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Eight Below is a 2006 American survival drama film, a remake based on the 1983 Japanese film Antarctica by Toshirô Ishidô, Koreyoshi Kurahara, Tatsuo Nogami and Susumu Saji. It was produced by Patrick Crowley and David Hoberman, directed by Frank Marshall with music by Mark Isham and written by David DiGilio. It stars Paul Walker in the title role, Bruce Greenwood, Moon Bloodgood, and Jason Biggs. It was released theatrically on February 17, 2006, by Walt Disney Pictures in the United States. The film is set in Antarctica, but was filmed in Svalbard, Norway, Greenland, and British Columbia, Canada. It tells the story of a guide at an Antarctica research base who risks his life and the lives of his colleagues to save his dogs. The film received positive reviews from critics and it earned $120.4 million on a $40 million budget.
This article s plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (March 2022)
In January 1993, Jerry Shepard, guide at an Antarctica research base of the National Science Foundation, is asked to take UCLA professor, Dr. Davis McClaren to Mount Melbourne to find a rare meteorite from Mercury. As the ice conditions are poor, the best way to the mountain is by dog sled.
Shepard and McClaren make it, but are called back to base camp due to an approaching storm. McClaren begs for more time, and Shepard gives him half a day, enough time to find a fragment of the meteorite. En route back to base, McClaren slips down an embankment, breaking his leg and falling into freezing water. Shepard uses lead dog Maya to carry a rope to McClaren and pulls him out. They battle hypothermia, frostbite and near whiteout conditions as the dogs lead them to base. Once there, the entire human crew is immediately evacuated, while the dogs are left behind. Promised that their pilot will return shortly for the dogs, Shepard tightens their collars to ensure they cannot get loose. But because of the harsh weather conditions, an immediate rescue cannot be attempted.
Back in the United States, Shepard tries to secure a plane to return and save the dogs, but no one is willing to finance the risky expedition. Five months later, Shepard makes one last attempt to get back. McClaren finally realizes the magnitude of his ingratitude and uses the remaining balance of his grant money to finance a rescue mission. They fear that there is little chance that any of the dogs could have survived this long, but they decide to try.
The eight sled dogs – lead dog Maya, Old Jack, Shorty, Dewey, Truman, Shadow, Buck, and the young Max, wait in the freezing conditions for Shepard to return. After two weeks without eating, a gull flies near, prompting the dogs into action, and they all begin to break free, one by one. Old Jack, too weak by now, remains attached, and Maya stays to try to free him while the others chase the flock of gulls that have landed nearby. Maya sees Old Jack has given up, and she reluctantly leaves him behind when he shows no sign of wanting to leave the base. Maya joins up with the other dogs, and they all work together to attack the gulls and manage to kill a few, getting their first food in weeks.
After nearly two months on their own, having kept their strength up and still traveling, the dogs rest on a slope one night under the southern lights. Fascinated by the display, they run about and play until Dewey slips and falls down an incline, mortally wounded at the bottom. The team stays by his side, sleeping with him. Dewey dies the following morning and Max loyally stays by his side while the others move on; by the time Max heads in their direction, he has lost traces of the pack.
Maya leads the team to the Russian base, which is unsecured and full of food, while Max finds his way back to the American base, which is well locked up. Setting back out, Max recognizes the embankment the dogs traveled through on their way back from Mount Melbourne. Exploring, Max finds a dead orca, but is driven off by a leopard seal nesting inside the body. Maya and the team are nearby, they hear Max and join him. Max lures the seal away so the dogs can eat. However, it doubles back and attacks Maya, who is badly injured when it bites her leg. In a rage, the other five dogs jump on the seal, tearing and slashing at it. The seal, overwhelmed, quickly drags itself into the water and away, and the dogs feast on the orca. After, the reunited team, continue traveling. Starving, freezing and exhausted, eventually the injured Maya collapses into the snow. The dogs lie down beside their leader as the snow piles up. They have been on their own for six months.
