Writer: David DiGilio (Screenplay) Toshiro Ishido, Koreyoshi Kurahara, Tatsui Nogmai, Susumu Saji (original Film)
Starring: Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood, Moon Bloodgood, Wendy Crewson, Gerald Plunkett, August Schellenberg, Jason Biggs
Plot: Brutal cold forces two Antarctic explorers to leave their team of sled dogs behind as they fend for their survival.
Tagline – The Most Amazing Story Of Survival, Friendship, And Adventure Ever Told
Runtime: 2 Hours
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Incredible Survival Story
Story: Eight Below starts as we meet our Antarctic research team, with dog handler Jerry Shepard (Walker) who has 8 Siberian Huskies and knows the lay of land, while Charlie Cooper (Biggs) has mapped the land. When scientist Davis McClaren (Greenwood) wants to head towards dangerous territory in the wrong season, Jerry reluctant agrees to take him with the dogs.
When an accident occurs on the expedition, Jerry must get Davis back with a storm breaking out, the team need to evacuate and as the weather continues to turn, the dogs are left behind. Jerry does everything he can to get back with everybody refusing to let him.
Thoughts on Eight Below
Characters – Jerry Shepard is the dog handler and guide for the Antarctic post, he has a connection with the dogs where he has earnt the respect from them who will do anything to help him, following his instruction, we do get to see his experience as a guide shine through and after saving his guest he learns the dogs were never rescued. He does get filled with guilt and tries everything he can to get back to them believe the worst will happen. Davis is a scientist that is headed to Antarctic in search for meteors, he does push the limits with his last minute changes to the plan, but his determination lets Jerry’s guard down. Katie is the pilot who will take them to and from the research centre, she is known for taking risks and her former relationship with Jerry keeps them close. Charlie Cooper maps the land and gives us the comic relief because of his fear of flying and dogs.
Performances – Paul Walker was always an actor brave enough to take a role outside of his comfort zone, this is one of those and he shows us that he was an actor that could pull off the serious with one of his best performances of his career. Bruce Greenwood is always an actor that can give us great performances in supporting roles and this is no different, Moon Bloodgood and Jason Biggs complete the main cast and they both known how to hit their roles well. The dogs who performed in the film do require a special mention too as they invest you in their survival story.
Story – The story here follows a group of Antarctic researchers that must leave the dogs behind when a storm hits early, the story continues to follow their handler try to figure out how to get back to them and we get to see their amazing story of survival during the time away. This is a very loosely based on true story which test us as the audience because there is no way to know what the dogs got up to, away from that minor flaw in the story this is one that dog lovers will understand completely because we would do anything for our dogs, however impossible it might well be. This does have moments which would hard to watch too because of what goes on with the dogs. We could have also seen more of the determination behind wanting to get back even if they were all going to be ‘no’.
Adventure/Family – The adventure shows us just how incredible the story the huskies go through, we do have moments from the human side too, but it cuts between because they are pretty safe too. The youngest members of your family might get upset because of certain moments in the film too.
Settings – The film uses the Antarctic settings wonderfully because it shows us just how difficult of a place it is to one get to and two survive in.
Final Thoughts – This is an incredible story of survival from the dogs that get left behind through a winter season with little hope of survival, while their handler does everything to get back.
Overall: Must watch for dog lovers.