This week it was announced that, in honour of Chadwick Boseman’s death, his film 42 would be released in cinemas again. As cynical as I might be about the move, it is a wonderful way to celebrate his work as an actor. It was also a great excuse for me to watch it for this review. I have to be honest, I’m no fan of sports movies. Well, aside from The Mighty Ducks, Little Giants and Space Jam. It’s mostly because I don’t really care about sports. I can think of thousands of things that I’d rather be doing than sitting down and watching people kick/throw/hit a ball around a pitch. It’s not so surprising that one of those things isn’t sitting down and watching a formulaic film about people kicking/throwing/hitting a ball around a pitch. And I don’t know anything about baseball. It’s just complicated rounders. However, it felt like the right thing to do.
I read a headline recently that suggested that The Call of the Wild marked the return of the dog film. I wasn’t entirely convinced about how good a thing this was. There have been plenty of great dogs in films but films about dogs aren’t always that great. For every Homeward Bound, there are about 10 Snow Dogs. For every Beethoven, there are 7 increasingly dreadful Beethoven sequels. Then there’s the fact that dog films always like to give their canine protagonists the powers of thought and reason. They have to anthropomorphise them to a certain extent to create a story and make the audience really care about them. You can’t just have an animal following its natural instincts. What would the children do when faced with a fluffy creature ripping apart a rabbit with blood dripping from its fur?