Shepard goes to New Zealand looking for a boat to take him to Antarctica. At a bar he reunites with his friends and they make it back to base together. Upon arrival to base, they are dismayed to find the body of Old Jack, still attached to the chain, and no sign of the other dogs. They then hear barking and see Max, Shorty, Truman, Shadow and Buck come over the horizon. After a joyous reunion, Shepard loads the dogs to leave, but Max runs off, leading Shepard to Maya, lying in the snow – weak, but alive. With six of his eight sled dogs, Shepard and his crew head back to civilization, with the last scene showing a grave for the two fallen dogs, Old Jack and Dewey.
- Paul Walker as Jerry Shepard
- Bruce Greenwood as Dr. Davis McClaren
- Moon Bloodgood as Katie
- Jason Biggs as Charlie Cooper
- Gerard Plunkett as Dr. Andy Harrison
- August Schellenberg as Mindo
- Wendy Crewson as Eve McClaren
- Belinda Metz as Rosemary Paris
- Connor Christopher Levins as Eric McClaren
- Duncan Fraser as Captain Lovett
- Michael David Simms as Armin Butler
- Malcolm Stewart as Charles Buffett
The 1958 Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (Showa Station) inspired the 1983 hit film Antarctica, of which Eight Below is a remake. Eight Below adapts the events of the 1958 incident, moved forward to 1993. In the 1958 event, 15 Sakhalin Husky sled dogs were abandoned when the expedition team was unable to return to the base. When the team returned a year later, two dogs, Taro and Jiro, were still alive. Another seven were still chained up and dead, and six were unaccounted for. In Eight Below, two of the dogs, Old Jack and Dewey died, while the remaining six, Max, Maya, Truman, Buck, Shadow and Shorty, survived.
The film was dedicated to the memory of Koreyoshi Kurahara, the director of Antarctica, in which the film was adapted from, who died four years prior to its release.
In Eight Below there are two Alaskan Malamutes (Buck and Shadow) and six Siberian Huskies (Max, Maya, Truman, Dewey, Shorty, and Old Jack). Each actor-dog had help from other dogs that performed stunts and pulled sleds. In all, over 30 dogs were used to portray the film s eight canine characters. Max, Maya, Dewey, and Buck (Old Jack s stunt double) were played by dogs seen in Disney s Snow Dogs. The animal filming was supervised by the American Humane Association, and the film carries the standard No animals were harmed… disclaimer, despite an on-set incident in which a trainer used significant force to break up an animal fight.
On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes the film has a rating of 72%, based on 152 reviews, with an average rating of 6.50/10. The site s critical consensus reads, Featuring a stellar cast of marooned mutts, who deftly display emotion, tenderness, loyalty and resolve, Eight Below is a heartwarming and exhilarating adventure film. On Metacritic it has a score of 64% based on reviews from 31 critics, indicating generally favorable reviews . Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade A on scale of A to F.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, and said Eight Below succeeds as an effective story. BBC liked the movie as well, but did not like its long length (2 hours). Reel.com liked it, saying the movie succeeds at drawing you into their incredible adventure . Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle disliked the film, saying: The movie is overly long and much too intense for small children, yet it s filled with dialogue and plot turns that are too juvenile to thrill adult audiences. William Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reacted favorably ( the dog actors will melt your heart ), but pointed out, as did other reviewers, that Antarctica buffs will be critical of errors, such as portraying midwinter events occurring in balmy, blazing daylight at a time Antarctica is locked in round-the-clock darkness and temperatures of 140 degrees below.
The film opened at #1 on February 17, 2006, with a total weekend gross of $20,188,176 in 3,066 theaters, averaging to about $6,584 per theater. The film closed on June 1, 2006 with a total worldwide gross of $120,453,565 ($81,612,565 domestic and $38,841,000 in other territories).
- ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards: ASCAP Award, Top Box Office Films (Mark Isham) 2007.
- Satellite Awards: Satellite Award, Best Youth DVD, 2006.
This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2021)
The film was released on DVD on June 20, 2006. It was also released on PlayStation Portable (an original widescreen format) on June 26, 2006. The film was released on high definition Blu-ray for an original widescreen presentation on September 19, 2006.
