CGI of the animals when they were running or jumping but it was quite amazing when they were still or hardly moving. All in all, decent rental but I may not buy it.
I tried very hard to like this movie but the GGI version of Buck was too distracting for me. I made it about 30 minutes and had to turn it off. For such a classic tale it is too bad that they did not use real dogs.


Ray
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Originally Posted by tjenkins95 View Post
I tried very hard to like this movie but the GGI version of Buck was too distracting for me. I made it about 30 minutes and had to turn it off. For such a classic tale it is too bad that they did not use real dogs.


Ray
I absolutely agree with you and that's why I'm glad I RENTED it. I will NOT be BUYING it!

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Unfortunately, I couldn't get past the CGI. My wife and I lasted about 20 min. I thought I could but...
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To be honest, I had no intention to get this one and did not buy-it on that day. The next day, my Wife bought it and told me she did not care what I was thinking. Since her intention was watch it with our daughter, and granddaughter when they would come to visit

Well that day did come, and gave away all my sitting position to them. And got myself a kitchen chair, to sit behind.

I most say, that I was wrong. While not while worth a second spin to me, it was enjoyable watch


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