Loosely based on a true story – and a 1983 Japanese film called Nankyoku Monogatari (aka Antarctica) – Eight Below is a moving story of a pack of brave husky dogs that was a surprise box-office hit.
Jerry Shepard’s (Walker) sled team of eight dogs transport scientist Davis McClaren (Greenwood) across the icy Antarctic wastes, but when a storm comes in and the humans have to be airlifted out, the dogs are left behind because there’s no room for them on board. The plan is for the plane to return once everyone has been dropped off safely, but the severe weather conditions make that impossible. So the eight dogs are left stranded, likely to die of hunger and exposure, but while Jerry tries to organise a rescue mission, they begin to fend for themselves in an attempt to survive. Dog fans will blub throughout at the gorgeous animals (six huskies and two malamutes) as the days tick by (their time in the snowy wilderness counted by subtitles across the screen), and while Walker is a little wishy-washy in the lead, the doggy performances and the amazing scenery (Norway, Canada and Greenland) more than make up for it.
Is Eight Below suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
There are quite a few intense scenes involving the dogs throughout the film. One dog dies after falling down a hill, and some of the dogs are attacked.
It’s probably a good idea to prepare sensitive children that some of the dogs will not survive their arduous journey.