Call of the Wild – DVD Review

Call of the Wild
Available at Amazon.com

Movies made from books are really tricky to pull off, especially when the book is loved by many. Like a typical sequel to a popular movie, a movie based on a book is sure to come up short in the eyes of the fans of the source material. But what about another movie based on a book after it has been done mulitple times before with less than glowing results? That is certain to get a lot of eye rolls. Unfortunately, this is the position that the latest film version of Call of the Wild is in as well.

In Call of the Wild, Miles Challenger (Shane Meiser) is a 15-year-old boy living in an Alaskan mining town at the turn of the century. His life soon changes, though, when he meets a dog named Buck. Buck is a very heroic and powerful dog and they soon develop a lifetime friendship.

There is nothing worse than marketing a film with writing credits from people involved in previous beloved and critically-acclaimed movies. Especially when in fact those people had very little do with the film they are helping to “market”. The same thing can be said about this film. Jack London’s name is all over this film, but the story in his famous book is not presented here. Some of the situations are similar to the story in London’s book, but the main character is completely new and not in the original story. So that is a little bit of false advertising.

The acting is really just that. It’s pretty average and you can tell that the actors are “acting” as they haven’t quite “become” their characters. But if there is one positive thing you can say about this film it is the cinematography. The scenery is beautiful and you at least get to see and really feel what Jack London wrote in his book.

The latest version of The Call of the Wild might be the best presentation of the source material on film to date. Unfortunately, this is not the story that Jack London told. If you are expecting that, you will be disappointed. The story that is told here is decent, but that and the acting is nothing but average at best. If you want to see Jack London’s book on a TV screen, there are better versions out there. But if you are a hardcore fan of the book you probably won’t like any movie that is based on it, so just stick to reading the book.

The video is given in 1.33:1 fullscreen color. The transfer is decent. Not the best looking film ever, but the scenery is beautiful and that comes across really well on the screen.

The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. There are subtitles available in Spanish as well. The music and dialogue come out loud and clear, so no major problems here either.

There are no extras for this film, which shouldn’t surprise you.

If you don’t expect much, including the original story from Jack London, you might like it. I can’t recommend a rental either, but if you happen to catch this you probably won’t be bored to tears, which is always a good thing.

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Allumination presents Call of the Wild. Directed by Brenton Spencer, David Winning, Zale Dalen, and Jorge Montesi. Written by David Assael, David Fallon, Tim John, Michael Sloan, and Madeline Sunshine. Starring Shane Meiser. Running time: 120 minutes. Rated: PG. Released on DVD: April 22, 2008.
Available at Amazon.com

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