Eight Below - quick review

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Patrick Sun, Feb 18, 2006.

  1. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    This was an enjoyable film. Paul Walker plays Jerry, a travel guide in Antarctica and has 8 huskies who are good at dogsledding, and part of his family (as much as family for a single guy who spends 6 months in Antarctica). Bruce Greenwood plays a scientist looking for Mercury meteorite, and finds himself in Antarctica looking for it. With the help of Jerry and the 8 huskies, they embark on a journey filled with wonderful shots of a frozen continent, and some hazards that require leaving the huskies behind to evacuate from the coming winter storms.

    Jerry is crushed by not being able to make it back to go get the huskies, and struggles to find a way back, even just to see how the huskies fared in one of the most brutal winters in the past quarter of a century (film is set in 1993).

    This films isn't a film for kids who may problems with the food chain when it comes to survival by the huskies. But the huskies are really easy to love and root for as they fight for survival from not only the climate, but also for substenance.

    I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.

    My reaction to the ending of the film:

    I had tears welling up, and it was hard to hold them back, so I gave up and just them go. I'm a softie for animal films, I guess.
     
  2. Janna S

    Janna S Second Unit

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    Fun movie, beautiful dogs, nice scenery. Some aspects shouldn't be analyzed too hard, but it's worth suspending your disbelief. And yes, it's a tearjerker.

    There is an article in today's Anchorage Daily News (adn.com) about the dogs from Soldotna, Alaska who played one of the dogs in the film.

    And this week there was an interesting article about the rescue of several mushers and their teams from dangerously bad weather in the Yukon Quest, a long distance (1100 miles or so) race in Alaska/Canada. They were helicoptered out, with mushers and dogs crammed into a 5 x 7 cargo space so tightly that they shut the doors and kept loading dogs through the windows. One of the pilots commented that it was tricky to fly and not sit on dogs, but it was a trip of a lifetime.
     
  3. Jose Martinez

    Jose Martinez Screenwriter

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    just to correct, it's 6 huskies and 2 malamutes.

    Loved the film. My favorite of the new year so far (but I'm a dog lover and have Malamutes and had a Husky so I'm biased)

    [​IMG]

    Oh, and I recommend the Japanese film this was based on (Nankyoku Monogatari) as it's more realistic with depicting the dogs' survival)
     
  4. Greg_C_T

    Greg_C_T Second Unit

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    I can't wait to see this film next weekend! My fiancee and I own an 8 year-old red husky. I'll have to bring some tissues for her, because she'll probably start crying at the opening credits. [​IMG]
     
  5. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

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    Saw this at a sneak about three weeks ago. Great film!
     
  6. George_W_K

    George_W_K Screenwriter

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    My girl was crying at the trailer! We'll have to see this.[​IMG]
     
  7. Jose Martinez

    Jose Martinez Screenwriter

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    my dogs can't wait to see this too. unfortunately they'll have to wait for the DVD

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Jon Bell

    Jon Bell Stunt Coordinator

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    Can someone give the ending, and what is so tear-jerking about it? I want to bring my 5- and 8- year olds to this, but I really don't want a sob-fest on my hands if some or all the dogs die. If it's just suspenseful or sentimental, that's ok.
     
  9. Elizabeth S

    Elizabeth S Producer

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    Jon,

    During the course of the film, 2 of the dogs die. (One never makes it off the chain, and another falls down an embankment.) After MONTHS of trying to get back to save the dogs, Jerry and his gang finally make it out there. The post to which all the dogs were chain-tied is buried in snow and Jerry grabs the end of the first leash, only to find a frozen paw underneath. He presumes they are all under there, crying that "they never even got free". But as he pulls up the long chain, all the other links spring free and he realizes the others broke free. Soon, they hear barks and 5 dogs come over the snowy hill. . .but not Maya, the lead female and Jerry's favorite. As everyone loads into the helicopter, Max, the youngest dog, barks at Jerry to follow him. He leads Jerry over the hill to the prone figure of Maya. Jerry cries over Maya's seemingly lifeless body, but she stirs and he joyously carries her to the helicopter, telling the rest of his gang that she'll be fine.

