Thursday, July 2, 2009

A splendid tale of an explorer's love for his dogs

The last post about a faithful dog generated lots of comments and interest. The post was even more popular than the one in which Nidarshana sports a moustache with elan! (58 comments vs 54 comments). The dog post put to rest some rumors in my blog world which were on the lines of "Spike and Nidarshana are pretty tight!" My response to these rumors is "We are just friends. There is nothing going on between her and me... although she still has the "it" factor, we are JUST friends". She is a happily married mother of a kid and a dog. And I.... well, I share my name with a popular dog name! So there.. the moustache sporting Ann Dee and I are just friends! But I digress... this post is not for quelling rumors... It is about being loyal and faithful. When a dog can be faithful to its master for 10 whole years (Mind you, thats 70 years in dog-years), its only fitting that we humans give a respond equally to our best friend's faithfulness and loyalty!

It is said that spending time in extreme climates like a desert and a cold barren wasteland OR experiencing near death situations will leave a lasting impression on a person ... people who have undergone such an experience prefer to stay secluded in the more civilized world. At the same time they develop an innate bonding with all the beings they interact with in the wilderness - human or animals - probably because these beings have provided him with social interaction when it was most needed.

Dogs have been an integral part of Human civilizations and were one of the earliest animals to be domesticated along with wolves, the earliest records pointing to 100,000 years back. There are numerous stories involving man and his best friend and the bond between them.
Eight Below

Set in Antarctic, the movie is one such splendid tale of an explorer’s love for his dogs in the wintry wilderness of the south pole.

A scientist visits a US base station on the South pole to collect Mercury meteorite fragments that will help researchers know more about the planet and such. The mission involves going south from the base camp and further away from civilization. The ice being too thin for an airplane to land, the trip must be made by dog-sled. Although reluctant to make the trip for safety reasons, the explorer - Jerry - has no choice when he is ordered by his boss to assist the scientist.

The duo take a sled pulled by eight dogs to collect the meteorite. En route, they face problems and hardships as the Antarctic weather can be very unforgiving. To make their matters worse, a storm is about to hit them. They need to cut the trip short. The scientist reasons with the explorer that he needs to find the meteorite as it means the world to him. being an explorer and a man driven by feelings and used to doing what he likes, the explorer understands the scientist. even though knowing the weather and the intensity of the storms, he agrees to take the risk in order to fulfill the scientist’s dream.

The mission is successful, the discovery is made - but the trip back is no joke and someone nearly dies! On reaching base, evacuation is ordered as the storm has increased its speed and intensity. They need to go to a safer location that is 3 hours away by plane. The evac plane is small and the dogs need to be left behind in the storm and will be retrieved in the second trip. At the larger base, things change. Weather reports show that the storm is the worst storm to hit the South Pole in 25 years!! They have to evacuate this larger base too. The Dogs are not a priority anymore...!

Jerry is disappointed and heartbroken. He cannot find peace within himself as he knows it was not right to leave the dogs behind. But the people in power have other thoughts as the rescue of Dogs is unimportant to them. The risk and the costs are not justified and Jerry’s requests of a rescue effort are denied.

Although the movie is very exciting and engrossing till this point, this is where the real story begins...

~Will the dogs survive the storm?
~Who nearly dies?
~Why does Jerry have such a bond with the dogs?
~Will they be able to brave the -50 degree weather !!!!?????
~Will the dogs have enough food to survive for months?
~Will they be hunted by other animals?
~Will the dogs be rescued before they die?
~Will man return the favour to his best friend who love and serve him with their life?

Directed by Frank Marshall, the movie has the Walt Disney label attached to it.

Paul Walker plays Jerry Shepard. having starred in movies like Fast and the Furious, I always found him to be lacking finesse. Its like he does such movies bcoz he likes the adventure more than acting. He is not disappointing, but he is not impressive either. In this movie, his monotonous dialog delivery actually does some justice to his character as it is expected to be dry and monotonous and humbled by his surroundings - nature can be very humbling - his character knows it and Paul conveys that well on screen by being hilmself.

Bruce Greenwood plays Davis McClaren. His character is foolhardy and slightly ego-centric. He has the brains, but like a scientist, he does not understand emotions too well and tries to find logic and reasoning in everything.

Moon Bloodgood plays Katie. Her character is a pilot. She looks very lovely and provides a subtle romantic angle to the movie that though present, is not overbearing to the main plot. She has done a lot of TV like CSI, Daybreak and recently, Journeyman.

Jason Biggs plays Charlie Cooper. He provides some comic relief in the movie and thus, his character is vital to the movie as it is vital to the base station. He keeps the viewer laughing.

Now for the true actors and the real stars of the movie and My Best Friends :-))

The Dogs !!

