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The Call of the Wild (2020)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by SamT, Nov 20, 2019.

  1. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Given all the acting required from the dog, I'd guess that they felt that the constant switchover from real to fake would have been too jarring. From the trailer, I knew what I was getting into in terms of the CG so I knew going in that I wasn't going to believe I was seeing a real dog. Despite the CG, the 'dog' is pretty likable and I was rooting for him. (I'm a softie :) )
     
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  2. JimmyO

    JimmyO Berserker

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    A funny little thought occurred.

    I wonder if part of the reason they didn't use any live animals is that Ford might not have been terribly tolerant of it. I could just imagine Ford on set, exasperated that the dog won't do the expected things, hit the marks etc and swearing like a sailor about it throughout. Makes me smile to imagine it, for some reason.
     
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  3. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Yes, I had wondered about that too, if Ford didn't want to spend the extra time on the set that would be required to get the shots they wanted with a real dog.
     
  4. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    For those of you who have already seen this, is it worth seeing in a premium auditorium? My local Cinemark is showing it in their XD auditorium this week. Because it involves an upcharge, I usually only go in there for movies with big sweeping visuals that will clearly benefit from being shown on the largest screen available. The last one I saw in there was Star Wars. Is this good enough to warrant paying the extra?
     
  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Does that theater have Dolby Atmos? If so then this is a Dolby Atmos movie.
     
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  6. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    No, but the presentation is THX certified. Whatever that means for a theater. I'm used to seeing that on old Disney and Lucasfilm DVDs, but this is the first time I've actually seen it relative to a theater location.
     
  7. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I haven't seen the movie (yet).

    But there is just something by way of personality and presence that a CGI dog can't give you that a real dog can.
     
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  8. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    But on the flip side, there’s something a grumpy Harrison Ford can give you that an actor with the patience to work with a real dog can’t :D
     
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  9. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    It's a nice looking movie but I would stick with the regular theater.
     
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  10. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I’m going to try to see it tomorrow and I’m not traveling to a Dolby Cinema location for it. If my local Regal’s RPX with Atmos has it at a convenient showtime I’ll do that, otherwise regular old fashioned regular will do fine for me.
     
  11. usrunnr

    usrunnr Writer

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    The whole movie looks CG. Not for me.
     
  12. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    The CGI was iffy for me, but in spite of that I still liked the movie.

    "B"
     
  13. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    I did go to the regular showtime. The movie didn't really work for me. I get why they would try to do this with CG animals, but that doesn't mean it worked. In order for the movie to be successful, it requires you to empathize with the dog, and I never for one second believed Buck (or the other animals either) as a real dog. So that sort of undermined the entire movie for me. I like a lot of the human actors in it, and it wasn't bad, but it was just kind of...there. I didn't really feel anything in either direction. I will always show up for Chris Sanders movies, but this is by far the least distinctive and most generic thing he has ever made. The most distinctive thing about it is its status as the first new release to use Disney's new 20th Century Studios branding. Although, I noticed in the credits that the copyright is still listed as to 20th Century Fox Film Cooperation even though "Fox" was removed from its rightful place on the opening logo.
     
  14. usrunnr

    usrunnr Writer

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    I believe I read that Mr. Ford owns 3 dogs with his wife.
     
  15. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    I know this isn't what they wanted to do, but as I was watching the movie, I began to wonder if it would have worked better as an animated film done completely in CGI. That way, the CG on the dogs wouldn't stick out like the sore thumb it is now, and they could have given themselves more license to be deliberately stylized instead of trying for realism which they didn't achieve. Make the whole world look consistent rather than having one major element that is noticeably different and looks like it doesn't belong in that space. Chris Sanders, as a director, comes from animation, where he did Lilo & Stitch and the first How to Train Your Dragon film with Dean DeBois, and The Croods -- so, he would have known his way around a fully animated production of this and could have made it more uniform throughout. I don't know if this was ever considered, but it is what I would have tried if I was in the position where I couldn't get a CGI dog to look real in a live-action environment.
     
