“Spenser Confidential” stars Mark Wahlberg, Winston Duke, Alan Arkin, Iliza Shlesinger, Bokeem Woodbine, Marc Maron, and Post Malone. Released on Netflix on March 6, 2020, the film is about a former officer who attempts to unravel a murder conspiracy.
The film is directed by Peter Berg, who also directed films such as “Friday Night Lights”, “Hancock”, “Battleship”, “Patriots Day”, and “Mile 22”. It is loosely based on the 2013 novel Wonderland by Ace Atkins with characters created by Robert B. Parker. We’re once again getting close to spring, which means that it’s time to look at another film from Netflix, and boy, this is going to be an interesting one. This film marks the latest collaboration between Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg after churning out some well-made fact-based thrillers back-to-back as well as the choppy misfire that was “Mile 22”. Seriously, what the heck happened to that mess? Peter Berg is one of those directors that deliver hard on the intense thrills and, in some cases, provide a solid story to go along with them. His filmography is far from perfect as he had a couple of misses in his career like the film adaptation of the Hasbro board game “Battleship” (don’t ask why it exists) and the already-mentioned “Mile 22” (again, what happened to that film?), but aside from those disappointments, I think he deserves some credit for making Wahlberg into a decent star with his recent thrillers like “Lone Survivor” and “Patriots Day” (my personal favorite from him). So now we have a loose adaptation of one of Ace Atkins’ novels that will hopefully erase the “Mile 22” mishap and get the duo back on track. Was it able to shoot its way to the top? Let’s find out.
The story centers on Spenser (Wahlberg), a former Boston police officer who gets sent to prison for intervening in a domestic dispute and assaulting his captain John Boylan (Michael Gaston). On the day of Spenser’s release, Boylan and another officer are found murdered in cold blood. With the help of his mentor Henry Cimoli (Arkin) and his new roommate Hawk (Duke), Spenser must put his skills to the test in order to solve this mystery and uncover a conspiracy that involves drug dealers and corrupt cops. Even though the film is inspired by one of Atkins’ novels and uses Parker’s characters, the story doesn’t follow the source material beat-by-beat, and the characters in the film aren’t exactly the same characters that you recognized in the novel or Parker’s original works. This is a pretty big risk that usually spells doom for the filmmakers’ relationship with the fans. If you’re a huge follower of the book series, you might find this film to be a smack in the face. Since I haven’t heard that much about this character and the source material in general, I will be looking at it as its own film without making some comparisons. This is just me talking about something that I watched out of curiosity. The first thing I want to talk about is the cast. Mark Wahlberg is the latest actor to portray Spenser following Robert Urich and Joe Mantegna in the made-for-TV movies from the 1990s. This is also his latest attempt to show off his acting skills in the thriller genre. For the most part, I thought he did all right, to be honest. It’s not the best performance I’ve seen from him, but he was able to provide some decent moments to make the film watchable. Winston Duke and Alan Arkin did what they could to follow suit as Hawk and Henry respectively and the results were okay at best. Not great, not terrible. Just okay. The cast is one of the two main reasons why the film was somewhat tolerable in my eyes, with the other reason being its bearable action scenes. It didn’t have a lot of action that made my heart pound with excitement, but the editing during those scenes weren’t as painful as the editing in “Mile 22”, so it gets points for that. If you’re wondering why I mentioned only those two good reasons, it’s because the film was severely lacking something that made the other mystery thrillers and Peter Berg’s last few films (excluding Mile 22) so riveting. To its credit, I did find myself feeling intrigued by the film’s mystery and the chemistry between the main cast, but with a plot that’s as simple as reading a book and a script that lacks a strong connection between the characters, that intrigue wore itself thin rather quickly. Another flaw I should mention was its tone. It looked like the film was trying to combine the comedy with the thriller aspect, which could result in a fun and exciting ride if they play the cards right. Unfortunately, almost all of the jokes didn’t quite hit their marks. Because of this, the film’s tone wound up being uneven and underwhelming due to the direction that was given and its cliched screenplay. It tried to be a thriller that’s both heart-pounding and amusing, but the direction towards it felt so restrained like it didn’t want to go too far with one thing or the other, which is why the film didn’t exactly impress me as much as I wanted it to do.
