This movie is for the dogs. But that’s not a bad thing! Eight Below is based on the true story of a team of sled dogs left alone in the Antarctic winter due to extreme weather conditions keeping them from joining their human companions on a flight to warmer weather.
Among the human stars of this film are Paul Walker (The Fast and the Furious) and Jason Biggs (American Pie, Saving Silverman)… I have it on good word that no pies were harmed in the filming of this movie.
Aside from Biggs’ performance as the comic relief in a hypochondriac cartographer the human performances aren’t much to speak of. But when your male lead was once out acted by Vin Diesel the movie better have some stronger legs to stand on!
It does, thirty-two to be exact!
As the humans are about to set out exploring a remote mountain for meteorites we are introduced to the eight dogs and given a brief description of their personalities. This is as much verbal description as is needed for our eight real main characters.
Once the evacuation order comes down the movie diverges into two plots: the survival of the dogs; and the quest by the sled driver to rescue them. The latter plot was added exclusively for filler. As you find yourself rather unattached to this skibumb of a character who obviously has never owned a tie.
Meanwhile the dog’s plight for survival is gripping and emotional. Credits to Director Frank Marshall and the animal trainers for not only stellar performances by the animals. The descriptions of each dog become played out and you do find yourself naming the dogs on screen at a given time.
The pack dogs are left to their own devices, so they work together hunting birds, relying on each other for warmth and even fending off predators. This even sets up the one really good jump-out-of-your-seat scare in the movie.
Not all the dogs survive, but that’s worth a few tear jerking moments. Of course as a Disney film everything works out in the end… including a rather pointless romance between our hero and the sexy female pilot (Moon Bloodgood – and if pilots really looked like that I’d have a lot more frequent flyer miles!). The movie is entertaining without being too long. The Human characters were a bit Cliché bit the animals save the movie. I give this a 3.5/5 on the performance of the dogs alone!