In North America, the DVD release has sold more than 3 million units and grossed $105 million.
|Plot||Brutal cold forces two Antarctic explorers to leave their team of sled dogs behind as they fend for their survival.|
|Awards||Awards, 2 wins & 2 nominations|
|Writers||David DiGilio, Toshirô Ishidô, Koreyoshi Kurahara|
|Stars||Paul Walker, Jason Biggs, Bruce Greenwood|
|Produced by||Gary Barber,Roger Birnbaum,Patrick Crowley,David Hoberman,Christine Iso,Masaru Kakutani,Roy Lee,Todd Lieberman,Frank Marshall|
|Music by||Mark Isham|
|Cinematography by||Don Burgess|
|Film Editing by||Christopher Rouse|
|Casting By||Deborah Aquila,Tricia Wood|
|Production Design by||John Willett|
|Art Direction by||Jeremy Stanbridge|
|Set Decoration by||Peter Lando|
|Costume Design by||Jori Woodman|
|Makeup Department||Emanuela Daus,Norma Hill-Patton,Tim Jarvis,Katalin Lippay,Julie McHaffie,Mimi Palazon,Bill Terezakis,Maureen Terezakis|
|Production Management||Fitch Cady,Patrick Crowley,Mitchell E. Dauterive,David Hauka,Denis L. Stewart|
|Second Unit Director or Assistant Director||Mitchell Amundsen,Luc Etienne,Don French,Warren Hanna,David Markowitz,Douglas Mitchell,Gordon Piper,Tracey Poirier,Darren Robson,Cabral Rock,Jody Ryan,Harmony Gosbee|
|Art Department||Don Anderson,John G. Anderson,Andrei Andrianko,Scott Calderwood,Graham Coutts,Ross Dempster,Giacomo G. Ghiazza,Gillian Goodman,Gail Irvine,Charles Leitrants,Lisa Leung,Vladimir Lushnikov,Meghan Marshall,Marilyn May McKay,J.J. Mestinsek,Sheila Millar,David R. Murray,Beth Nelson,Hamish Purdy,Al Rourke,Mark Tompkins,Carie Wallis,Loree Cameron,Jason Claridge,Janice Lynn Coats,Jack Gauvreau,Brent Gloeckler,Erich Hepnar,Herminio Kam,Sheila Millar,Daniel Scarcello,Dennis Simard,Gary Young|
|Sound Department||Julie Altus,Christopher Assells,Karen Baker Landers,Rick Bold,Patrick J. Foley,Kirk Francis,Nerses Gezalyan,Per Hallberg,Dan Hegeman,Larry Hopkins,Craig S. Jaeger,Chris Jargo,Michael Keller,Bradley Kita,Tom Lalley,Craig Mann,Scott Millan,James Moriana,Philip D. Morrill,Tony Negrete,Michelle Pazer,Gary L.G. Simpson,Dean St. John,Frederick H. Stahly,Peter Staubli,Greg Steele,Drew Webster,Jeffrey Wilhoit,Greg Zimmerman,Jason Chiodo,Doc Kane,Kevin Konarzewski,Colin McLellan,Onofre Ortega,Adam Sharpe|
|Special Effects by||Lloyd Ball,Alex Burdett,Chris Cheatham,John Cherevka,Javier Contreras,Ken Cornett,Val Crawford,Cory Czekaj,Jeff L. Deist,Brenda Devall,Dawn Dininger,Dave Dunaway,Jamie Grove,Trevor Hensley,Kurt Herbel,Mark Jurinko,Jim Kimball,Richard J. Landon,Edward Lawton,Lindsay MacGowan,Shane Mahan,Christine Mansfield,Keith Marbory,David Merritt,Brian Namanny,Tim Nordella,Joey Orosco,Clay Orr,Joe Reader,Clay Scheirer,J. Alan Scott,Desiree Soto Vaughn,Amy Whetsel,Spencer Whynaucht,Gary Yee,Cara E. Anderson,Cari Finken,Joe Giles,Kai Hirvonen,Greg McDougall,Tim Northon,J. Michael O’Brien|