Overall, “Spenser Confidential” has some tolerable moments that I enjoyed like its cast and some decent action sequences, but they weren’t enough to shoot its way past its disappointing attempt to meet its promising expectations. While I would say that it’s a small improvement over “Mile 22”, I can’t say that it’s as thrilling and fun as Peter Berg’s other works. With its mediocre plot, uneven tone, underdeveloped characters, and an underwhelming script, this is one mystery that should've been handled by the professionals. I’m starting to get the feeling that Berg and Wahlberg should get back to making thrillers based on true stories again. They seem to know what they’re doing with these types of films unlike this film and “Mile 22”. If you’re interested in seeing it because of Wahlberg’s involvement, you might be okay watching this on Netflix if you’re feeling bored. Otherwise, don’t worry about it.
“The Way Back” stars Ben Affleck, Al Madrigal, Michaela Watkins, Janina Gavankar, Glynn Turman, Brandon Wilson, Hayes MacArthur, and Rachael Carpani. Released on March 6, 2020, the film is about a former basketball player who is hired to coach a team at his high school.
The film is directed by Gavin O’ Connor, who also directed films such as “Tumbleweeds”, “Miracle”, “Warrior”, and “The Accountant”. There are sports dramas that center on a specific athlete and their struggles, and there are sports dramas that involve a person who coaches a team and deals with their own personal issues in the process. This film belongs in the latter category. After hanging up his Batman costume for good, Ben Affleck is heading back to reality with this latest drama that’s supposed to be inspired by the actor’s real-life struggle with his own personal demons. Gavin O’Connor is no stranger to this type of genre as he had delivered some pretty solid sports films in the past. I recently watched “Miracle” on Disney+ a while ago, and I thought O’Connor did a really nice job at telling that story. If you haven’t seen it and you have the streaming service, it’s worth checking out. Anyway, the film marks the director’s return to the genre and based on his past experiences with it, it’s possible that we might be in for a treat. Is it good enough for me to recommend?
The story follows Jack Cunningham (Affleck), a former high school basketball player who turned down a scholarship to the University of Kansas and his future career. He now works as a construction worker and becomes an alcoholic. See what happens when you don’t go to college, kids? You could wind up on the same path as him. When he is given a job to coach a basketball team at his former high school, he’ll soon get the inspiration he needed to get his life back on track and confront the personal demons from his past. In case you didn’t understand the title alone, which is highly impossible, this is another film that deals with the process of healing one’s self after a series of tragic events left them broken. This theme alone is quite fitting for a sports drama like this because sports are like life itself. They have wins and losses that determine who we are as a person. It depends on what we’re focusing on the most. I’m always in a mood for a film that combines sports action and drama, especially the ones that impacted me on an emotional level. Whether they’re great or not, these films always make solid impressions for me with their inspiring motivations and some crowd-pleasing action. “The Way Back” managed to fit itself into that list thanks to its storytelling that’s both familiar and moving. If you’re a follower of this type of genre, you’ll immediately noticed that the film took some of the pages right out of the “Inspirational Sports Dramas” playbook, resulting in some predictable moments that falter its strong sense of emotion. When it comes to these types of cliches, The quality of a film highly depends on how a filmmaker represent them in a story that they’re trying to tell in terms of the direction and the script. While it’s far from a perfect sports movie, Gavin O’Connor was able to use those cliches to portray a realistic and subtle depiction of alcoholism and some well-directed basketball sequences. The film’s screenplay by Brad Ingelsby also helped in making it feel more like a grounded sports film rather than just a plain old Cinderella story, especially the third act. With the story being so subtle and deeply personal, it made sense that the performances from the cast were like that as well, and I was okay with that. It just goes to show that there’s more to dramatic acting than just random outbursts and hitting or throwing stuff out of anger. Ben Affleck was one of the main elements that drive this film with a performance that’s invigorating enough for him to start off his post-Batman days on the right foot. The film is said to be a form of therapy for the actor after his own experiences with alcoholism, which makes his performance just as authentic as the concept itself. While it’s too early to tell if his performance will be recognized at next year’s awards season, I can at least say that it’s great to see Affleck attempting to be known for his other roles outside of the DC Extended Universe. Al Madrigal was also really good in his role as Dan, a Mathematics teacher who serves as the assistant coach for the basketball team. Speaking of which, the young actors who portrayed the team did a nice job with their performances as well, although I do wish that the film would explore their relationship with Jack a bit more outside of the basketball court. That would’ve made the connection between the players and their coach much more emotional. My only concern for the film was that its representation of the subject matter might make certain people feel uncomfortable, especially the ones who went down that road themselves. Fortunately, the film knows how to draw the line between depression and heart, so you don’t have to worry about it being too dark.
