Eight Below

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Bonus Review #8
Film: Eight Below [PG] 112 minutes
WIP: $10.00
When 2nd Seen: 4 February 2006
Where Viewed: AMC Theatres Pacific Place 11, Seattle, WA
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Review Dedicated to: Mark A. from Nebraska

Mark Isham - Eight Below (Soundtrack)

Lately, I am starting to get a bit nervous when a film is advertised as “inspired by real events” because I don’t know what that means. It seems like the new version of “based on real events” or “based on a true story” etc. How much of Eight Below is true and how much is imagination I cannot say. I can say that a large portion of it must be imagination or the film would make no sense—more on that later. Eight Below is the stuff of Disney movies of the 60s and 70s when they made a lot of movies about real animals that got left to their own devices and had to survive. In this case, the animals are sled dogs and they get left…to survive…with no food…and no liquid water…for the winter in Antarctica…alone…dah…dah…dum (or scary, suspenseful sound effect if you can make one now please). I’m only going to say this now, and I’m going to put it briefly so that you will forget having read it by the end of this review, but I am going to criticize the one of two things: either (a) the real humans that left the dogs that inspired the events that inspired the film, or (b) the writers of the film for concocting this rather idiotic way of leaving the dogs behind. They were eight huskies. All smooshed together there is no reason they could not have fit on that plane. I’m sorry, it looked like there was plenty of room to me, and if not for all of them, why not take at least a couple? And, if you were going to have to leave them behind, even for just a few hours, would you leave them with no food? Would you leave them outside when you have a perfectly good research station to put them in? Would you leave them with no access to liquid water? Or would you chain them together very tightly outside? I don’t know? Seemed not too smart to me in the off chance that you might not be able to come back to get them. Anyway, that’s not the only semi-unintelligent thing the people in the film do, and the main reason for producing this film may well have been to illustrate the incredible difference in intelligence between some people and some dogs. Alright, that’s all I’m going to say on that, bury in deep in your mind, and move on. Now, let’s assume that Disney stuck to it’s tried and true methods and used real dogs in Eight Below not CGI dogs—though it is getting more and more difficult to tell these days—except when maybe a dog’s life was at risk. And, let’s assume that the dogs really were left behind in the real events that inspired the film. There would be no people around to see how the dogs survived or what they did. If there were people, then they could have just saved the dogs. So, I’m guessing that since no one has invented a way for dogs to communicated 150+ days of events in their lives to people, that the writers and scientists and dog behaviorists must have hypothesized (remember that word from middle school science—it means educated guess as opposed to theorized which means to utilize a huge body of scientifically proved research to develop an all-encompassing explanation called a theory such as the theory of special relativity or the theory of evolution—these are scientifically proven concepts where as hypotheses are still in the guess and test form) as to how the dogs were able to survive the entire winter on their own. So, if you can buy all that, and you are keen on a survival struggle movie that, rather than being authentically filmed and based on the true life struggle of animals such as that documented in the amazing film March of the Penguins, and you can get past the arrogance of Bruce Greenwood’s character and the all too earnestness of Paul Walker’s character, I’d say you are in for a fun time.

When I say that Eight Below is really a return to form for Disney films, I do not want anyone to think that is a negative thing. As a kid, growing up, there were few movies I loved more on a consistent basis than Disney movies. I don’t care if other people thought that The Strongest Man in the World or The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes or Escape to Witch Mountain or The Apple Dumpling Gang now seem dated an hokey. At the time, I thought they were really cool. And, for the most part, they were safe to take kids too, though one thing that Disney has always done, and continues to do to this day all the way through to Eight Below is utilize some terrifying villains. There is one scene in Eight Below that had people literally jumping out of their seats, and people with younger children in their charge and by that I mean anyone under seven, beware, this scene sent a created a mass exodus—most of whom seemed to return later in a trickle—of guardians and children. I probably would have given the film a PG-13 for this scene. It is scary! Anyway, Eight Below is also quite sad in a few spots, and of course, the whole point of the movie is that you don’t know if any of the dogs will survive the ordeal. The people certainly do not seem very hopeful that they will. So, yes, this film is classic Disney live action fare, just the kind that I grew up on with updated special effects, cinematography, and plot lines of course. I enjoyed it; it tugged at my heart.

Now Available for Purchase on DVD

Eight Below (Widescreen Version) [DVD] (2006) DVD

Eight Below [DVD] (2006) DVD

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