It was most likely in the stack of books you were forced to read in junior high or high school – and while it is considered a literary classic – The Call of the Wild often finds itself on the banned book list. Often confused for a kids book since the main focus is a dog, The Call of the Wild has shocked generations since it came out since it came out in 1903. But despite the concerns, the story has endured and the relationship between Buck and humans is one that still is full of reasons to debate.
Your ancestors used to roam here, and mine, back when we were wildThornton
This week, Twentieth Century Fox bring the story of The Call of the Wild back to the big screen – in the latest re-adaptation of the book since the early 1990’s. The story focuses on the story of Buck a dog that starts as the pampered dog of a judge who is actually stolen late at night to be sold as a work dog to prospectors who are working in the Yukon. His journey takes him from his pampered life, to the hands of abusive handlers, to a mail route and beyond. But through his whole journey, he starts to find to his own voice and what is calling him back to the wild.
Growing up in the world of man, Buck had learned to listen to their voices. Tonight he would learn to hear his ownNarrator
But there are reasons the book has been a concern in general over the years – including if the movie is age appropriate or not. So in the hands of Fox and Disney, are these still items of concern? While many parents will take their children to the movies to see a heartwarming film about a dog and his journey – but there are things they should be aware of. Throughout the movie there are still moments of abuse both implied and shown on screen to the dogs as well as bar fights, gun violence and more. Knowing the age of the story and topic – these should not be shocks to viewers going in, but may be hard for small kids to see if they are taken in to see the movie about a dog.
But one major item that has completely been removed from the story is the violence against the native tribes in the movie. This racially insensitive portion of the book has been completely removed and actually very few Native Americans are actually even depicted in the movie – although the area would have been heavily populated with Native Americans. So while the violence against the native population has been removed, the lack of depiction is another point of concern.
There’s a new breed of timber-wolves in this mountain because the dog that leads the packThornton
While there are some issues with the treatment of the animals in the movie – all of them were computer generated. In the past this might have been an item of concern anyhow, but the animation quality has gone up in the past few years. In only a few spots can you really tell that Buck has been animated (mostly in the beginning). But that quickly goes away and one of the benefits of animation is they are able to show more emotions in the dogs. Unlike the weird uncanny valley in The Lion King, you can genuinely feel the emotions from the animals without them saying a word.
With the story of Buck, the animation and realistic story and emotions – you will fall in love with Buck and his pack and genuinely feel for them throughout the film. The beautiful scenery will make you want to take a trip to the Yukon and to hug your furry best friends a little tighter as you wonder if they hear the call themselves.
An important thing to note, and is not a spoiler if you read the book, that in The Call of the Wild the dog does not die! This is something that is rare in any movie featuring a dog that comes to theaters. The Call of the Wild is in theaters everywhere on February 21st and is rated PG.
About Call of the Wild:
Adapted from the beloved literary classic, THE CALL OF THE WILD 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 Alaskan 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.
As a live-action/animation hybrid, THE CALL OF THE WILD employs cutting edge visual effects and animation technology in order to render the animals in the film as fully photorealistic–and emotionally authentic–characters.