Overall, “The Way Back” dribbles its way past its familiar narrative to provide a well-acted and engaging depiction of redemption. Despite its genre cliches overshadowing its storytelling from time to time, this is another worthy effort from director Gavin O’Connor and Ben Affleck thanks to its talented cast, its strong messages, and O’Connor’s direction. It’s also another film that succeeds in being both a source of inspiration and a source of discussion for people who remember someone who are following that same path. If you’re a fan of sports films that are inspiring and heartfelt, this film is worth your time.
“Onward” stars Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Octavia Spencer. Releasing on March 6, 2020, the film has two elf brothers going on a quest to bring their father back to life.
The film is directed by Dan Scanlon, who also directed “Monsters University”. Throughout the last decade, the Pixar team had used their creativity to expand their beloved animated franchises with their successful follow-ups, ranging from the disdained “Cars 2” to last year’s Oscar winner “Toy Story 4”. Sure, they also delivered a few original projects during the 2010s, with some of them being more successful than others, but when you look at their filmography during that decade, you may have noticed that the animation studio had relied a bit more on sequels rather than originality. This year, the studio is once again returning to the tradition that it was famously known for by giving us not one, but two original films in the same year. This means that we won’t be getting any more sequels from Pixar for a while. This wasn’t the first time that Pixar has done this strategy. They did it in 2015 with the releases of “Inside Out” and “The Good Dinosaur”, and they pulled it off again in 2017 with “Cars 3” and “Coco”. While “Inside Out” and “Coco” delivered some huge box office results, “The Good Dinosaur” and “Cars 3” didn’t quite share the same success as the former two, so fingers crossed that this pattern doesn’t happen again this year. This was on my list of anticipated 2020 films mostly because of Pixar’s involvement (obviously), the film’s concept, and the fact that this is the studio’s first original project in three years following the release of “Coco” in 2017. People need to know that originality is not dead. Fortunately, I didn’t have to anticipate it even longer as I was able to attend an advance screening of the film one week before its official release. That means that you won’t have to wait another week to hear what I thought of the film. Thank you, Disney and Pixar. With that in mind, let’s see if this quest can capture the same amount of magic as Pixar’s other animated classics.
The film is set in a fictional world where everything is filled with magic and wonder and the entire population is filled with fantastical creatures like elves, pixies, unicorns, mermaids, and so much more. As the years passed, the population began to rely less on the magic and more on modern technology like cell phones and vehicles. Sounds like the society I know. The story centers on Ian (Holland) and Barley (Pratt) Lightfoot, two teenage elf brothers who have nothing in common. Ian is the scrawny and nervous type of brother, and Barley is the adventurous type of brother who longs for an epic quest. Their widowed mother (Louis-Dreyfus) gives them a prearranged gift from their father, who passed away before Ian was born and when Barley was too young to remember him. That gift is a wizard’s staff along with a spell that allows the brothers to bring their father back to life for one day. When they attempt to use it, they wound up bringing back just their father’s legs instead. This unusual predicament forces the brothers to go on a dangerous adventure to bring back the rest of him before the spell’s 24-hour limit runs out. Most films from Pixar offer two specific elements: a straightforward and thought-provoking plot and an imaginative world that metaphorically resembles our own experiences in life. “Onward” is unsurprisingly no different as it provided a fun and heart-warming tale about brotherhood as well as a dazzling and magical realm that reflects our modern age of society. These elements, along with its sharp humor and its family-friendly thrills, are enough to make this film a worthy option for kids and their parents. However, it didn’t quite conjure all of the right spells that it needed to become the next Pixar classic. While it had pretty much everything that you would expect from the minds of Pixar, such as the likable characters, its well-detailed animation, and the emotion, I believe that the film could’ve done a bit more with its world. It had a very interesting concept, in which these characters are relying on the technologies of today to get things done easily as opposed to using magic. It resembles our own shift from using old-school materials to using today’s technology because we have a new generation of people who believe that the latter makes everything easy and simple without all of the hard work and stress. This could’ve been a very useful way to teach kids about how useful both of these tools are as opposed to one type being better than the other. Unfortunately, the way this film resolves this plot element wasn’t as strong as its compelling build-up. If the Pixar team had put more emphasis on both the story and the world without making the film too long, especially its third act, they would’ve had another classic on their hands. Aside from this noticeable flaw, the story delivered an irresistible combination of entertainment, imagination, and depth that will fill the kids’ heads with wonder and intellect. The main characters, Ian and Barley, were such a joy to watch, mostly due to the chemistry between Holland and Pratt and the development of their relationship. You have these characters who have to rely on one another to complete their quest despite their differences, only to discover that there’s more to this quest than they realized. Their amusing personalities and the message it provided for this narrative helped make the film much more relatable to people who have their own brothers, especially kids. The other characters were also fun to watch, most notably Corey (voiced by Spencer), a manticore restaurant owner who Ian and Barley encounter during their adventure. Corey is the type of supporting character who attempts to deliver as many funny moments as the ones from the main characters. While far from memorable, she had enough comical moments for me to appreciate her presence onscreen.
