Critics Consensus

The Call of the Wild Is a Tame Journey to the Uncanny Valley

Plus, Emma. is Certified Fresh, and guess Brahms: The Boy II's Tomatometer score.

by | February 20, 2020 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a courageous canine (The Call of the Wild, starring Harrison Ford and Dan Stevens) and a devilish doll (Brahms: The Boy II, starring Katie Holmes and Ralph Ineson). What are the critics saying?

The Call of the Wild (2020) 62%

Jack London’s celebrated adventure novel The Call of the Wild has made it to the big screen a handful of times since its publication in 1903, but none of the prior efforts had the benefit of advanced computer technology to help bring the story’s central character, the St. Bernard-Scotch Collie mix named Buck, to life. As risky a proposition as that may be, reviews say it mostly pays off in this week’s The Call of the Wild. The story follows the CGI-animated Buck as he is dognapped from his blissful domestic life in California and sold as a beast of burden in the Alaskan Yukon. There, he comes under the care of a postman (Omar Sy) and learns the way of the sled dog before a series of misfortunes lands him in the hands of an aging gold prospector named John Thornton (Harrison Ford), and the two form an unlikely bond. Critics say The Call of the Wild is a mostly genial — if slightly sanitized — retelling of the tale that makes the most of its scenic locales and a grizzled, world-weary Harrison Ford, who brings both pathos and warmth to his character. Although the computerized Buck might be a distraction for some, the human performances help ground the film every time it treads a bit too far into the uncanny valley. That said, parents should be forewarned that, although the darkest moments (read: deaths) take place off screen, there are still scenes of animal cruelty and a palpable sadness that creeps in from time to time, so be prepared to comfort more sensitive toddlers.

Brahms: The Boy II (2020) 10%

2016’s The Boy wasn’t a critical hit, but it didn’t cost a lot to make and earned enough money at the box office to be considered a moderate success, so a sequel was put into the works. The result is this week’s Brahms: The Boy II, in which the titular doll from the first film is gifted with a new family to terrorize. Katie Holmes takes center stage as the concerned mother of a troubled boy named Jude (Christopher Convery) who, along with her husband (Owain Yeoman), moves into a new house for a change of scenery. It isn’t long before Jude discovers and befriends Brahms, the porcelain doll leftover from the last family who lived in the house, and of course, spooky things begin to happen. We won’t spoil anything here, but based on the trailer, suffice it to say that the sequel appears to retcon the big reveal from the first film in service of a more… franchiseable plot development. If that sounds like conjecture, it’s because it is; the film wasn’t widely screened prior to release, and reviews have yet to come in for Brahms. In other words, guess that Tomatometer!

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Vitalina Varela (2020) , a drama about a woman from Cape Verde who returns to Lisbon to bury her estranged husband, is at 100%.
  • Goldie (2020) , about a young woman striving to keep her troubled family together while she pursues her dreams, is at 100%.
  • Premature (2020) , a romance about a young poet who falls in love with a music producer just as she prepares to go to college, is at 96%.
  • Ride Your Wave (2020) , a Japanese animated film about a young woman who is able to summon her deceased boyfriend with a special song, is at 89%.
  • Emma. (2020) , starring Anya Taylor-Joy as the titular matchmaker in a new adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, is Certified Fresh at 88%.
  • Standing Up, Falling Down (2020) , starring Ben Schwartz as a failed comedian who returns home to Long Island and reexamines his life, is at 88%.
  • Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band (2020) , a documentary about the life of Robbie Robertson and his time with The Band, is at 72%.
  • Jinpa (Zhuang si le yi zhi yang) (2020) , about a truck driver in Tibet who picks up a mysterious hitchhiker and discovers their lives are intertwined, is at 71%.
  • Balloon (2020) , a dramatic thriller about the real-life escape from East Germany by two families who built a hot air balloon, is at 65%.
  • Young Ahmed (Le jeune Ahmed) (2020) , the Dardenne brothers’ drama about the dilemma faced by a 13-year-old Muslim boy living in Belgium, is at 55%.
  • The Night Clerk (2020) , starring Tye Sheridan as a socially awkward front desk clerk whose unusual behavior makes him the prime suspect in a murder, is at 47%.
  • Seberg (2020) , starring Kristen Stewart in a drama about actress Jean Seberg‘s brushes with the law over her political activisim in the 1960s, is at 39%.
  • The Last Thing He Wanted (2020) , starring Anne Hathaway and Ben Affleck in Dee Rees’ political thriller about a journalist who becomes entangled in international espionage thanks to a request from her dying father, is at 7%.

