This is another one of those kids' movies that some sponge-brainedfilm executive pulled off the movie clichés site. "Kid(s) go on adventure. Kids run into cute animal. Mean person comes along trying to harm cute animal. Mean person thwarted by kid(s) and/or animal. Kids and animal live happily ever after." In "Alaska" the "twist" to this plot is that the kid's father, Jake (Dirk Benedict), has crashed his plane in the mountains, prompting the kids go to find him. It's really too bad Dirk just didn't freeze to death -- then we all would have been spared NBC's impending "A-Team" reunion show.
When the white man isn't up in the wilderness of Alaska shooting things or spilling petroleum all over the place, he's frequently trying to save the Inuits from themselves by introducing them to the wonderful world of cinema through "acting for scale." Consequently, the Inuits, whose language has as many words for "snow" as Hollywood's has for "exploitation," are a pervasive presence in this movie.
Director Fraser C. Heston, however, is careful to keep them out of the lead roles. After all, how can audiences be expected to relate to a movie about the Great Land without some white kids from Chicago to lead them through it? Also making an appearance as the bad polar bear poacher is the King of the White Men himself, Charlton Heston, who, according to industry buzz, attempted during filming to convert several of the unwashed natives to some bizarre cult -- mandating the worship of white men everywhere -- called "Republicanism."
If nothing else, the film impressed me with the prowess of its bear trainers, who seemingly placed their unpredictable beasts in a fair number of potentially dangerous scenes with the child actors. However, I stayed for most of the credits after the film and what do I see? Bear animatronics! Excuse me for feeling cheated, but if there isn't at least a good chance that little Cubby might freak out and accidentally scratch the face off some child actor brat, what point is there to sitting through the movie?
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