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Harrison Ford as John Thornton, who finds companionship with his furry friend, Buck. (Picture courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox)
Harrison Ford as John Thornton, who finds companionship with his furry friend, Buck. (Picture courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox)

IT’S a story set in the 1890s during the Klondike Gold Rush in the Yukon, way off in icy north-western Canada.

Here is where a hardy dog with a heart of gold will experience the adventure of its life and finally find a home for itself.

Initially the pampered pet of a well-to-do judge in sunny California, the domesticated canine called Buck gets abducted and suffers mistreatment from its cruel captor before being sold as a sled dog in far off wintry Alaska.

Here, it serves two French-Canadian dispatches, Perrault (played by Omar Sy) and Françoise (Cara Gee), who plough a route to deliver mail in the desolate Klondike region of Canada.

Trained by the kindly Perrault, the St. Bernard and Scotch Collie mixed-breed pooch learns to adapt and survive in a pack society with the other sled dogs.

Along the way, Buck rises above the many challenges that it encounters, which also sees its virtuous characteristics shining through and touching others.

Based on American novelist Jack London’s 1903 tome of the same name and a subsequent Hollywood feature film adaptation from 1935, this version kept the story more streamlined, simpler and politically correct for contemporary consumption.

It was also less edgy and provided for a heartwarming journey that would be suitable for family members of every age.

The Call Of The Wild also starred Hollywood superstar Harrison Ford as John Thornton, a man with a tragic past, who eventually built a close friendship with the plucky and lovable dog.

The 77-year-old actor really looked his age in the movie but delivered a solid performance, which managed to present a convincingly warm connection with what really was just a computer-animated Buck.

Although the unreal dog did look a little cold and uncanny in certain scenes, the warm story and earnest interactions between the various characters certainly tugged at the heartstrings on several occasions.

Director Chris Sanders, who helms his first live-action movie with this offering, chose to take a slow-paced route before getting to the moving bits.

His previous credits, such as entertaining animated family fare like Lilo & Stitch, How To Train Your Dragon and The Croods, had more colourful characters and less dismal environments.

But despite the harsh and unforgiving setting of The Call Of The Wild, this bittersweet, yet uplifting survival adventure is worth a watch and will reward those who persevere with it till the end.

OPENS TODAY

THE CALL OF THE WILD

Directed by Chris Sanders

Starring Harrison Ford, Dan Stevens, Omar Sy, Karen Gillan, Bradley Whitford, Colin Woodell

Duration 100 minutes

Rating P13

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