Eight Below (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner19/04/2006

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 120 mins

The dogs are adorable and the scenery is impressive, but this is poorly written, badly paced and at least 30 minutes too long.

What’s it all about?
Loosely based on a true story (the original protagonists were 1950s Japanese explorers), Eight Below stars Paul Walker as Jerry Shepard, a skilled Antarctica guide tasked with taking an important client (Bruce Greenwood) on a perilous journey across cracking ice-floes, with the aid of his loyal team of eight sled dogs.

However, when a dangerous storm comes in the team are forced to evacuate and leave the dogs behind to fend for themselves during an Antarctic winter. Will they still be alive when Jerry gets back?

The Bad
This being a Disney movie, the answer to that question is never really in doubt. As a result, there’s precious little suspense or drama in the film, although the predictably emotional climax (the money shot for films like this) is handled well enough.

The film’s biggest problem is the pacing. It’s at least thirty minutes too long and there’s an interminable middle section where nothing seems to happen at all. Similarly, the script is poorly written and fails to really develop any of the characters. There are also a couple of very dodgy CGI moments, though at least they didn’t make the dogs laugh and smile digitally the way they did in Snow Dogs.

The Good
Walker makes a solid lead and you genuinely believe his close bond with his doggy family. Meanwhile, Bruce Greenwood’s performance is better than the film really deserves but the film wastes Jason Biggs, whilst Moon Bloodgood is too smiley and perky to be really convincng.

Worth seeing?
In short, Eight Below is disappointingly bland, though it does have an obvious appeal for animal lovers, and its gorgeously snowy cinematography offers some consolation if you are dragged to see it.

Film Trailer

Eight Below (PG)
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Content updated: 23/10/2017 18:04

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