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Harrison Ford does most of the growling in the trailer for The Call Of The Wild

The weirdest thing about the new trailer for The Call Of The Wild, the latest foray into family-friendly canine-based entertainment, isn’t that Harrison Ford agreed to star in such a gooey, good-natured film. (It’s a rugged outdoorsy survival tale and a classic novel, two things Ford is on record as being a fan of—unlike, say, enjoying the company of people. Also, it meant most of his time on set didn’t involve dealing with other human actors, which is probably written into all his contracts at this point anyway, along with a “don’t crush my fucking leg in a hydraulic door” clause.)

No, the oddest thing about it is that the film seems to have ignored the opportunity to actually use a real dog at any time in the production. You know, something cute and cuddly and actually real-looking, that could inspire millions of kids and adults alike to go, “Awww” when Ford ruffles its fur and the dog responds by making an adorable lil’ whimper sound. Also, it probably would have saved millions in photorealistic digital effects costs. But no, instead we get another all-CGI-all-the-time experience in sort-of-there animal filmmaking. Would it have killed them to just get a well-trained good doggo who could also melt Ford’s cold, icy heart?

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Anyway, it’s The Call Of The Wild, so you probably know the story from not reading it, then asking your friend about the plot right before you had to take that quiz in fifth grade. Buck is a friendly dog that gets unwillingly hauled away to the Yukon during the 1890s gold rush, where he gets befriended by a grizzly curmudgeon, who is also a character in the story in addition to being Harrison Ford. The movie seems to have refocused the story to emphasize Ford’s role, so those hoping for A Dog’s Journey-style narration from the mutt’s perspective will be disappointed.

The Call Of The Wild will be released February 21, 2020. Harrison Ford presumably does not give a good goddamn whether you see it or not.

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Alex McLevy

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.