There were 3 breeds used for making this movie -
Siberian huskies - 1)Maya 2)Jack 3)Shorty 4)Max
A native breed known as the Greenland dog - 5)Truman 6)Dewey
Alaskan malamutes - 7)Shadow (gray) 8)Buck (red)

The numbers denote their order in pulling the sled.

All three breeds come under the category of "working dogs" - extremely task oriented, these dogs will literally work themselves to DEATH before quitting! They are also genetically adapted to frigid temperatures of the Antarctic. They share their gene pool with Wolves and also resemble them in looks, nature and size - the differentiator being the cunning nature of the wolf.

The dogs show enormous courage and belief in one another and feel betrayed when they are left alone. Their bark changes when they want to communicate different feelings. I have always wanted to own a dog! And watching this movie has brought me one step closer to having one as a pet. The only thing stopping me right now is that I am unsure I’ll be able to devote enough time for its care.

This movie has to be in your collection if you have kids! Watch it with them, answer their questions and it will be an excellent way to bond with your children while teaching them about life, nature, human and animal emotions - all this while sharing an adventure in the comfort of your living room!

rating for movie - 4/5
rating for dogs - 5/5

I want one as a pet .... sighhhhhh !!

Note: I found the title of the movie to be clever - set in Antarctic, the 8 dogs are left behind - hence Eight below ! How apt...!

!! Spike !!

Dedication - This one is dedicated to friendship!!

References -

As my fans friends were clamouring for a post, I decided to migrate this post to my blog.


Ann Dee said...

Rumors? Appalling :0

Ah was it because I did not sue Spiky for putting a moustache on my face? I thought I was being a matured fellow blogger by smiling at the wit and humor, than take things to heart.

Sob sob :'(

And buddy, I appreciate your putting it straight. I hope it'll clear up things. Thank you.

Beer on your way.

Varun said...

1st comment by Ann Dee ;)

Haha.. Please don't mind... I am just kidding... I never felt there was something going on anyway...

Eight Below is an awesome movie and a must watch...

I had written a post long back about my dog after watching this movie

Here's the link

Varun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ripples said...

This is an awesome post...guess if u keep writing such post i am going to be a great fan of U & ur blog...(ur blog i am ).....
I am going to buy 1 pet very soon...and the day I do u shall be the 1st one to know :) with the picture of course!

Smita said...

I followed the link to MS revisited my comments and all I can say is am yet to watch it :D But tell me have u seen Ek hasina Thi yet???

& lol @ ur steps to quell rumors, hope u have managed to kill the rumors ;-)

Illeen said...

I had loved the movie..!

Nice post..refreshingly different as usual.

AD said...

interestin wid the way u have these posts lined up

vimmuuu said...

I guess Im very late here!! I have no idea about any of thr rumors!! mind throwing some light??? LOL

PurpleHeart said...

The movie is a master piece. A heart warming watch. And I have no comments on the rumors. You ruined the little that was left ;P -kidding.

couchpapaya said...

u know u really shld put the name of the movie somewhere in the beginning. ppl like me develop a twitch over reading reviews without knowing the name :P it gets very uncomfortable i tell u ... isnt moon bloodgood the lady in terminator salvation ? i cant believe u missed the most high-profile work she's done -poor thing ... or is it a case of copy and paste? :D

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Ann Dee,
Of course its appalling... but then its understandable too.... ppl need some fodder for gossip. Best way to play such googly's is to hit them for a 'straight' drive.

And no, it ws not for the moustache at all... that actually looked good on you... I think its coz u didnt give me the said beer and I kept quite abt it :P

Where is my promised beer!>>>??

(Also, you get a whole reply comment to urself... just to fuel the left over ambers of gossip so the flames can be detected and put out :P)

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Varun,
ha ha ha - thanks for noticing... I know ur kidding buddy. The movie is great! Must have for dog lovers and for those who have kids.

Will read ur post soon... kinda hard pressed for time right now (posting the reply @ 5 am.. just so u know am not kidding)

Hi Ripples,
Thanks for the "will be a fan" warning. Now I know what to switch off if I feel cold!!!!! Get the drift? Snow drift! Thats what u can name ur pet too. Its quite apt :-)

Hi Smita,
No comment - i don't have any hopes of u watching a good foreign movie. For u, sallu movies are only good. Abt the roumors, trust me, the Spikes shall spare no one!

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Illeen,
Thanks 4 the compliment! Glad to see you here.

Hi AD,
You can call it a "dog" week that stands for loyalty and friendship!

Hi Vimmuu,
Not at all buddy. As long as the next post ain't up, ur in time ;-) Stop digging for gossip bones and read the movie revu boy!! :D

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi PH,
Glad to know you have enjoyed the movie too. on the other comment - no comments :P

Hi CP,
You shd know hat a revu written by me wd be worth reading :P And no, the work ws not missed, it was a CP revu .. as in Copy Paste :D
Guess you didnt read the whole review coz of ur twitch :P

Smita said...

For u, sallu movies are only good now this is what I call hitting below the belt!!!!

