Review: The Call of the Wild


The movie poster, displaying Buck and John traversing the Yukon.

No matter who you are, we all love and get excited for new movies. Throughout the past couple of months, some really amazing movies have come out. Movies such as the Joker, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, and Avengers: Endgame continue to amaze us. In a way, we are blinded by the execution and production of these big franchises, and we forget to see the beauty in movies based on books, etc. 

Probably one of the best movies I’ve seen so far this year had to be The Call of the Wild. Based on the 1903 novel of the same name, the movie stars Harrison Ford, and is based in the Yukon territory, near Alaska and Canada. 

One of the most defining things in the book is the time period it takes place in. It takes place during the Klondike Gold Rush, between 1896 and 1899. 

Now before we dive into a breakdown of the movie, I am issuing a HUGE spoiler alert for the movie. You have been warned!

Now that the background of the movie is established, let’s talk about the plot. The movie spirals around Buck, a half St. Bernard, half Scotch shepherd, dog that was kidnapped from his home in California, and was sold to a mail sledder. Although most of the people that he has seen since he was kidnapped were extremely brutal, the mail delivery man who bought him treats him right, and Buck finds his place in the dog team, after fighting and beating the leader of course. 

Just as the audience thinks that Buck will have a happy ending with the mail dogsledding crew, the plot takes a dive, and the leader of the team gets a letter telling him that the mail route has been terminated, and that he had to sell the dogs off. Although this was probably one of the most heart wrenching parts of the movie, it only led Buck to his new adventure, after John Thornton saves him from the man who bought the dog team. 

From then on, the movie consists of John and Buck fulfilling John’s son’s dream of traveling and exploring beyond the map, and bringing themselves into the wild. John and Buck travel deep into the Yukon wild, and set up camp in an open area in the middle of an area of woods. 

During their stay in the wild, Buck gets involved in and joins a group of wolves. Meanwhile, John prospects an unimaginable amount of gold, and starts to get used to living in the wild. Just as Buck decides to leave John and join the pack of wolves, John is attacked in his shack by the man he saved Buck from. The same man that forced the other dogs to cross the lake, resulting in their deaths. Nearly halfway through the fight between John and the man, Buck joins in and takes the man to the ground, and they wrestle for control of his firearm. Buck throws the man into the burning shack, but not before John is hit by one last shot fired by the man. 

John goes on to pass in peace with Buck in his arms, and Buck goes on to become the leader of the pack of wolves. 

So, what do people think of the movie? “It was captivating and mesmerizing,” said a State Theatre volunteer. Although everyone I talked to said it was a great movie, an overall perspective from movie critics and the ratings overall show that the movie was not as good in the box office. It lost a lot of money, and it only rated 61% Rotten Tomatoes, making it a bit low on the ratings scale. 

In an overall perspective, The Call of the Wild was a great movie that was surprisingly well executed for a movie that has a low rating, and many people in the community think that it was an accurate depiction of the book of the same title, written by Jack London.