  16. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I think I was watching it with the idea that it was nearly an animated movie so I was more forgiving of the lack of reality. I said it before but I felt like I was watching the reverse of Who Framed Roger Rabbit but instead of animated characters in a mostly real world, it was a few real people in a mostly CG world.
     
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  17. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    I get what you're saying, but I think what prevented me from being able to take that view is that they were clearly making an attempt for this to seem realistic and it didn't. Had they been fully animated in a more stylized fashion it might have worked better.
     
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  18. Wayne_j

    Wayne_j Producer

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    I saw this with my dad last night, we both enjoyed it very much. A good time if you can get over the CGI animals.
     
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  19. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    https://variety.com/2020/film/news/why-did-the-call-of-the-wild-cost-125-million-its-a-mid-budget-film-that-caught-budget-itis-1203511978/

    "Why Did ‘The Call of the Wild’ Cost $125 Million? It’s a Mid-Budget Film That Caught Budget-itis (Column)
    By OWEN GLEIBERMAN

    The Call of the Wild” is a cozy, square, kind-of-synthetic, kind-of-touching canine adventure movie that a lot of critics were probably too harsh about, all because it has a CG dog. Don’t get me wrong; I’d have preferred a flesh-and-blood dog as well. But critics have developed a line-in-the-sand attitude about this technology, at least when applied to “real” beasts. (Hence the overstated hostility that drove reviews of “The Lion King,” the one affecting live-action remake of a Disney animated classic.) In “The Call of the Wild,” the fusion of live action and CGI works well enough, especially once Harrison Ford, as soft as he is gruff, comes into the picture (in a funny way, it’s his reactive performance that brings Buck the dog to life). The movie is just what you’d expect: calendar-art wilderness settings, old-school ’60s-Disney-nature-film bobsled drama, a cast of human actors who, with the exception of Ford, get swallowed up by the scenery. The only surprise about “The Call of the Wild” is its price tag. The film cost $125 million.

    I’m shocked every time I read that figure, because it just doesn’t feel right. The inflated budget, of course, is due mostly to the CGI technology. But can we stop for a moment to consider how profoundly counterintuitive that is? Animated films are famously expensive, but if you’re going to make a drama like “The Call of the Wild” and avoid using actual dogs that have to be directed and filmed in some frozen location that’s doubling for the Yukon, the process should theoretically be cheaper.

    This weekend, “The Call of the Wild” did more business than many observers expected, which only goes to show that there’s still a hunger for a sweetly traditional and wholesome dog-meets-man movie. But given the budget, even the film’s relatively successful opening of $24.8 million may not be good enough. “The Call of the Wild” is an example of a new phenomenon: the “mid-budget film” with a budget that got swelled like an overfed goose liver. The mid-budget film that caught budget-itis.

    It brings to mind another example of the same phenomenon, and that’s “The Irishman.” For months — years! — before Martin Scorsese’s mob epic was released, there was so much publicity surrounding the digital de-aging process that ballooned the film’s budget that by the time the movie actually arrived, we all just sort of accepted that “The Irishman,” bankrolled by Netflix, cost as much as a top-heavy Marvel spectacular. (The official tally was $165 million, but there have been persistent unconfirmed reports that the budget may have been as high as $200 million.)

    Now that “The Irishman” has come and gone, though, consider the total oddity of that. Scorsese’s film has some violent action and period crowd spectacle, but it’s basically a three-and-a-half-hour movie about men sitting around talking in rooms. If, for the sake of argument, you took the de-aging process out of it, there’s a way that you could imagine a perfectly fine version of “The Irishman” made for $40 million...."
     
  20. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    I confess I was ambivalent about seeing this, but we took the kids today and everyone really enjoyed it. Yes, we can quibble about CGI dogs, but the bottom line is that there is a reason the book has endured for nearly 120 years -- it's a good story, and that comes through in the movie, no matter how many liberties the film makers took with the material. The spirit of the book is there. I enjoyed it.
     

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