Smita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eye-in-sty-in said...

Hitting below the belt? How so? Pls explain... Are you no longer a fan or what?

numerounity said...

Hey...HOpe you do not have any plans or intentions to play with that moushe on other readers!! hahaa...

Good one...I might soon become dog expert readingur blogs :)

Angel's Flight said...

I can only laugh and only you know why ;)

Smita said...

For that you need to read my latest post! Or have you written this after reading it? Bolo bolo tell tell!

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Ekta,
The hitler type moustache will suit ur face very well ;-0 Need a makeover kya?

Hi Angel,
yep yep yep! (and that ws no poppy yelping)

Hi Smita,
Why r u so self-obsessed? I have not read ANY blog (stressing on ANY coz don't want u to feel you were ignored) so dont worry about the belts n stuff.... waise bhi punjabi suit me naadaa hota hai.. belt shelt nahi. and as far as sallu goes.... I ws having this discussion with my friend over breakfast and ws telling him how ur dear sallu killed some people while driving drunk and is still running scott free!

sujata said...

great post..the dogs do looks good on tv and in movies but i am better off without one at home. Cant even stand ppl who go and on and on about their dogs in social gatherings!!

Smita said...

Self obsessed? Me? Lol thats some public character analysis. But since you haven't read ANY blog you won't know what i was saying or what i said was in jest! But now lemme scoot away because looks like the detective spike is into character analysis & i hate the thought of it :D

Vee said...

I should read comments by others. I totally missed that rumor.. Damn me.. I would have written/made a dig or something.. Give me another chance,.. lol...

numerounity said...

Dare you...eye-insty-in...ha haa..

The movie sounds amazing and same about the way you have written….let me know the ending pl!

Ann Dee said...

See the guy's still hooked to the never-promised beer! Phew!

Ok, lets make peace...since I don't know where in the world you are..e-beer chalega?

Loved Eight was refreshingly different from those regular Air-Buddy-kind dog movies.

That hunting scene and how Maya saves the doc were phenomenal acting. Catch Will Smith's "I am Legend" if you havent.

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Sujata,
lol... your thoughts are just like my mom's .... even she does not like the maintenance.

Hi Smita,
Of course I wont know about it. Any ways this post is about dogs not abt any actor... So let me stick to that topic. Thanks for the comment.

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Vee,
ha ha ha... Good luck :P

Hi Ekta,
Do u want a moustache that it is, people dont get that privilege that easily... they first have to strike a friendship and only then is the 'stach painted on their face :P.... but then again you never know... I might get into a naughty mood... ;-)

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Ann Dee,
Of course I want the beer... and looks like the alcohol killed ur brain cells... I told in the comments of some post before the unveiling of ur pis that bcoz of the distance, I'll take an ebeer WITH a caption. That was always the prize at stake and it was also my ONLY vested interest :D

I have seen IAL. Another great movie from Willie boy and one that showcases the man and dog bonding very nicely. Btw, our taste in movies is quite similar it seems.

Shayari said...

Hello Einstein!

Nice review! Liked the blend of the storyline with your liking for the dogs.Couldn't be more true with these amazing creatures!!
Reminded me of the stray dog which used to drop me to bus stop daily...

Woow!it feels good to be back here:-)

eye-in-sty-in said...

hey!!!! welcome back. good to see u here. Its ur 1st comment after marriage. Congrats! how ws it?

Shayari said...

Hmm ya :D Thank you, boss :-)All went well.

Then how's everything at your end??

eye-in-sty-in said...

Thats great Shayari! I'm very happy 4 you both. So when are you doing the marriage post ... :D Or are you waiting for the photos to be developed before u do it?

Shayari said...

:D Thanks dost!

Post on marriage aa?Lol you must be kidding :P

Aparna said...

Oh no, I am not watching anymore dog movies.My husband and kids drag me to these K9 movies and I have had my fill.
BTW, I thought I would sulk and not comment since you have not visited my blog for a while but thought I will forgive you this time. Age has brought in some maturity. So here I am.

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Shayari,
C'mon now. I'm not kidding.... you should be an expert by now... :-)

Hi Aparna,
lol... thank you - O great mature one :-))

Shanu said...

Havent watched the movie...but will now that I have read the super review!

eye-in-sty-in said...

HI Shanu,
Thanks. Do tell me how did u find it after u watch it...

Anonymous said...

Malamutes are lovely dogs and they do make great pets but they need a LOT of exercising.

Unfortunately ours suffered an aneurysm and died aged 4 and 1/2. I don't know if it's a common thing in Malamutes but it has put me off getting another one - too much heartache

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Nursemyra,

Perhaps thats why they are called working dogs! Cant sit idle... I read somewhere that they can get violent/destructive if they are not kept occupied?

Do you live in a cold region? Sorry to hear about the aneurysm. My friends mom had one and its not good!