starring Harrison Ford, Karen Gillan, Cara Gee, Dan Stevens
screenplay by Michael Green, based on the book by Jack London
directed by Chris Sanders
by Walter Chaw Chris Sanders's The Call of the Wild shares a few character names and a setting with the Jack London novella upon which it's ostensibly based but exists in a perverse fantasia of its own that has more in common with Lars Von Trier's surreal Zentropa (or Tom Schiller's Nothing Lasts Forever, to which Zentropa owes more than a little) than it does with London's critique of capitalism. Scenes of the Alaskan Gold Rush herein have about them the crazed Uncanny Valley effect of The Polar Express, which is only slightly less distracting than The Call of the Wild's imagining of an egalitarian utopia free of racism, sexism, even classism. The final triumph of dog-kind in the film recalls, of all things, Matt Reeves's superlative Planet of the Apes trilogy, postulating a future in which hyper-intelligent, non-human mammals inherit the earth. Spearheading this new species of hyper-intelligent freak dog is Buck (shades of Corey Haim's experimental super-dog in Watchers), who in classic Red Scare-agitprop fashion embodies all the best traits of the Old Hollywood Man of Action archetype: being kind to his fellow sled dogs like some canine Babe handing out jellybeans before saving human maidens from drowning.