Overall, despite hitting a few bumps on the road, “Onward” is a visually-enthralling and thoughtful quest that’s worth taking. There are a couple of issues with its narrative that prevented the film from being inducted into the Pixar Hall of Fame, but it still managed to capture the magic and the emotion that I’ve come to expect from a Pixar film. The story was well-told, the characters were engaging, the animation was beautiful, and more importantly, the quest itself was entertaining. This is the road trip that will surely put a smile on everyone’s faces. If you’re a fan of Pixar, this film is definitely worth checking out. Just don’t expect it to be a masterpiece like “Toy Story” or “Inside Out”.
“The Invisible Man” stars Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, and Harriet Dyer. Released on February 28, 2020, the film is about a woman who is stalked by someone she couldn’t see.
The film is written and directed by Leigh Whannell, who also directed “Insidious: Chapter 3” and “Upgrade”. It is loosely based on the 1897 novel of the same name by H. G. Wells, and it is a modern reboot of the “Invisible Man” film series. Being stalked by someone can be a terrifying experience, especially if that someone is your abusive ex. Being haunted by someone who is invisible is a whole new level of terrifying…because you can’t flipping see where they are! We’re heading back into horror territory once again this month as we move away from our disastrous vacation that was “Fantasy Island” and into something that’s more psychological and heart-pounding. The Invisible Man, also known as Griffin, has been a part of the Universal Classic Monsters lineup since his appearance in the 1933 film. Known for his psychotic personality and his decent into madness due to his inability to reverse his invisibility process, this guy will make you wish that you are invisible as well so that he can’t see and catch you. The character has appeared in many different sources, including the 1933 film which starred Claude Rains as the title character and its sequels that featured different characters taking the title as the “Invisible Person”. This year sees the return of this iconic character, only this time, he won’t be wearing his bandages and goggles for you to see his face. This film was originally considered to be a part of Universal’s Dark Universe, a cinematic universe that consists of modern takes on the Universal Classic Monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein, but because of the underperformance of the “Mummy” reboot (the first film in the Dark Universe franchise), the studio shifted gears and decided to make stand-alone films based on the monsters. So don’t expect Russell Crowe to make a surprise appearance at the end of the film and talk about his encounter with the corpse of an Egyptian goddess. It ain’t happening. The film is now under the protection of the folks behind “Insidious” and the already-mentioned “Fantasy Island”. This marks the third directorial effort for “Saw” co-creator Leigh Whannell, who showed us that he’s comfortable directing the action in addition to writing scripts for horror films. I thought the third “Insidious” film was tolerable, and “Upgrade” was one of the best surprises of 2018, in my opinion. Can he pull off this type of success again with his take on the Invisible Man? Let’s find out.
