The wild wolfdog isn’t the only thing that gets tamed in “White Fang
,” Luxembourgish animator Alexandre Espigares
’s ravishingly designed new take on the old Jack London
chestnut: London’s hard-bitten survivalist narrative is in for a wholesome cleanup too. Ostensibly more faithful to the novel than Randal Kleiser
’s 1991 live-action family adventure — rather than introducing a human protagonist, it wisely stays loyal to London’s predominant mutt’s-eye-view — it nonetheless retains some of that film’s Disneyfied plot adjustments, and tempers certain visceral details to puppydog-cute effect. That’s understandable given the junior target audience, though it’s uncertain whether smaller fry will be sufficiently enraptured by the film’s richly rendered Yukon environment to wait out its stately, staggered storytelling.
Either way, enterprising families can find out for themselves via Netflix
, which scooped up Espigares’s film after a warmly received premiere in Sundance’s Kids sidebar.