    P.S. There is one jolting moment involving a humongous leopard seal that may be a bit frightening for young children.

    I really enjoyed this film.
     
  10. Jon Bell

    Jon Bell Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, Elizabeth. This one is a toss-up.
     
  11. Janna S

    Janna S Second Unit

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    I have talked with friends whose children (5,7,9) were not overwhelmed by this movie. Of course, these are Alaskan kids who are a little closer to the dangers of life in the wild than many American kids are.

    I survived both the death of Bambi's mother and Old Yeller without lifelong scars.

    The spoilered scare was pretty good! Gotcha!
     
  12. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    does it have good surrounds? how's the audio?
     
  13. Jon Bell

    Jon Bell Stunt Coordinator

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    It's not really a question of scarring them for life, it's the potential for hysterics in the theater during the movie. It's funny-- the things that upset them are usually not the things that I expected. My five-year old was not upset in he least by Anakin bursting into flames (his favorite character, by the way), but he was terrified of Johnny Depp as Willie Wonka when we saw it in the theater. I have a feeling that the "animals in danger" aspect would bother my eight-year old-- he's the one I'm more concerned about.

    Thanks for the input everyone!
     
  14. RyanAn

    RyanAn Screenwriter

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    I really enjoyed the film and was geniunely choked up at certain moments. I also jumped at feeding scene, it just scared everbody.
    [​IMG]

    Ryan
     
  15. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    I listened to Ebert raise an interesting question today: this movie is so bright in the trailers. I thought it was dark in Alaska for the winter, because of the way rotation works.

    Am I wrong in that?
     
  16. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    But this film primarily takes place in Antarctica. Who knows when they filmed scenes in Alaska.
     
  17. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I have become very skeptical of Disney movies. They seem thin, poorly acted and predictable. Not this movie. Of course you know generally what will happen, so its not a mystery of a movie, but the film is decent. Good cinematography, good directing, good acting, good story and overall a good movie. I thought it was going to be a dul muchy movie, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was almost crying in parts of it. Of course, I miss my sisters yellow lab when he is not here, so being a pet owner makes a big difference with this movie, especially any experience with dogs. I will probably buy this when it comes out on dvd. Hopefully it will have more stuff on it too.

    Has anybody else seen this movie? What did you think?
     
  18. Greg_C_T

    Greg_C_T Second Unit

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    My finacee and I saw it this weekend. As the owners of a beautiful red husky, we were both crying during the movie, imagining our dog going through what those eight did.

    Overall, an enjoyable movie with surprisingly good performances by the human actors. The scenery was breathtaking, not only in the "Antarctic" region, but when Jerry (Paul Walker) goes back home to Oregon. I also liked that the filmmakers seemed to do their homework by showing different sledding configurations. These are working dogs, and that came across beautifully, especially during the first part of the movie.

    Yes, there were a couple of good scare scenes, including one that the whole theater screamed at (followed by nervous laughing afterwards).

    I'm not sure I could recommend younger children seeing this though. There were two kids just *bawling* as we left the theater. I guess they wanted a happier ending.
     
  19. David Hobbes

    David Hobbes Stunt Coordinator

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    i realize this is just my mindset, but i cannot stand movies where animals die, especially dogs....

    i know it happens in life, animals do die, but i have no desire to see it on the movie screen....

    disney is by far the worst offender of this...seemingly every movie they make some animal dies...they get none of my money...
     
  20. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    David,

    I was a bit leary of this movie for the same reason. I can't even stand to see a dog hurt in a movie, let alone die.

    This film treated the death of the dogs very well, however.
    These were working dogs who sort of reverted to wolfpack behavior when on their own, many scenes not involving death bring this fact out, and in this context the deaths of some of the dogs is presented as a natural thing. It's very different from the depiction of animal death as a result of human cruelty or neglect.
     

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