I never would have imagined that I would suckered into caring about a group of stranded dogs but Disneyís Eight Below managed to sucker me in. Wait until you see these dogs. They are some serious movie stars.
First they have charisma shooting out their tails. They chew up the scenery. They also manage to give amazing performances. I know it sounds ridiculous but there is a scene near the end where one dog does such an amazing piece of acting that I almost thought she was CGI.
Itís a good thing the dogs are actors. The rest of the cast is lacking. The human lead is played by Paul Walker of The Fast and the Furious fame. He has used the same stoned frat boy voice in every film heís ever been in and acts about as believably. He appears shirtless in the first scene of the film and it becomes pretty clear that there is only one reason this man is ever cast in films and itís not his acting.
The rest of the cast are fairly wooden as well. Jason Biggs tries hard to be funny but comes off as someone trying hard to be funny. Eight Below spends far too much time on the talking part of the cast and almost looses by getting off track. We didn't come for that.
Anytime Eight Below focused on the humans, I was bored. This film is all about the dogs and comes to life when they are on screen. The action sequences are pretty cool. The audience jumped, screamed and remained planted on the edge of their seats. You canít help but fall in love with them running across frozen Antarctica.
Speaking of the scenery, wow! Not since Atanarjuat has a frozen landscape looked so beautiful. For that alone this film is worth seeing on the big screen. Fortunately, the dogs make it worth it too.
Good pacing, fun if somewhat predictable story and beautiful scenery makes Eight Below mostly a winner. Too bad they had to have such clunky humans along for the ride.