|Visual Effects by||Marie-Claude Aubry,Kelsey Barr,Ron Barr,Beverly Bernacki,Jayni Borgaro,Jill Brooks,Andre Bustanoby,Thomas Chan,Grazia Como,Jay Cooper,John Cornejo,Adam Dotson,Linda Drake,Amy Duarte,Yanick Dusseault,Syd Dutton,Charlene Eberle Douglas,Simon Fillat,Collin Fowler,Mathias Frodin,Bradley Gabe,Larry Gaynor,Jason Geiger,David M. Gray,Martin Hall,Jonathan Harb,Ryan Heuett,Heather Elisa Hill,Bryan Hirota,Akira Hiyama,Colin J. Hodges,Peter Vaughn Jervis,Patrick Kavanaugh,Mark Kenaston,Adam Kowalski,Krystine Lankenau,Lynn Ledgerwood,Didier Levy,Janet Lewin,Dave Lockwood,Lisa Maher,Mary E. Manning,Fumi Mashimo,Noel McGinn,Bob Monaghan,Carl S.G. Moore,Sébastien Moreau,Richard Patterson,Eric Pham,Jabbar Raisani,Michael Ramirez,Gregory Rizzi,Jay Robinson,Troy Robinson,Randall J. Rosa,Michelle Rothburgh,Jim Rothrock,Andy Russell,Heather MacPhee Ryan,Ramprasad Sampath,Andrew Schwartz,Gregory Shimp,David Shirk,Aaron Sims,Gregory L. Smith,Ryan Smith,Aaron Snow,Catherine Sudolcan,Bill Taylor,Chad Taylor,David Taylor,Ginger Theisen,Johan Thorngren,Andrew Tucker,Paul Waggoner,David S. Williams Jr.,Eddie Yang,Heidi Zabit,Gary Abrahamian,Maura Alvarez,Matt Ashton,Devin Bunje,Jim Charmatz,Brandon Criswell,Tom Daws,Nathan Fleming,Donald Fly,David E. Franks,Bradley Gabe,Bryant Terrell Griffin,Brian Gyss,Steven Hansen,Nina Harlan,Lyndal Heathwood,Holly Gregory Horter,Justin Israel,Val Keller,Woonam Kim,J. Kitazaki,Kevin LaNeave,Maryjane Layani,Dan Levitan,John Luciano,Bob Lyss,Diana Miao,Robert Minsk,Sébastien Moreau,Marc Nanjo,Naveen Nathan,Tony Noel,January Nordman,Gregory Oehler,Eric Pender,Joseph C. Pepe,Long-Hai Pham,Derek Raymond,Brad Reinke,Troy Robinson,Chris Ryan,Evan Schiff,Andrew Schwartz,Wilson Tang,Alex Tropiec Jr.,Jason Wardle,Matthew T. Wilson,Alan Wollenstein,Kyle Yamamoto|
|Stunts||Nick Allen,Lou Bollo,Oakley Lehman,Jamie Ross,Dylan Spencer,Marshall Virtue,J.J. Michaels,Brian Patrick,Robert Scott Schweitzer|
|Camera and Electrical Department||Eric Amundsen,Mitchell Amundsen,Jay Anderson,Brian Bouma,Ron Bowen,Dennis Brock,John Clothier,Reid Cohoon,Michael ‘Higgins’ Cox,Douglas Craik,Jack Cruikshank,Justin Dawson,Andrew Degnan,Paul Guenette,Jeff Hall,David Kohler,Cary Lalonde,Chris Large,David Lourie,Ezra Migel,Dean Morin,Randal W. Morton,Cam North,Peter Pacula,Nick Phillips,Steve Smith,Jarrod Tiffin,Zoran Veselic,Stewart Whelan,Lance White,Gary J. Williams,James Williams,Andrew D. Wilson,Jeremy Braben,John Clothier,Jesse Deacon,Paul Guenette,Rod Haney,Cory Hodson,Dale H. Jahraus,Jordan Johnson,Lynne Kam,David Kurvers,Ian R.C. Levine,Todd Martin,Liane Moore,Craig Nix,Dean Reca,Pat Waller,Oliver Ward|
|Casting Department||Heike Brandstatter,Coreen Mayrs,Jennifer Ricchiazzi,Jennifer L. Smith,Dylan Staniforth,Robin Stone,Natasha Tony,Kate Lacey-Kiley,James McKenzie Moore|
