Harrison Ford is more alive than CGI dogs

Harrison Ford is more alive than CGI dogs

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Old meets new in “The Call of the Wild,” though not just in terms of a fresh take on the classic 1903 Jack London novel: The latest adaptation marries Disney-fied hokum with digital dogs that’ll make you question reality.

At least Harrison Ford does his grizzled best to ground a hybrid film awash in computer-generated animals and visual pizzazz. “Call of the Wild” (★★ out of four; rated PG; in theaters nationwide Friday) presents a lovely rendering of nature in the Yukon circa the 1890s Gold Rush but you can’t help but think it’s all a charade, which is probably not the greatest thing for a movie that hinges on a CGI pooch.

Buck is the special effect in question, a St. Bernard/Scotch Collie mix played here, in part, by motion capture actor Terry Notary. Living the pampered pup life in California, the rambunctious Buck is nabbed from the house of his wealthy owner (Bradley Whitford) and sold, as dogs have become a necessity for gold prospectors up north.

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