Adventure starring Paul Walker. In the Antarctic, after an expedition with Dr. Davis McClaren (Bruce Greenwood), sled dog trainer Jerry Shepherd (Walker) has to leave the polar base with his colleagues due to the proximity of a heavy snow storm. He ties his dogs to be rescued after, but the mission is called-off and the dogs are left alone at their own fortune. For six months, Jerry tries to find a sponsor for a rescue mission while his dogs fight for survival. Driven by unwavering bonds of friendship, enormous belief in one another, and tremendous courage, Jerry and the dogs make an incredible journey to reunite.
Despite a likable cast of humans, it's the canine stars who steal the show in Eight Below, a terrific live-action adventure in the time-honored Disney tradition. Based on a true story that was previously filmed (much differently) as the 1983 Japanese hit Antarctica, this above-average family film takes place in 1993 and focuses on a dog-sled guide at an Antarctic research station (Paul Walker) who is forced by a severe storm to abandon eight beloved sled dogs for the duration of a harsh Antarctic winter. Left to fend for themselves, the rugged and resourceful dogs encounter danger at every turn, surviving for nearly six months while Walker and his closest colleagues (engagingly played by Bruce Greenwood, Moon Bloodgood, and American Pie's Jason Biggs) join forces to mount a daring rescue mission. Having endured similarly extreme conditions on his 1993 film Alive, director Frank Marshall brings an abundance of natural splendor (and minimum use of digital wizardry) to spectacularly arctic locations in Norway, Greenland and Canada, and Walker (star of The Fast and the Furious) lends an amiable sincerity to his compassionate role. For most viewers, however, it's the remarkable dogs (six Siberian huskies and two malamutes) who make Eight Below so thoroughly entertaining. It's not quite an instant family classic, but it comes pretty doggone close. --Jeff Shannon
Inspired by a true story and the hit Japanese film Nankyoku Monogatari, Frank Marshall's (Alive) Eight Below captures a rugged world of ice, snow, and threatening weather that few will ever experience in person. As a guide for a National Science Foundation Research Base in Antarctica, Jerry Shepard (Paul Walker) is perfectly content to spend his time exploring the wilderness with his sled dogs and goofing around with his best buddy, cartographer Charlie Cooper (Jason Biggs). Then UCLA geologist Davis McLaren (Bruce Greenwood) arrives at the camp with plans for a risky expedition: treacherous ice fields make his target destination accessible only by dog sled so late in the season. Soon Shepard, McLaren and the sled dogs Maya, Max, Old Jack, Buck, Shorty, Dewey, Shadow, and Truman are on their way in search of McLaren's prize: a meteorite from Mercury. Unfortunately, an approaching storm forces Shepard and McLaren to return to base early. The return trip proves life-threatening, but the dogs pull through, saving both Shepard and McLaren from certain death. The storm also forces the scientists to leave the research centre earlier than planned and there's no room on board bush pilot Katie's (Moon Bloodgood) plane for the dogs. With the promise that someone will return for them immediately, Shepard leaves his beloved dogs behind. Soon, however, it becomes apparent that the weather has made a return trip impossible. Can the dogs survive in the Antarctic wilderness on their own, or will Shepard get back in time to save them? The dogs emerge as the most intriguing characters in the story, each exhibiting a distinct personality and fierce loyalty. The other major player is the wilderness itself, a beautiful, mysterious world that is rarely depicted on film. --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.