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Don’t Tell a Soul

Don’t Tell a Soul dogs, in their rambunctious domesticated way, can lead us overly civilized humans a step or two Don’t Tell a Soul closer to the natural world. So it’s only fitting that the best dog movies have saluted that unruly canine spirit without a lot of artificial flavoring. Hollywood’s classic dog tales, like “Old Yeller” (1957) or “Lassie Come Home” (1943), are lyrical marvels of plainspoken storytelling — primal fables of love, loss, heart, and home — and so, in its way, was the last great dog movie, “Marley & Me” (2008), which treated the title pooch of John Grogan’s memoir as a scruffy agent of canine chaos who was also, in his way, a figure of faith. That said, I’ve never had much patience for synthetic anthropomorphic dog comedies like “Beethoven” or “Benji” or “Turner & Hooch.” If I want to see a dog turned into a cartoon, I’d rather watch a cartoon.

“The Call of the Wild,” an adaptation of the Jack London classic that’s true to the spirit, if not always the letter, of the 1903 novel (which I admit, as a kid, I could never get through), is a dog movie that’s more concocted than it has any right to be. It was produced by 20th Century Studios, back when the company had a “Fox” in its name, but in this case there’s something almost poetically appropriate about the fact that the film is now emerging from the gates of the Disney empire. That’s because “The Call of the Wild,” directed by Chris Sanders (the co-director, with Dean DeBlois, of “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Lilo & Stitch”), is a semi-live-action film that nevertheless bounces along with the glibly overdone visual logic of an old Disney dog comedy from the 1960s.

Duration: N/A


IMDb: 8.2