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Eight Below - 2006

  • Oct 14, 2008
  • by
Pros: scenery, story

Cons: ...

The Bottom Line:
"Eight below zero, too cold to_snow
Eight below zero, nowhere to_go
Eight below zero, face to the wind
It must have been written I'd see you again"

At first I thought this was another children's movie and I wouldn't be interested in the storyline until I read a few reviews and realized it is a story about survival in the harshest conditions. I particularly like stories that involve techniques of survival like I've seen in Everest! and K-2, but those are about humans who are out of their element. Eight Below is about a team of dogs, totally in their element, learning to survive a grueling winter.

The dogs were part of a expedition in the Antarctic and were family to their trainer, Jerry Shepherd. When an accident forces the group to abandon the area, they must leave the dogs behind in order to save a life. However, Shepherd assumed that they would be able to return within the week to rescue the dogs. He leaves the dogs chained and staked together with so supplies to maintain them. While this may seem harsh on the onset, he completely believed he would return immediately for these dogs.

A particularly nasty snow storm hits, followed by more foul weather, and Shepherd is given the heartbreaking news that rescue attempts will not be made for the dogs. Shepherd sets out on a six month vigil to find funding, and a staff, to return for his animals. At the same time, we return to watch the dogs try to find ways to support themselves as they patiently wait for Shepherd to return.

They state that this story came from real events. I cannot imagine the feelings that the real-life Shepherd character must have gone through, realizing he had basically left these dogs to a certain death. I do appreciate the fact that his character showed love and commitment to these dogs and he never gave up his belief that he could return to retrieve them alive.

The scenery in this story is beautiful in its stark bleakness. There is practically nothing that breaks up the overpowering white that covers every surface. Even the dogs blend in which helps them become part of the landscape while they are hunting, or being hunted. As serene and calm as the area appears, you never lose fact that it is the supreme ruler there, and you are subject to all its whims and, often, violence.

This was directed by Frank Marshall, writers David DiGilio & Toshiro Ishido. It was nominated for two awards, winning one. It carries a PG rating.

I was surprising pleased with this film and completely enamored with the ingenuity of the dogs and their ability to survive. I thought it was a good story and the acting was decently done.


This movie is my submission to the Good Movies Write-Off 2, hosted by captaind


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More Eight Below reviews
review by . April 26, 2008
Pros: Teaches children that there is another side of dogs that they have not seen.     Cons: Some scenes might be a little graphic for young children.     The Bottom Line: This movie will keep you wondering and asking yourself how did they do that.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. If you love dogs, the way I do you will not want to miss this movie. This movie stars Paul Walker playing the part …
review by . January 27, 2007
When this film was released on the big screen, I had no desire to see it. It starred Paul Walker, who, in my opinion, sucks the life out of any role he's handed. I figured that this movie would play up the cuteness of the dogs for the kids and the looks of Walker for the moms in the crowd.    I was wrong.    This is a very good film. Although Walker is billed as the star, he and every other human in this film play second fiddle to the sled dogs in this movie. …
review by . September 12, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
EIGHT BELOW is a satisfying film on every level: the story is excellent (based on fact), the script is good, the direction by Frank Marshall is tight and fast paced for a two hour film, the scenery is spectacular and the cast is committed and well chosen. But the real stars of this film are the eight wondrous dogs who for much of the film carry the entire story of being on their own in the Antarctica winter for five plus months - and for the most part surviving through bonding and obvious devotion …
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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


Despite a likable cast of humans, it's the canine stars who steal the show inEight Below, a terrific live-action adventure in the time-honored Disney tradition. Based on a true story that was previously filmed (much differently) as the 1983 Japanese hitAntarctica, this above-average family film takes place in 1993 and focuses on a dog-sled guide at an Antarctic research station (Paul Walker) who is forced by a severe storm to abandon eight beloved sled dogs for the duration of a harsh Antarctic winter. Left to fend for themselves, the rugged and resourceful dogs encounter danger at every turn, surviving for nearly six months while Walker and his closest colleagues (engagingly played by Bruce Greenwood, Moon Bloodgood, andAmerican Pie's Jason Biggs) join forces to mount a daring rescue mission. Having endured similarly extreme conditions on his 1993 filmAlive, director Frank Marshall brings an abundance of natural splendor (and minimum use of digital wizardry) to spectacularly arctic locations in Norway, Greenland and Canada, and Walker (star ofThe Fast and the Furious) lends an amiable sincerity to his compassionate role. For most viewers, however, it's the remarkable dogs (six Siberian huskies and two malamutes) who makeEight Belowso thoroughly entertaining. It's not quite an instant family classic, but it comes pretty doggone close.--Jeff Shannon
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