It doesn’t matter who you are, you just cannot deny the wholesomeness of a good dog story. Its sheer warmth will leave you feeling like melting butter. And that’s precisely what you experience when you watch big ol’ Buck return to the big screen this February with Chris Sanders’ ‘The Call of the Wild’. But, of course, this is in no way your typical dog story. It ultimately narrates a bittersweet tale of a lost dog who sets on a journey to find himself, and his place in the world.
Sanders, through ‘The Call of the Wild’ makes his live-action debut with a heartwarming retelling of Jack London’s beloved classic. Only, his version of the much-loved St. Bernard-Scotch Collie mix is CGI animated, which didn’t sit too well with the viewers. Despite this, you cannot deny the intensity and warmth of Sanders’ recreation of this classic wilderness adventure.
Buck finds himself in a journey of a lifetime, in a path that he did not set out for himself. He eventually finds himself in Yukon during the Gold Rush, where he crosses paths with the kind-hearted John Thornton, and becomes his loyal companion. ‘The Call of the Wild’ ultimately follows the struggles and tragedies Buck encounters that turn him into a fierce leader who answers the call of the wild.
Despite viewers feeling disoriented due to the CGI animation of Buck, Sanders’ affectionate retelling of the classic tale has been widely appreciated and praised. But is this enough to guarantee a sequel? And do we even need one? Here’s everything you need to know.
Will There be a ‘The Call of the Wild’ Sequel?
Sanders’ version of the tale is certainly not as dark as London’s original. But this makes sense as it targetted at a younger audience. While it is in no way as tragic as its source material, it offers a more loving take on Buck’s journey, and is quietly profound with the way it explores interspecies companionship.
It almost comes as no surprise that Sanders directed the feature, given his history with the subject. Two of his best-known works, ‘Lilo and Stitch’ and ‘How to Train Your Dragon‘ deal with similar themes. This also explains the depth Sandler offers to this beloved tale in his portrayal of the friendship between Buck and John.
While it is obviously too soon to say how the film does commercially, the early response from critics has been largely positive despite the issues people had with the CGI animation. ‘The Call of the Wild’ has a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the critics praising the direction and performances. In this version, Harrison Ford delivers an impressive performance as John Thornton, the kind-hearted adventurer.
While Sanders’ film may lack a thing or two, it certainly makes up for it by wearing its big warm heart on its sleeve. Unfortunately, this does not guarantee a sequel to the film. But in all honesty, we also do not need it as by the time it ends, Buck’s journey feels complete. London’s classic, too, was never followed by a sequel.
However, Jack London did write a companion novel to The Call of the Wild, called, White Fang. The follow-up takes us on another journey through the violent worlds of humans and animals, and is narrated from the perspective of a wolf-dog named White Fang. It is often considered a thematic mirror of London’s 1903 classic as it explores similar themes. The novel is also set in Yukon during the Gold Rush and looks at the complexities of morality and redemption.
White Fang has previously also been adapted for the screen with the 1991 version that stars Ethan Hawke, and the much recent animated version for Netflix. So it wouldn’t be too hard to expect another screen adaptation of the same, but this time, directed by Chris Sanders. At the same time, you shouldn’t hold your breath on it. At least not for a while. If at all we do get a ‘The Call of the Wild 2’, we can hope for it to release by 2024.