Eight Below

Bomb Rating: 

In the townhouse and condominium complex where I live, there's a problem. The problem is that despite rules specifically prohibiting people from allowing their dogs to roam free on the "common property," dog owners, ever the considerate community participants that they are, continue to let their dogs run around because they're too lazy to go out with them and pick up their feces in those little plastic bags.

Why do these dog owners, which comprise the majority of dog owners, do this? Because they believe that it is their dog's right to crap wherever it wants to and they know that the dog is smart enough to go crap in front of somebody else's door because dogs won't shit in their own bed if they don't have to. Dog owners know this. They know when they open the door, their dog is going to shit on somebody else's lawn. It's usually my lawn.

Take eight large sled dogs, stick them in the overwhelmingly white setting of Antarctica, and you have one thing: a whole bunch of yellow and brown stains everywhere. This is how I know that "Eight Below" was made by the same people who live in my neighborhood; there are no stains anywhere. Those sled dogs are crapping on my lawn!

Jerry Shepard (Paul Walker) runs an expedition team during the summer and fall. Davis McClaren (Bruce Greenwood) comes to the place to find a meteor. They take the dogs to some mountain when a storm blows in, forcing them to return. The dogs save McClaren's life in the process and they barely get back alive. Because of the force of the storm, the people must evacuate along with pilot Katie (Moon Bloodgood) and cartographer Charlie Cooper (Jason Biggs), leaving the dogs behind. Though they intend to return for the dogs, they can't, and Jerry struggles for the next six months to return to find them, though he assumes they are dead.

The degree of anthropomorphism is off the charts here. Not only do the dogs survive, but in traditional Disney fashion they all but learn to talk. The audience is meant to believe that their barking is speech that we simply can't understand. Glances are all-knowing. We're supposed to believe this, along with the fact that their shit is taken away by the shit fairy.

While director Frank ("Congo") Marshall is playing Dr. Doolittle, he's also doing that typical Hollywood thing with the cold environment. Hollywood and cold go together like Hollywood and morals. It's 30 below zero, yet Shepard and McClaren travel miles in the wind and Shepard even wears gloves with no fingers. Shepard arrives back to base after the storm with most of his fingers blackened. This is called dead skin where I come from, and means the fingers come off. In Hollywood, they stay on through the miracle of modern medicine.

This is another one of those "inspired by a true story" movies. That just means there probably isn't any truth to it at all.

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