The Call of the Wild: from pages to the screen


Public Domain

The famous tale of Buck in The Call of the Wild hit theaters in late February 2020, attracting audiences of all ages. Placed during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, this movie uses new technology to bring the story to life.

Following the journey of a half-St. Bernard, half-Scottish terrier dog named Buck, Chris Sander’s The Call of the Wild movie hit theaters on Feb. 21, 2020. This film version of Jack London’s popular novel The Call of the Wild (1903) uses a CGI (computer-generated imagery) dog to tell this classic tale.

“I was expecting the movie to be sad and violent,” Anna O’Guin (11) said. “I don’t remember the book that well, just how I felt when I read it. The movie was sad but not as violent and harsh.”

Buck is portrayed as chaotic and playful in the opening scene, running through his home in California, creating a ruckus everywhere he goes. Soon after, he is stolen in the night and sold to men in the Yukon in Canada. The trauma he endures is violently displayed through abuse and his facial expressions, brilliantly displayed through the CGI. Further along the journey, a run-in with a man named John Thorton seems to be nothing more than a  minuscule detail, but it turns out to be extremely important as he becomes his companion later on. Joining a sled dog team, his fierceness and bravery later earn him a promotion to head dog. After a heartbreaking split with their masters, the group of dogs are mistreated by new owners, who only use them to find riches and gold. John Thorton reappears and rescues Buck, and they set off on a journey to live freely together. Despite never settling down for an extended amount of time, Buck showed his lovable and caring personality everywhere he went, creating a heart-warming touch in the movie.

“Although I preferred the book to this movie, I would still recommend someone to see this movie because it was powerful,” Ben Sharabi (10) said. “I thought it was very well produced.”

By living with a pack of wolves and listening to the call of the wild, Buck finally finds peace despite facing abandonment three times. Focusing more on the relationships Buck creates rather than the conflicts in the book, this movie brings a more heart-touching feel to the audience.