Eight Below

"Weak"

Eight Below Review


When you see the phrase "inspired by a true story," you assume the accompanying movie will have the intimate perspective of someone affected by adversity. Eight Below, Disney's sled dogs in peril picture, is a case of false advertising. You get a true story only told by someone rattling off headlines and first paragraphs: "Dogs Abandoned in Snow," "Owner Sad About Dogs Missing." The only adversity worth following, which the movie doesn't cover, is how Paul Walker kept his dreamy tan in the Arctic cold.

The year for some reason -- the actual events happened in 1957 -- is 1993. Walker plays a guide at the National Science Foundation's base in Antarctica, where he and his eight sled dogs cover the terrain, helping with expeditions. Bruce Greenwood plays a big-shot scientist who comes to the cold continent looking for the remains of an asteroid or something else out of a Michael Bay movie. The men head out on the sled, encounter a heap of trouble, and barely return to headquarters.

As the NSF crew flees, an exhausted Walker has to leave his beloved dogs behind. After he's recovered, the young man is horrified to discover that he can't return. The winter has made travel too difficult, meaning the dogs have to survive in the snow and brutal cold. The movie proceeds to profile the dogs' plight and Walker scrambling for months to get his furry friends back.

Neither plotline is effective. Walker is not a terrible actor, but he's asked to carry half the movie, which is like asking Jessica Alba to bench press 300 pounds. Walker can play macho jerks and little else -- he's the poor man's Greg Kinnear -- so he's out of his league playing bereaved. Not that he gets much help from the supporting cast or writer Dave DiGilo. As Walker's best friend, Jason Biggs' lame attempt at the goofy sidekick is a reminder that his career peak involved violating an apple pie. Greenwood only provides the required gravitas for a movie like this, so parents feel as if they're not wasting an entire evening. DiGilo's screenplay further dehumanizes the movie by having nearly every one of Walker's encounters consist of a character providing a plot update or inspirational/sensible drivel. You can't go back; it's too dangerous. My love for these animals will keep me safe. You know, that kind of stuff.

The dogs fare better even if they are in the harsher conditions. Their scenes of scrapping for food and protection are fun, sometimes exciting. But just a few months after March of the Penguins captured the hearts and dollars of Americans, the scenes have an uncomfortable familiarity and reek of cashing in. It's fitting. Eight Below runs on assumptions (You love dogs, and you love March of the Penguins) and shop-worn clichés, but offers no compelling reason to care again. It's familiar, it's run of the mill, and the writing and performances all too willingly follow suit. Call the movie "uninspired by a true story."

Aka 8 Below.

Gimme another meatball, and I'll tell ya.



Eight Below

Facts and Figures

Run time: 120 mins

In Theaters: Friday 17th February 2006

Box Office USA: $81.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $120.5M

Budget: $40M

Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures

Production compaines: Walt Disney Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Mandeville Films, Winking Productions, Kennedy/Marshall Company, The, Vertigo Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Fresh: 105 Rotten: 41

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Jerry Shepard, as Davis McClaren, as Katie, as Charlie Cooper, Gerard Plunkett as Dr. Andy Harrison, as Mindo, as Eve McClaren

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.