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The Call of the Wild

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 1 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • The Call of the Wild in 4K enchants dog lovers with top-notch tech; skeptics may enjoy the view.

    The Call of the Wild 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • The Call of the Wild's 4K UHD release by Disney/Buena Vista showcases stunning scenery with upgraded detail and HDR highlights, although increased resolution reveals CGI shortcomings.

  • Audio
  • The Call of the Wild's Dolby Atmos track enhances the immersive experience with vertical sound placement and robust surround activity, including detailed environmental sounds and clear dialogue, further enriched by John Powell's score and effective LFE.

  • Extra
  • The 1080p Blu-ray comes with enjoyable extras like a 23:52 featurette on Buck by Notary, an 8:29 look at the film's real and virtual locations, and a 1:59 theatrical trailer; the 4K UHD has no extras.

  • Movie
  • Sanders' *The Call of the Wild* film adaptation, focusing on the CGI Buck and faithful to London's vision, blends animation with live-action, igniting debates on anthropomorphism and the bond between humans and animals.

    Video: 77

    The Call of the Wild" in its 4K UHD Blu Ray edition is a spectacle of visual upgrade provided by Disney/Buena Vista and 20th Century Studios, showcased with a 2160p resolution on a 2.39:1 aspect ratio, benefitting from an Alexa 65 camera's reference quality and a 4K Digital Intermediate finish. The transition to a higher resolution presents a double-edged sword; on one side, it enhances the overall clarity and detail across diverse settings – from the intricately drawn opening sequence to the ruggedness of Harrison Ford’s visage and the intricate textures of both manmade and natural environments. On the other side, this increase in detail brings to light the limitations of CGI within the movie, particularly in scenes where Buck, the canine protagonist, is depicted in wet conditions, resulting in a less realistic, more animated appearance that might not sit well with all viewers.

    Technical prowess in video presentation is further augmented by strategic use of HDR, breathing life into the film through vivid color enhancements and improved shadow dynamics. Noteworthy is the portrayal of natural phenomena like the Aurora Borealis during a pivotal fight scene between Buck and Spitz, where HDR facilitates a richer palette of colors and finer gradients between them compared to the standard 1080p version. Moreover, scenes set at night or in low light conditions benefit from an advanced shadow delineation, providing depth and clarity even in the darkest scenes. Despite these advancements, certain CGI-heavy scenes and backgrounds can sometimes appear softer and less detailed than their real-world counterparts.

    In conclusion, this historical first release under Disney's rebranded 20th Century Studios exudes technical sophistication and a visual feast for the eyes in 4K UHD, though not without its quirks regarding CGI execution. The higher resolution and HDR implementation decidedly enrich the viewing experience, offering unparalleled detail and color complexity that elevate "The Call of the Wild" beyond its previous 1080p incarnation.

    Audio: 77

    The Call of the Wild” on 4K UHD Blu-Ray excels in delivering an atmospheric and immersive auditory experience, courtesy of its Dolby Atmos track. This advanced audio format enhances the already impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track from the Blu-ray release by integrating vertical sound elements that add a new dimension to the film’s audio landscape. Right from the outset, viewers are greeted with ambient sounds such as the whistle of the wind and the clinking of a pickaxe, setting a precedent for the auditory journey ahead. Interestingly, despite the home release featuring Dolby Atmos, the original theatrical version was presented with DTS:X audio, underscoring a strategic choice in audio formats aimed at optimizing home viewing experiences.

    Throughout the film, several key scenes including an intense avalanche and rapids fording sequence with Buck and Thornton spectacularly showcase the capabilities of the Atmos channels. These moments are not only a testament to the dynamic range of the soundtrack but also highlight the subwoofer's contribution with deep and resonant low-frequency effects (LFE) that punctuate the action—Buck’s rambunctious antics early in the film are a case in point. Moreover, John Powell’s compelling score is elegantly woven through the soundscape, utilizing the surround channels to full effect and ensuring that ambient noise and dialogue retain clarity and distinction against the backdrop of outdoor adventure.

    It's worth noting that audio specifications can vary between formats, a common practice with releases from the studio formerly known as Fox. The 4K UHD disc's audio specifications detailed here clearly demonstrate a prioritization of immersive sound quality, designed to enhance the viewer's engagement with the film’s narrative and visual splendor. Dialogue and narration by Ford are delivered with pristine clarity, ensuring a seamless and enriching audio experience free from any technical distractions.

