Jack London's immortal tale of courage and survival comes to life amid the breathtaking beauty of the great Alaskan frontier. Ethan Hawke stars as a young man trying to fulfill his father's dying wish to find gold in the treacherous Yukon valley. His incredible Journey begins when he meets a veteran gold miner who guides young Jack to his father's claim. Along the way, Jack discovers a kindred spirit who will change his life forever a magnificent wolf-dog named White Fang. From the taming of a wolf, to the taming of the wild, he must find the courage to conquer his fears and become a man in this outdoor adventure.
I've never read Jack London's book, but it's certainly on my wishlist. And after seeing this film I think I might finally get around to buying it.
Ethan Hawke plays Jack Conroy a young gold prospector in Canada/Alaska during the gold rush of the late 19th century. His story is without considerable peril and seems to take a backseat to the more intimate story of a young wolf cub who loses his mother and ventures out into the world on his own. Many people (kind, cruel and indifferent) interact and encounter the wolf before Jack adopts him as "White Fang".
The scenes of the cub hugging his dying mother are heartbreaking, and the training the filmmakers did with the animals is really impressive. A disclaimer pops up before the film begins to explain that although all the animal cruelty looks realistic is was done safely.
The scenery is wonderful, but I am puzzled as to why director Randall Kleiser didn't shoot it in anamorphic Panavision. When filming in breathtaking parts of the world it's kinda dumb to not take full advantage. The resulting picture looks a bit TV-ish. But it's a minor quibble.
Basil Poledouris' score is also great. I am convinced Hans Zimmer might have also contributed as there are a couple of tracks that have the early 90s Zimmer sound. But it's definitely Poledouris' show, and it's a shame that a definitive score CD was never released.
For those of you who love wolf, adventure and great outdoors movies, this one is a must.
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