Eight Below

Eight Below


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Question: how do you teach a dog to build an igloo? Answer: leave it outside in a blizzard.

Eight Below is a husky survival saga, iced up with insipid human interest. Kids will find it long and slow, with only one truly scary moment, and dads won't believe a word of it.

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On a watchability scale of one to 10, it rates a healthy six. Why? Antarctica. The sensational beauty of this frozen wilderness takes your breath away and director Frank Marshall (Alive, Congo) provides enough helicopter shots to match March Of The Penguins for grandeur.

The plot is an off-the-peg standard. Scientist (Bruce Greenwood) persuades arctic guide (Paul Walker) to take his dogs too far from base in order to discover evidence of a meteor from Mercury - or wherever. News reaches arctic guide's (ex?) girlfriend (Moon Bloodgood) that the worst storm in living memory is about to hit. How to warn the intrepid pair before the weather closes in and what can be done when the scientist breaks a leg and is partially drowned in a sub-zero ice hole?

That's Part 1 taken care of and it pushes all the right buttons, except there's a problem with Jason (American Pie) Biggs, who plays the joker at the base station, because he overdoes it, and amongst laidback, easy paced performances, he stands out like a frost bitten snozzle.

Part 2 is about the dogs - all eight of them (Eight Below, geddit?) - who, through no fault of anyone (blame the weather), are stranded for over six months during an arctic winter. How they make it through until spring is a miracle of hope over expectation and the scene of catching birds in flight is a case of lets-CGI-it, because this couldn't happen in real life.

The catchphrase: "You gotta take chances for what you believe" is admirable as long as it doesn't involve invading another country. Ultimately, tension is dissipated by the needs of the feelgood factor, which washes like a warm wave over all things

Reviewed on: 21 Apr 2006
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Husky survival saga, coupled with a scientific discovery and tentative love interest.
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Director: Frank Marshall

Writer: David DiGilio, based on the screenplay of Nankyoku Monogatari byToshiro Ishido, Koreyoshi Kurahara, Tatsuo Nogami, Kan Saji

Starring: Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood, Moon Bloodgood, Jason Biggs, Gerard Plunkett, August Schellenberg, Wendy Crewson

Year: 2006

Runtime: 120 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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