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A decent dog drama

When I walked into the theater to see "Eight Below," I thought, "Oh, no, it's going to be like that terrible Disney 'Snow Dogs' movie." Turns out, the movie was far from it.

In "Eight Below," Paul Walker from "The Fast and the Furious" movies gets into the driver's seat of a new kind of ride. He stars as Gerry Shepherd, an Antarctic explorer stationed at the American expeditionary camp. Accompanying him, among others, is his friend Charlie Cooper, the goofy cartographer, played by "American Pie" star Jason Biggs.

The main premise of the story is simple. Shepherd and his expeditionary crew are forced to evacuate the continent as a major storm sets in. In doing this they are forced to leave Jerry's dogs behind.

In the next 175 days, the movie shifts from following Shepherd struggling to live with knowing his dogs are out there, and back to the dogs and their dire struggle to survive on their own.

The dogs themselves also have personalities, which makes it easier for the audience to relate. Max is the young, child-like dog that doesn't follow orders. Much of the movie is about his struggle to grow and mature. Maya is the strong, heroic, leader-like figure.

Despite the movie's PG rating, it's is more for teens than young children. Some of the dogs die, which upset many of the younger viewers (as well as their parents!). There is a scene of a dead, decaying whale, out of which jumps a sea lion (in an "Alien-esqe" fashion.) There is also a fight scene (yes, a fight scene!) which scared many of the younger viewers.

This movie is also a tear-jerker. Many of the elder viewers were caught sniffling, especially during the endings. Viewers will jump out of their seats at times, and many will have to remember to breathe when the tension begins to build.

Contrary to my mind-set going into the movie, I was extremely pleased. The movie is based on true events and sends a powerful message. "It's not about the dogs..." as it says in the movie. It describes the need for people to "find themselves" and do the right thing. I definitely recommend that teens go see this movie. The action, humor, suspense, and drama are all worth the cost of admission.

3 stars (out of 4)

MOVIE: Eight Below

RATING: PG

Zach Malecki is a freshman at Lancaster.

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