Jack London’s anthropomorphic doggie tale of Buck, clumsy domestic pet who finds himself through a series of unfortunate events in the thick of the Yukon during the 1890’s gold rush. Not quite sticking to the original novel, this adaptation has good ole Han Solo himself in the John Thornton role who rescues Buck from his disposition.
London’s book was hailed at the time as a literary high point with its combination of allegory, parable and fable, commentating on survival and a return to primitivism when faced with primordial circumstances. However all that was lost on this critic when he read the book as an enthusiastic ten year old, and it's not really apparent here in this rendition, which unfortunately leaves it as somewhat shallow for the adults, although I’m sure the kids will love it.
The animals are all CGI as is much of the landscape, and are given human characteristics and expression but thankfully, they do not talk. Mr Solo owns his screen time and is just about as engaging as his canine companion. The other roles are merely supporting and of little consequence to the wider presentation.
Cinematography is great as you would expect being set in the wilderness, and the greed for gold nicely portrayed by the villains of the piece along with healthy doses of stupidity. But, for the reasons outlined above, it all ends up a bit lightweight and I found myself chuckling at some of the more poignant scenes.
I'm a movie nut from way back with my first ever being The Hallelujah Trail from 1964. Ever since, I've been mesmerized by the giant screen, and the darkness that went on forever. Despite the infernally uncomfortable seats, (plus having to stand for God Save the Queen), I've been enticed ever since to duck into a theatre whenever I can for a few hours of escapism.