The story follows Cecilia Kass (Moss), a young woman who’s stuck in a troubling relationship with Adrian Griffin (Jackson-Cohen), a wealthy, but ungrateful, scientist who constantly abuses her for stupid reasons. Having had enough of his violent behavior, Cecilia successfully escapes with the help of her sister Emily (Dyer), her childhood friend James (Hodge), and his daughter Sydney (Reid). Sometime later, she finds out that Griffin committed suicide and left her a portion of his fortune. When Cecilia later discovers that she’s being haunted by a presence that’s invisible, who may be her ex, she attempts to uncover the secret of this presence and prove to her friends and family that she’s not insane. In case you haven’t noticed, this isn’t your grandfather’s “Invisible Man”. This is the “Invisible Man” for a new generation of horror fans. What makes this film stand out from the other versions is not just the absence of the title character’s iconic bandages and goggles, it’s the fact that it focuses on the main character’s psychological trauma she received from an abusive relationship. This is another situation that makes me feel disgusted every time I see it on screen or hear about it on the news. It saddens me that a man would harm a woman and not feel any regret while doing it. It makes me want to punch them in the face, lock them up, and throw away the key. But enough of my personal feelings towards the subject matter, let’s talk about the film. In addition to the exploration of its subject matter, the film has plenty of R-rated horror elements that’ll make you want to check your surroundings more than once. This is the type of mixture that could go in either direction depending on how they handled it. Most of the recent modern horror films I’ve seen tend to put more emphasis on jump scares and genre cliches rather than combining them with proper narratives and thought-provoking themes, which is a common problem that the genre is still facing today. Fortunately for me, the 2020 version of “The Invisible Man” is not like those horror films. After giving me their sour piece of filmmaking known as “Fantasy Island”, the Blumhouse team was able to make amends for their mistake by delivering a well-executed and tension-filled reboot that combines its timely subject matter with some effective scares. Instead of relying so much on jump scares and genre cliches, Leigh Whannell used the film’s horror tactics to easily represent its depiction of women being traumatized and manipulated in dangerous relationships and the phobia of thinking that you’re being watched by someone who isn’t there. Both of these things are very frightening, and Whannell knows it. Aside from its runtime, which is over two hours long, and a couple of scenes that left me feeling puzzled, the story had enough twists and heart-pounding sequences to rise above the other 2020 horror films thanks to Whannell’s screenplay and his slick sense of direction. What’s even better is that it didn’t treat the characters like they’re a bunch of idiots. Cecilia thinks that Adrian is torturing her through manipulation while he’s invisible, forcing people around her to think that she’s mentally insane because of her trauma, which I thought made more sense. I believe that this element alone made the film much more enjoyable and believable rather than frustrating and silly. Elisabeth Moss was riveting in her role as Cecilia as she successfully manifested the emotional and uneasy personality of this character who has been through a lot since she escaped from her abusive ex. It’s the type of performance that could also work well in another film that also deals with psychological trauma. Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Aldis Hodge also delivered some solid performances as Adrian and James respectively. Another element that made the film work for me was its cinematography. The cinematography is one of the main stars of the film when it comes to its suspenseful sequences. The panning shots, the wide-angle shots, the one-shot maneuvers, everything about those shots looked so clean and smooth as if they were visible to the naked eye.
Overall, Leigh Whannell has made another successful directorial effort with “The Invisible Man”, a fresh take on the source material that’s nerve-wrecking, well-written, and entertaining. Thanks to its superb cast, its effective mixture of suspense and storytelling, and Whannell’s direction, this is a rare horror remake that doesn’t tarnish the franchise’s legacy despite its changes. It’s not a perfect horror film due to its runtime and a couple of flawed scenes, but those things didn’t bother me as much as the flaws from the last few horror films that I witnessed so far this year. Thank goodness. If they’re really planning on remaking the other horror films based on the other Universal Classic Monsters as separate stories, I hope that they make them as good as this. I would gladly recommend this film to those who are in desperate need of a good horror film this year.
“The Call of the Wild” stars Harrison Ford, Dan Stevens, Omar Sy, Karen Gillan, Bradley Whitford, and Colin Woodell. Released on February 21, 2020, the film is about a dog who journeys through the Yukon with an old man.
The film is directed by Chris Sanders, who co-directed “Lilo & Stitch”, “How to Train Your Dragon”, and “The Croods”. It is based on the 1903 novel of the same name by Jack London. When you’re going on a perilous adventure, it’s always important to have a trustworthy partner by your side, whether it’s another human or a big computer-generated canine. The next family film I’ll be talking about this month is the fifth film adaptation of Jack London’s adventure novel that depicts a domesticated dog’s journey into the wild. What’s interesting about this film is that it marks the first live-action feature for director Chris Sanders, who is mostly known for his work on animated features from Disney and DreamWorks Animation such as “How to Train Your Dragon” (my personal favorite from him). Well, it’s part live-action, part animated based on the footage I saw from the trailers. Yeah, apparently, this film has live actors appearing in computer-generated backgrounds and working alongside computer-generated animals, including the dog. That’s one way to avoid controversy from PETA. Whether this strategy succeeds or not is one of the two main questions I will be answering in my review because I can’t judge based on the marketing alone. The second main question is whether this family-friendly adventure is worth taking or not in terms of the quality. Let’s not waste any more time wondering and let’s head off into the wild.