    Extra: 77

    The extra presentation on the 1080p Blu-ray disc included in "The Call of the Wild" 4K UHD release offers a concise yet enriching experience for enthusiasts and fans alike. While the 4K disc itself lacks any supplemental features, its companion Blu-ray compensates with three compelling additions. "It's All About Buck," a three-part featurette, stands out with engaging footage showcasing Terry Notary's captivating performance as Buck, blending seamlessly into the film’s narrative. "The World of The Wild" provides a brief exploration into the film's diverse and occasionally virtual locations, offering insights into the setting's contribution to the movie's ambiance. A theatrical trailer rounds out the extras, giving viewers a quick glimpse of the film's thrilling adventure. This collection, albeit limited, presents an insightful glance into the making and essence of "The Call of the Wild."

    Extras included in this disc:

    • It's All About Buck: A three-part featurette with behind-the-scenes footage featuring Terry Notary.
    • The World of The Wild: Focuses on the film’s various real and virtual locations.
    • Theatrical Trailer: Provides a preview of the film’s epic adventure.

    Movie: 62

    In this cinematic adaptation of Jack London's venerable "The Call of the Wild," director Chris Sanders transitions from his animation roots to bring a visually gripping yet contentious CGI tale to life. The focal point of the story, Buck, a CGI-rendered canine portrayed through motion capture by Terry Notary, challenges the conventional wisdom cautioning against centering films around animals or children. Buck's digital manifestation stirs debate regarding its authenticity and believability, yet undeniably commands attention whenever present on screen. This rendition, notably distinct from prior adaptations due to its reliance on computer-generated imagery for its canine protagonist, brings the novel’s perspective closer to the forefront, prioritizing Buck’s journey and the myriad human-canine relationships over purely human narratives.

    Sanders’ foray into this amalgam of live-action and CGI storytelling ambitiously attempts to mirror London's anthropomorphic portrayal of Buck, attributing human-like emotions and thoughts to him. The narrative arc effortlessly shifts from Buck's mischievous escapades in California to the darker hues of his enslavement and eventual rise within a sled dog team in the Yukon. The engagement with London’s thematic element—of animals possessing souls, sentiments, and a nuanced point of view towards humanity—is both visually and emotionally compelling. However, it walks a fine line, venturing occasionally into melodrama, especially in sequences aiming to forge an emotional man-dog bond amidst wilderness adventures and survival.

    The adaptation navigates through Buck’s evolution, from domestic pet to a leader confronting the wilderness, encapsulating his interactions with various humans, notably John Thornton (Harrison Ford) and Perrault (Omar Sy), and his rivalry turned leadership against Spitz. This journey is underscored by Sanders’ intention to resonate with London's original theme—embracing one's inherent call to the wild against the backdrop of burgeoning technology and civilization’s encroachments. Despite the debate over its execution, the film leverages CGI to delve into the conceptual heart of London’s work, presenting a visually enriched yet interpretatively flexible narrative that ventures to reclaim Buck's storied essence from the annals of literary heritage.


    The 4K UHD Blu Ray presentation of "The Call of the Wild" stands out for its impeccable technical quality and emotional resonance, particularly for audiences who hold a special place in their hearts for canine companions. While skeptics of CGI-animated animals might find their immersion occasionally disrupted, the film's enchanting landscapes and its effectively paced narrative manage to captivate a broad swathe of viewers. The upgrade to both audio and visual components in this edition is notable, enhancing the viewing experience significantly beyond previous versions.

    In terms of technical specifications, "The Call of the Wild" in 4K UHD boasts an outstanding clarity and depth of color that breathes life into the Yukon wilderness, making it as much a character in the story as its human and animal protagonists. The auditory aspect is equally impressive, with a Dolby Atmos track that envelops the viewer in the natural world of the film, from the softest footstep in the snow to the echoing call of the wild itself. These enhancements are not merely cosmetic but serve to deepen the emotional impact of the story.

    In conclusion, this edition of "The Call of the Wild" is highly recommended for its superior technical merits and its power to engage viewers emotionally. Whether or not one is initially drawn to the story for its depiction of the bond between a man and a dog, or for its adventure narrative set against stunning backdrops, there is something in this presentation that will appeal to almost everyone. The enhancements in video and audio quality alone make it a worthwhile addition to any collection, ensuring that the film can be experienced as immersively as possible.