Sunday, July 30, 2006

EIGHT BELOW

Eight BelowPaul Walker Directed by Frank Marshall
Starring Paul Walker
Reviewed by Byron Merritt


VERY HESITANT THUMBS UP!

A VERY HESITANT THUMBS UP FILM REVIEW RATING!

Raise your hand if you cried when Old Yeller got shot. Come on. Don’t be shy. You know who you are. Okay, now don’t you feel better about admitting that?

Disney knows what sells. It’s either action/adventure (Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest) or fuzzy animal stories (Eight Below). And here we get a bit of both. The action takes place in the Antarctic (although the film itself was never shot there) and focuses on eight dogs left behind at an outlying station for months and months. Their owner, Jerry Shepherd (Paul Walker, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS) is forced to leave his mushing team behind after an accident and a freak snow storm. Months pass and he’s still unable to return to the base and he soon realizes the dogs must be dead. But he wants to return and give them a proper burial. The film wanders back and forth between Jerry and the dogs as we watch Jerry fight to return to them while witnessing the dogs break free of their chained collars and survive in one of the most desolate climates the world has to offer. But can all of them survive? Some are old and others inexperienced. Jerry won’t realize how resilient his team is until his return.

Based on a true story, Disney has "Disneyfied" the events, of course. In the original Japanese film based on actual facts (titled Nanyoku Monogatari), only two of the fifteen dogs survived. But we can’t have that in a Disney film now can we?

The thing that bugs me most about the movie isn’t the fact that Disney changed the death-to-survival ratio but that they felt the need to change it from a Japanese telling to an American one. Why? Are we afraid to expose our children to other cultures? Or do we think they won’t understand various cultural differences?

Even though I’m bothered about that, I found the film heartwarming ({sarcastic} big surprise) and well filmed. The story did feel a bit forced, though, especially when its makers gave human qualities to the dogs (altruism, bravery, etc.). But still, it’s a great way to draw your audience into the story, and is really the only way to make the movie watcher empathize with nonhuman characters.

Click here to watch the Eight Below movie trailer!

2 Comments:

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Blogger pedro velasquez said...

Eight Below is a 2006 American adventure film directed by Frank Marshall and written by David DiGilio. sportsbook It stars Paul Walker, Jason Biggs, Bruce Greenwood and Moon Bloodgood. It was released theatrically on February 17, 2006 and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures in the United States.In 1993, bet nfl Jerry Shepard (Walker) is a guide at an Antarctica research base under contract with the National Science Foundation. UCLA professor, Dr. Davis McClaren (Greenwood) arrives at the base and presses Shepard to take him to Mount Melbourne to attempt to find a rare meteorite from Planet Mercury. Shepard does so against his own intuition, which tells him that it is too late in the season (January) to complete such a treacherous route.
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