Release Date: February 17th, 2006 by Walt Disney Pictures.
The Cast: Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood, Jason Biggs, Moon Bloodgood, Gerard Plunkett, August Schellenberg.
Directed by Frank Marshall.
BASIC PREMISE: Jerry (Walker), part of an Antarctic expedition team, tries to retrieve eight sled dogs he and his team left behind in Antarctica. Inspired by a true story.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The eight snow dogs make Eight Below a true winner when it comes to entertainment. Neither of the human characters seem as memorable or interesting. In the first act, Davis (Greenwood), a geologist, and Katie (Bloodgood) join the expedition along with Jerry and Charlie (Biggs). Charlie provides a little bit of comic relief. Davis believes that he can find meteorites from the planet Mercury. The mission goes wrong when Davis breaks his leg and the wintry weather gets harsher. The team must head back on sleds with their sled dogs and escape from Antarctica—but without the dogs. At that point Eight Below becomes incredibly suspenseful as the dogs struggle to survive all alone in the frozen landscape of Antarctica. Each dog has his or her own personality—more so than the humans in this film. Maya, the lead of the pack, is the most adorable although Max comes pretty close. Day by day, the dogs fight hunger until they find a way to catch birds. Much of this second act feels like a documentary like March of the Penguins as the dogs care about one another like human beings would. Meanwhile, Jerry does his best to go back to get the dogs even through the harsh winter. The third act is predictable, but what makes it so intense is wondering when the dogs will finally reunite with Jerry and his team. Along with beautiful cinematography of the snowy Antarctic landscape, Eight Below becomes a breathtaking, edge-of-your seat adventure.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Dogs have always been man’s best friend. In this case, these sled dogs are more than just friends: they’re courageous heroes. Just the fact that they can survive over a hundred days in Antarctica seems like a miracle alone. It’s heartwarming to know that Jerry cares about them enough to risk his life traveling back to save them, but what’s really heartwarming is the way the dogs show kindness toward one another, i.e. by sharing food. The third act will make you teary-eyed with both sadness and, ultimately, plenty of joy.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: A suspenseful, thrilling adventure! Both heartbreaking and inspirational!
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "E" Menu