Home > 8 below movie review, Mouthshut, movie review > A splendid tale of an explorer’s love for his dogs

A splendid tale of an explorer’s love for his dogs

The last post about a faithful dog generated lots of comments and interest. The post was even more popular than the one in which Nidarshana sports a moustache with elan! (58 comments vs 54 comments). The dog post put to rest some rumors in my blog world which were on the lines of “Spike and Nidarshana are pretty tight!” My response to these rumors is “We are just friends. There is nothing going on between her and me… although she still has the “it” factor, we are JUST friends”. She is a happily married mother of a kid and a dog. And I…. well, I share my name with a popular dog name! So there.. the moustache sporting Ann Dee and I are just friends! But I digress… this post is not for quelling rumors… It is about being loyal and faithful. When a dog can be faithful to its master for 10 whole years (Mind you, thats 70 years in dog-years), its only fitting that we humans give a respond equally to our best friend’s faithfulness and loyalty!

It is said that spending time in extreme climates like a desert and a cold barren wasteland OR experiencing near death situations will leave a lasting impression on a person … people who have undergone such an experience prefer to stay secluded in the more civilized world. At the same time they develop an innate bonding with all the beings they interact with in the wilderness – human or animals – probably because these beings have provided him with social interaction when it was most needed.

Dogs have been an integral part of Human civilizations and were one of the earliest animals to be domesticated along with wolves, the earliest records pointing to 100,000 years back. There are numerous stories involving man and his best friend and the bond between them.

Eight Below

Set in Antarctic, the movie is one such splendid tale of an explorer’s love for his dogs in the wintry wilderness of the south pole.

A scientist visits a US base station on the South pole to collect Mercury meteorite fragments that will help researchers know more about the planet and such. The mission involves going south from the base camp and further away from civilization. The ice being too thin for an airplane to land, the trip must be made by dog-sled. Although reluctant to make the trip for safety reasons, the explorer – Jerry – has no choice when he is ordered by his boss to assist the scientist.

The duo take a sled pulled by eight dogs to collect the meteorite. En route, they face problems and hardships as the Antarctic weather can be very unforgiving. To make their matters worse, a storm is about to hit them. They need to cut the trip short. The scientist reasons with the explorer that he needs to find the meteorite as it means the world to him. being an explorer and a man driven by feelings and used to doing what he likes, the explorer understands the scientist. even though knowing the weather and the intensity of the storms, he agrees to take the risk in order to fulfill the scientist’s dream.

The mission is successful, the discovery is made – but the trip back is no joke and someone nearly dies! On reaching base, evacuation is ordered as the storm has increased its speed and intensity. They need to go to a safer location that is 3 hours away by plane. The evac plane is small and the dogs need to be left behind in the storm and will be retrieved in the second trip. At the larger base, things change. Weather reports show that the storm is the worst storm to hit the South Pole in 25 years!! They have to evacuate this larger base too. The Dogs are not a priority anymore…!

Jerry is disappointed and heartbroken. He cannot find peace within himself as he knows it was not right to leave the dogs behind. But the people in power have other thoughts as the rescue of Dogs is unimportant to them. The risk and the costs are not justified and Jerry’s requests of a rescue effort are denied.

Although the movie is very exciting and engrossing till this point, this is where the real story begins…

~Will the dogs survive the storm?
~Who nearly dies?
~Why does Jerry have such a bond with the dogs?
~Will they be able to brave the -50 degree weather !!!!?????
~Will the dogs have enough food to survive for months?
~Will they be hunted by other animals?
~Will the dogs be rescued before they die?
~Will man return the favour to his best friend who love and serve him with their life?

Directed by Frank Marshall, the movie has the Walt Disney label attached to it.

Paul Walker plays Jerry Shepard. having starred in movies like Fast and the Furious, I always found him to be lacking finesse. Its like he does such movies bcoz he likes the adventure more than acting. He is not disappointing, but he is not impressive either. In this movie, his monotonous dialog delivery actually does some justice to his character as it is expected to be dry and monotonous and humbled by his surroundings – nature can be very humbling – his character knows it and Paul conveys that well on screen by being hilmself.

Bruce Greenwood plays Davis McClaren. His character is foolhardy and slightly ego-centric. He has the brains, but like a scientist, he does not understand emotions too well and tries to find logic and reasoning in everything.

Moon Bloodgood plays Katie. Her character is a pilot. She looks very lovely and provides a subtle romantic angle to the movie that though present, is not overbearing to the main plot. She has done a lot of TV like CSI, Daybreak and recently, Journeyman.

Jason Biggs plays Charlie Cooper. He provides some comic relief in the movie and thus, his character is vital to the movie as it is vital to the base station. He keeps the viewer laughing.

Now for the true actors and the real stars of the movie and My Best Friends :-))

The Dogs !!

