Eight Below lifts up role of friends


By Phil Boatwright

The Movie Reporter

Eight Below

Stars: Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood, Jason Biggs.

Rating: PG

Inspired by a true story, Eight Below is an action-adventure about loyalty and the bonds of friendship set in the extreme wilderness of Antarctica.

The film tells the story of three members of a scientific expedition who are forced to leave behind their team of beloved sled dogs due to a sudden accident and a threatening storm. During the harsh, Antarctic winter, the dogs must struggle for survival alone in the intense frozen wilderness for over six months until the adventurers can mount a rescue mission. The film is inspired by the events of a 1957 Japanese Antarctic Expedition.

 Dogs serve and protect, love unconditionally and complement who we are. And some of them become movie stars. Indeed, Hollywood has manufactured a whole genre in order to salute our canine buddies. While Eight Below may not be able to reside among the great classic dog movies, it wouldn’t be because of the animal stars. The problem lies in its two-legged filmmakers. The talking stars are a blah bunch with Jason Biggs acting the comic fool and everyone else doing little with the standard Disney stereotypes.

This film’s cinematography is full of impressive, almost unworldly locations and is photographed with tender Disney loving care.

Along with breath-taking visuals, there’s an uplifting theme of friendship, respect for wildlife and we see just how far the animal world will go to survive. In a time when audiences are subjected to messages supporting euthanasia, abortion and desensitizing images of violence toward our fellow man here is a movie that reveals creatures in the wild sacrificing all in order to preserve life.

There are several tense moments and the film does deal with death.