Saturday, January 27, 2007

Eight Below (2006)

Eight Below is a Disney flick starring Paul Walker and Jason Biggs and a pack of dogs. It's set in Antarctica and Walker stars as a guide on one of the base camps on the frozen continent. Early in the movie we see about the bond between Walker and the dogs and that is setting up the ultimate disappointment when the camp is forced to evacuate the camp and there is not time to get the eight sled dogs and the people in charge will not let Walker go back because the dangerous weather. But Walker cares deeply for the dogs. They are left chained up at the base camp and he knows they won't be able to survive.

But this is a Disney movie. The dogs manage to break off the leash and the rest of the movie is cut between the dogs surviving in the frozen wild and Walker trying to get back to them.

Yes, there is plenty of cheese and the Disney soundtrack is clearly telling us what to feel in certain parts, but there is quite a bit to like here.

There are eight reasons to enjoy this movie. The dogs. The humans are all essentially worthless and it would be a better movie with all dogs, but we have to have human "stars". The real story here is in the dogs trying to get to safety and to survive in the wild.

The dogs are the real stars of the movie and there is more heart and sadness and joy in watching the dogs than in the wooden acting of Paul Walker and the overacting of Jason Biggs. But that's fine. We get exactly what we expect from this movie. It was pleasant and enjoyable and the dogs are worth the rental.

Go into this with lowered expectations and the two hours will go by just fine. It's not bad at all, but it certainly wasn't the movie to bump Dreamgirls out of an Oscar nomination either.

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