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

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