There were 3 breeds used for making this movie –
Siberian huskies – 1)Maya 2)Jack 3)Shorty 4)Max
A native breed known as the Greenland dog – 5)Truman 6)Dewey
Alaskan malamutes – 7)Shadow (gray) 8)Buck (red)

The numbers denote their order in pulling the sled.

All three breeds come under the category of “working dogs” – extremely task oriented, these dogs will literally work themselves to DEATH before quitting! They are also genetically adapted to frigid temperatures of the Antarctic. They share their gene pool with Wolves and also resemble them in looks, nature and size – the differentiator being the cunning nature of the wolf.

The dogs show enormous courage and belief in one another and feel betrayed when they are left alone. Their bark changes when they want to communicate different feelings. I have always wanted to own a dog! And watching this movie has brought me one step closer to having one as a pet. The only thing stopping me right now is that I am unsure I’ll be able to devote enough time for its care.

This movie has to be in your collection if you have kids! Watch it with them, answer their questions and it will be an excellent way to bond with your children while teaching them about life, nature, human and animal emotions – all this while sharing an adventure in the comfort of your living room!

rating for movie – 4/5
rating for dogs – 5/5

I want one as a pet …. sighhhhhh !!

Note: I found the title of the movie to be clever – set in Antarctic, the 8 dogs are left behind – hence Eight below ! How apt…!

!! Spike !!

Dedication – This one is dedicated to friendship!!

References –

As my fans friends were clamouring for a post, I decided to migrate this post to my blog.

  1. eye-in-sty-in
    July 10, 2009 at 04:29

    Hi Nursemyra,

    Perhaps thats why they are called working dogs! Cant sit idle… I read somewhere that they can get violent/destructive if they are not kept occupied?

    Do you live in a cold region? Sorry to hear about the aneurysm. My friends mom had one and its not good!

  2. nursemyra
    July 9, 2009 at 08:23

    Malamutes are lovely dogs and they do make great pets but they need a LOT of exercising.

    Unfortunately ours suffered an aneurysm and died aged 4 and 1/2. I don't know if it's a common thing in Malamutes but it has put me off getting another one – too much heartache

  3. eye-in-sty-in
    July 9, 2009 at 03:44

    HI Shanu,
    Thanks. Do tell me how did u find it after u watch it…

  4. Shanu
    July 7, 2009 at 18:33

    Havent watched the movie…but will now that I have read the super review!

  5. eye-in-sty-in
    July 7, 2009 at 13:52

    Hi Shayari,
    C'mon now. I'm not kidding…. you should be an expert by now… 🙂

    Hi Aparna,
    lol… thank you – O great mature one :-))

  6. Aparna
    July 7, 2009 at 11:27

    Oh no, I am not watching anymore dog movies.My husband and kids drag me to these K9 movies and I have had my fill.
    BTW, I thought I would sulk and not comment since you have not visited my blog for a while but thought I will forgive you this time. Age has brought in some maturity. So here I am.

  7. Shayari
    July 7, 2009 at 11:01

    😀 Thanks dost!

    Post on marriage aa?Lol you must be kidding 😛

  8. eye-in-sty-in
    July 6, 2009 at 14:57

    Thats great Shayari! I'm very happy 4 you both. So when are you doing the marriage post … 😀 Or are you waiting for the photos to be developed before u do it?

  9. Shayari
    July 6, 2009 at 06:40

    Hmm ya 😀 Thank you, boss :-)All went well.

    Then how's everything at your end??

  10. eye-in-sty-in
    July 6, 2009 at 05:59

    hey!!!! welcome back. good to see u here. Its ur 1st comment after marriage. Congrats! how ws it?

  11. Shayari
    July 6, 2009 at 05:57

    Hello Einstein!

    Nice review! Liked the blend of the storyline with your liking for the dogs.Couldn't be more true with these amazing creatures!!
    Reminded me of the stray dog which used to drop me to bus stop daily…

    Woow!it feels good to be back here:-)

  12. eye-in-sty-in
    July 5, 2009 at 17:12

    Hi Ann Dee,
    Of course I want the beer… and looks like the alcohol killed ur brain cells… I told in the comments of some post before the unveiling of ur pis that bcoz of the distance, I'll take an ebeer WITH a caption. That was always the prize at stake and it was also my ONLY vested interest 😀

    I have seen IAL. Another great movie from Willie boy and one that showcases the man and dog bonding very nicely. Btw, our taste in movies is quite similar it seems.

  13. eye-in-sty-in
    July 5, 2009 at 17:06

    Hi Vee,
    ha ha ha… Good luck 😛

    Hi Ekta,
    Do u want a moustache that bad..lol…As it is, people dont get that privilege that easily… they first have to strike a friendship and only then is the 'stach painted on their face :P…. but then again you never know… I might get into a naughty mood… 😉

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