Yet another example of how Disney is streets ahead of anyone else in the children's entertainment field, this fairly faithful screen adaptation of Jack London's kids' classic follows the turn-of-the-century adventures of the teenage Jack Conroy, who arrives at the Klondike to continue mining his late father's claim.
Naturally, this city lad is woefully unprepared for either the Alaskan winter or a gold rush town's interpretation of fair play: his grub stake is stolen, dad's partners are less than welcoming, and to stave off frostbite, he has to burn the school books he's lugging about with him. All before he's so much as swung a pick.
It's among a bunch of threatening huskies that Jack encounters White Fang, half dog and therefore prone to domestication, and we thus follow a double storyline with both lad and lupine meeting periodically to save each other's lives before the regulation wish-fulfillment ending. It's in the animal capers that Disney's skill really comes into play, as stunning wildlife photography combines with an Incredible Journey-type treat-animals-as-furry-people attitude to the narrative, transforming an average adventure film into a humorous, dangerous and immensely watchable movie.