Set in the 1890s, the film follows Buck, a domesticated St. Bernard/Scotch Collie dog who is stolen from his California home and is sold to freight haulers in Yukon. There, he encounters a series of adventures that will test his courage, loyalty, and survival skills, including leading a dog sled team and befriending an old man (Ford) with a troubled past. His trials would soon lead him to discover his true calling. If you read the book that the film is based on, you’ll find that this version kept some of the major elements from the source material, such as the dog sled team plot element, and removed the other elements from the source material in order to appeal to families who aren’t familiar with the book. As someone who hasn’t read the book, I thought the film had some pretty decent moments that’ll please plenty of dog lovers, but they weren’t enough to make this latest adaptation stand out compared to the previous versions that came before it. As I mentioned earlier, this is Chris Sanders’ first live-action debut as a director outside of his work on animation. This means that he had to take advantage of the strengths he developed in his earlier projects in order to deliver the vision that he wanted to portray in live action form. While some of his strengths worked well in his favor, the end result couldn’t quite reach the same amount of emotion as his animated works that involve a human-animal relationship in terms of storytelling. The story had plenty of elements that will keep both kids and adults entertained, such as the action sequences and Buck’s adorable personality, even though some of these sequences might be a bit too intense for the youngsters. Unfortunately, those elements weren’t able to overcome its series of sentimental moments that were a bit too safe. Keep in mind that this film is about a dog who gets lost in the wild and has to deal with a couple of abusive human characters. The human cast delivered some good performances, especially Harrison Ford and Omar Sy, but I have to give credit to Terry Notary for his mo-cap performance as Buck. Despite the dog’s CGI appearance, both Sanders and Notary did well in making Buck as likable as any other person who’s involved in his journey. This is one of Sanders' strengths that made "The Call of the Wild" and his other films work for me. Like Stitch and Toothless, Buck has the right amount of adorability that'll easily impress young kids and adults, even though he's not a real animal. Another element that I would like to mention is the film’s visual effects. The filmmakers did some heavy work on the special effects for the film’s settings and surprisingly, the animals. While the visuals worked really well in creating some gorgeous sceneries, the same cannot be said for the CGI on the animals. All of the animals in the film, including Buck, are 100% computer-generated. They didn’t use any real life animals for the sake of avoiding controversy. Because of this, the film wasn’t able to maintain its sense of tension and realism throughout the entire narrative despite having a couple of sequences that were quite intense. I can give them points for creating some good CGI, but aside from that, it just looked out of place when it comes to how they used it. I can understand why they went down that route, but to me, it felt more like an unnecessary shortcut rather than a storytelling tool. The best possible solution that would’ve improve this issue, in my opinion, is to get real life animals for the drama moments and use CGI animals for the stunts that were deemed too dangerous or impossible for the real animals to do. That way, the film will be able to keep its sense of excitement and realism consistent all the way through. Another possible solution? Make the entire film animated.
Overall, “The Call of the Wild” is a tolerable trip for dog lovers young and old, but as an actual piece of filmmaking, it’s a troubling experience that’s more mild than wild. To its credit, the film looked beautiful in terms of the visualized sceneries and the action scenes were nicely directed by Chris Sanders. Plus, the performances from the human cast were believable enough to help the film stand its ground against the dangerous forces of nature. However, its story wasn’t able to reach the same standards as Sanders’ other works and the CGI work on the animals overshadowed its sense of realism. I can see kids and their parents liking this because of Buck, but I can also see the fact that the film can be a tough sell for people who are fans of the book and for those who have a keen eye on visual filmmaking. It had the potential to be good, but the direction they took on the visuals and the story prevented it from reaching that said potential. It’s the type of journey that’s enjoyable to take, but doesn’t have a lot of memorable moments to make me want to go again immediately.