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Review: White Fang
by Karen Pecota

Based on Jack London's novel "White Fang", academy award winning filmmaker Alexandre Espigares creates an adaptation of the novel by using animation that he hopes will initially catch audiences off guard. He says, "To ultimately tell a story that captivates... And, hopefully becomes a conversation starter between parents and their children". Though different, Espigares adaptation, also called WHITE FANG wanted to remain true to the spirit and tone of the London's original story. The way Espigares sought to produce this idea was to use as few words as possible in his narrative.

Espigares notes, "While Jack London's original "White Fang" was written over one-hundred years ago, the story continues to ring true and speak to the universal truth of the bond between man and nature which unites us all as inhabitants on this earth".

The collaboration of Superprod, Bidibul, and Espigares created a style of animation that uses both motion-capture and digital-painting. Their collective artistic abilities are incredibly captivating so that often the human eye connects more to the images telling the story rather than listening to the storyline unfold. The film is a remarkable visual adventure. The creative team explains, "It's a captivating journey of redemption that speaks to the heart, the eyes and the soul."

The extension of WHITE FANG's emotional journey is through the music chosen. Espigares acknowledges, "The score by Bruno Coulais echoes a timeless quality". He adds, "The original song by folksinger Bonnie Prince Billy evokes the American Frontier underlining the themes of home". In addition, the Luxembourg Symphony Orchestra adds their instrumental touch to entice the audience to journey with White Fang to find home, peace and tranquility.


The Yukon wilderness in the winter months proves to be a landscape only for the fit to survive. A puppy wolf-dog nearly dies from starvation in the freezing harsh weather after being separated from his mother. Leader of the Gwich'in tribe, Gray Beaver (voice of Eddie Spears) finds the pup and gives him shelter and names him, White Fang. Under Gray Beaver's care, White Fang learns discipline, strength and loyalty. Unbeknown to him, it is the training a dog goes through to become a powerful revered leader of a sled-dog-pack.

White Fang has a good life living with the tribe. Their respect and reverence for humans, nature and the creatures of the animal kingdom are highly valued. And, taken seriously. White Fang becomes a part of a safe community once again after losing his way in the wilderness.

Due to an unfortunate circumstance, Gray Beaver is victim to a deceitful fur trader, Beauty Smith (voice of Paul Giamatti) over a land dispute. He loses custody of his faithful companion, White Fang, in order to square an uncanny deal.

Smith sees prosperity in his future with the wolf-dog and forces him into a life of crime and extreme financial gain--the brutal world of dogfighting.

White Fang's experience from a life serving masters of kindness to ones of brutality is a paradigm shift he does not understand. His impeccable loyalty and obedience nearly costs him his life many times over but never forgets those who inflict horrific brutality.

In spite of White Fang's constant change of lifestyle and masters, he never stopped dreaming of one day being reunited with his family in the wild. The saving grace of U.S. Marshall Weedon Scott (voice of Nick Offerman) and his loving wife, Maggie (voice of Rashida Jones) allows White Fang to transition from the immaturity of adolescence to maturity in adulthood showing wisdom and dignity--a mentor for the next generation of active wolf-dogs.