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EIGHT BELOW: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
In the dying days of what passes for summer in the Antarctic, Jerry Shepard (Paul Walker) reluctantly agrees to guide geologist Davis (Bruce Greenwood) to a distant sector of Antarctica in search of meteor fragments. Jerry's ex girlfriend, the bush pilot Katie (Moon Goodblood), radios a storm warning to get the duo out of the ice, just as Davis is rescued after an accident by their pack of eight sled dogs. The evacuation is successful but for the dogs, who have to be left behind until a return trip is possible. With the storms and with winter closing in, this is impossible and Jerry is guilt ridden to have left his dogs. During the harsh, Antarctic winter, the dogs must struggle for survival alone in the intense frozen wilderness for over six months until Jerry and his small team, including cartographer Cooper (Jason Biggs) can try to mount a rescue mission. If Jerry can find the funds. If any of them are still alive.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Inspired by a true story that happened 50 years ago, Eight Below is a combination of adventure and animal drama. Animal lovers, and anyone with a pet, will heave sobs as the story unfolds, but the saving cinematic grace of a film like this is its storytelling skills. Frank Marshall shepherds the story across the thin ice of manipulative Disneyland with a bracing intensity - no doubt developed over decades as a filmmaker of compelling drama.

But the biggest accomplishment of all is keeping these wonderful, loveable sled dogs inhuman; they are dogs. And we love dogs. Not dogs pretending to be human. At the same time, they have feelings and a social structure, and they feel hunger, fear, pain.

Paul Walker is excellent as the survival guide with a soft heart for his dogs, and Jason Biggs is surprisingly entertaining as the loose cannon side kick. Moon Bloodgood is sweet and likeable, while Bruce Greenwood turns in an economical but full characterisation as the geologist.

The story is 'rescue' in which the rescued are animals; for us to invest in this, we have to feel for the dogs, and also relate to the humans. I suspect that No Disney Executives Were Hurt in the production of this picture, but they might have been bruised by a crew that insists on keeping it real. Thank dogness for that.

There are a pack full of special features on the DVD, including two audio commentaries and featurettes.

Published August 30, 2006

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EIGHT BELOW: DVD (PG)
(US, 2005)

CAST: Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood, Jason Biggs, Moon Bloodgood

PRODUCER: David Hoberman, Patrick Crowley

DIRECTOR: Frank Marshall

SCRIPT: David DiGilio (suggested by the film Nankyoku Monogatari)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Don Burgess

EDITOR: Christopher Rouse

MUSIC: Mark Isham

PRODUCTION DESIGN: John Willett

RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: BVI

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 20, 2006

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted Scene; Breakfast At The Base; Russian Fish Hut ; Jerry Wants To Stay; Cooper Throws Up; Jery Meets Captain; Running With The Dogs: The Making of Eight Below; Audio Commentary - With Director Frank Marshall, Paul Walker, Director of Photography Don Burgess; Audio Commentary - With Director Frank Marshall & Producer Pat Crowley

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: BVHE

DVD RELEASE: August 30, 2006







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