Thumbnail image by 20th Century Studios

Tag Cloud

SundanceTV Certified Fresh BBC America OWN Comic Book TV One franchise what to watch Photos breaking bad football popular reviews spain Watching Series teaser Vudu venice crime drama hist The Witch National Geographic Pride Month Television Academy kaiju 21st Century Fox films TV Adult Swim Action unscripted doctor who WGN new zealand YouTube Red children's TV LGBT jamie lee curtis GIFs Christmas Ghostbusters BAFTA mutant Columbia Pictures 24 frames Lifetime Christmas movies Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TCM scary movies Western based on movie Superheroes Mary poppins The Academy spy thriller Logo crossover versus dceu Nominations Sundance Dark Horse Comics serial killer 2017 Extras Universal supernatural superman Reality Competition nature thriller OneApp Legendary ratings james bond Musicals Syfy saw cops crime Star Wars aliens sequel docuseries police drama Avengers GoT dramedy IFC Netflix Christmas movies American Society of Cinematographers Grammys Marathons zombies Awards live action Disney telelvision cars kong cancelled finale ghosts natural history Captain marvel Cannes historical drama book Nickelodeon Pirates TCA Winter 2020 Fox News Rocky Election Pacific Islander Turner Classic Movies Pixar Spectrum Originals deadpool Fall TV ID Amazon dc book adaptation IFC Films south america slashers Tumblr Set visit Binge Guide Walt Disney Pictures Musical superhero Comics on TV disaster rotten toronto screen actors guild Starz Music documentaries BET Awards lord of the rings stoner true crime psycho Comedy foreign 45 scorecard anthology Disney Plus monster movies travel DC streaming service The Walt Disney Company crime thriller First Reviews cancelled television technology Netflix spider-man scene in color Britbox NBC heist movie zombie Song of Ice and Fire Marvel Television mission: impossible Elton John Disney streaming service Baby Yoda animated Hallmark Christmas movies Awards Tour indie SXSW Stephen King Fox Searchlight Lionsgate DC Universe Holidays Year in Review Oscars Mary Tyler Moore elevated horror Winter TV dark Apple cinemax vampires The Walking Dead Apple TV+ Sundance Now screenings comic Endgame cancelled TV shows archives Shondaland fresh Mindy Kaling a nightmare on elm street VH1 Warner Bros. TV movies Black Mirror green book richard e. Grant Animation Pop TV DC Comics 2016 Masterpiece comic books space stop motion Spike rom-coms 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards BBC One 007 Apple TV Plus ABC canceled TV shows Sundance TV blockbusters australia cartoon PaleyFest 2021 Anna Paquin TNT TCA Chernobyl Sci-Fi latino 2020 VOD Family criterion nbcuniversal free movies DGA romance Toys AMC miniseries blockbuster PBS hispanic HBO kids YouTube Showtime boxing marvel cinematic universe Paramount Plus Esquire Hulu dogs DirecTV Alien Turner Spring TV Tubi politics MCU Film directors tv talk Freeform Hallmark sports child's play batman comedies king kong video strong female leads RT21 revenge The Arrangement halloween witnail high school First Look singing competition Broadway best cats 72 Emmy Awards HBO Max Reality french composers razzies APB Rock Character Guide reboot christmas movies 2015 LGBTQ San Diego Comic-Con award winner Women's History Month CBS USA Network Marvel Studios 20th Century Fox Image Comics Funimation romantic comedy Cosplay TruTV facebook Drama Premiere Dates See It Skip It justice league festival Ellie Kemper Superheroe USA Infographic E! prank Trailer Cartoon Network video on demand mockumentary Marvel die hard New York Comic Con Quiz adventure Travel Channel game show El Rey Comedy Central Classic Film binge TBS Thanksgiving A24 X-Men TCA Awards laika sag awards quibi Mary Poppins Returns cooking 93rd Oscars TIFF ABC Signature golden globes science fiction FOX Arrowverse period drama festivals social media Teen Nat Geo BET international Food Network women sequels Interview docudrama Ovation harry potter cancelled TV series The CW Schedule game of thrones Epix CW Seed satire BBC Countdown name the review italian discovery psychological thriller emmy awards MSNBC spanish language cults Acorn TV TCA 2017 TV renewals Best and Worst golden globe awards TV Land asian-american ESPN trailers FX Creative Arts Emmys VICE classics news Polls and Games twilight remakes obituary Emmy Nominations Star Trek Horror RT History Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt nfl ViacomCBS HBO Go Fantasy Disney Channel movies 2019 Lifetime Holiday movie zero dark thirty Writers Guild of America theme song WarnerMedia worst Winners worst movies series Amazon Studios universal monsters Trivia joker Discovery Channel Emmys PlayStation political drama streaming Film Festival toy story anime robots Mudbound Sony Pictures transformers History comiccon Pop ITV new star wars movies casting MTV rt archives Tomatazos indiana jones Crunchyroll Academy Awards spinoff Summer medical drama renewed TV shows FX on Hulu 99% Paramount Network Heroines Red Carpet YA black godzilla Country japanese canceled TLC The Purge Kids & Family Crackle sitcom independent hidden camera Super Bowl YouTube Premium President war halloween tv CMT Video Games dragons 71st Emmy Awards pirates of the caribbean concert jurassic park Tarantino know your critic CNN Paramount E3 fast and furious Pet Sematary Box Office stand-up comedy hollywood streaming movies comics 4/20 talk show Amazon Prime Martial Arts aapi television adaptation Disney+ Disney Plus Black History Month Brie Larson A&E target Rocketman Mystery 2018 NYCC Biopics Rom-Com Opinion Hear Us Out diversity Exclusive Video Shudder rotten movies we love new york parents FXX Bravo SDCC documentary Peacock Calendar all-time CBS All Access blaxploitation werewolf boxoffice Sneak Peek spanish Amazon Prime Video Television Critics Association chucky GLAAD biography Trophy Talk Valentine's Day Podcast ABC Family critics Lucasfilm