|Costume and Wardrobe Department||Marnie Ander,Isabel Bloor,Sondra Durksen,Debbie Geaghan,Steve Holloway,Kate Pierpoint|
|Editorial Department||Carolle Alain,Jill Breitzman,Mark Fitzgerald,Trent Johnson,Erik Nosker,Jason Overbeck,Gregg Schaublin,Ron Barr,Jason Fabbro|
|Location Management||Monty Bannister,Jack Fillion,Marnie Gee,Anand Kanna,Dan Kuzmenko,Robin Mounsey,Hans Dayal,Michael Roberts|
|Music Department||Christopher Anderson-Bazzoli,Bruce Babcock,Tom Boyd,Thomas A. Carlson,Sandy DeCrescent,George Doering,Tom Hardisty,Scott Hosfeld,Jason La Rocca,Mitchell Leib,Mark McKenzie,Adam Michalak,Shawn Murphy,Mike Nowak,Cindy O’Connor,Tyler Parkinson,Radu Pieptea,Peter Rotter,Patrick Russ,Jeanne E. Skrocki,Curt Sobel,Erik Swanson,James Thatcher,James Walker,Don Welty,Paul Wertheimer,Booker White,Monica Zierhut,Paul S. Henning,The Hollywood Studio Symphony,Frank Macchia,Mark McKenzie,Scott McRae,Tom Raney,Scottpatrick J. Sellitto,Warren Sherk|
|Script and Continuity Department||Patti Henderson,K.L. Connie Wang|
|Transportation Department||Paul Irvine,Tor-Arne Jakobsen,Dave Liboiron,Robert MacLean,Rory Moffatt,Robert Steeves,Paul Talbot,Bruce Scott|
|Additional Crew||Wendy L. Adjoury,Jennifer Aichholz,Michael Alexander,Jobree Anderson,Lloyd Ball,Chad Barager,Karen Bergen,Tammy Blackburn,Graham Blacklock,Andrew Buziak,Michael Campbell,Jill Christensen,Jason Crosby,Jeanie Daniels,Janette Evans,Jim Filippone,Steven Forster,Warren Dean Fulton,Tracey Gardhouse,Gary Gero,Jennifer Giannone,Terje Gundersen,Thomas L. Gunderson,Rowan Harland,Trevor Hensley,Kurt Herbel,Orto Ignatiussen,Wendel Imhof,Todd Ireland,Boris Ivanov,Patricia Johnson,Trish Judd,Vita Kalns,Susan King,Dea Valentin Kristensen,Richard J. Landon,Karen Littauer,Grace MacLeod,Shane Mahan,Jenny Marchick,Jackie Martin,Ora Mayana,Jill McQueen,Kim Meade,Rizelle Mendoza,Cristie Miele,Reg Milne,Brian Namanny,Tim Nordella,Nicole Oguchi,Lisa Pantages,Michelle Parzentny,Dan Perri,Jaime Peters,Jonathan Portelli,Sherri Potter,Mary T. Radford,Joe Reader,Jason Roberts,Pam Roth,Scott Rowe,Cimone Schelle,Robert Scott Schweitzer,Andrew Simpson,Cherie Smid,Roderick Smith,Sally Jo Sousa,Urs Stoller,Nicole Walshaw,Kathleen Whelan,Amy Whetsel,Tim Williams,Natasha Young,Jenifer Bonisteel,Stephen Chan,Terence Chase,Justin Elsworth,Steve Flynn,John H. Francis,Evan Godfrey,Jeffrey Harris,Grant Lutz,Daryl Makortoff,Tanis Parenteau,Darren Robertson,Peter Pamela Rose,Andrew Simpson,Sally Jo Sousa,Scooby Vincent,Gary Winkler|
|Thanks||Susan Butcher,Bob Jacobel,Toru Kikuchi,Koreyoshi Kurahara,David Monson,Alan Rubin|
|Genres||Adventure, Drama, Family|
|Companies||Walt Disney Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Mandeville Films|
|Keywords||sled dog,survival,siberian husky,malamute,antarctica|