In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who is immediately smitten with leading lady Ann Darrow.
In the Antarctic, after an expedition with Dr. Davis McClaren, the sled dog trainer Jerry Shepherd has to leave the polar base with his colleagues due to the proximity of a heavy snow storm. He ties his dogs to be rescued after, but the mission is called-off and the dogs are left alone at their own fortune. For six months, Jerry tries to find a sponsor for a rescue mission while his dogs fight for survival. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I went begrudgingly to see this film with my daughter. It was not on my list of films to see but she insisted. Knowing that it was a Disney product only made me dread it more. The schlock they try to pass off as good films these days is ridiculous. The only up-side I could see was the director, Frank Marshall. He has produced some of my favorite films. Let's see what he can do behind the camera.
Pleasantly surprised I think is a good term for my reaction. Although the film was about 20 minutes too long, it did sustain the action and drama all the way through. I knew the basics of the story: a team at a base in Antartica must evacuate and cannot take the sled dogs with them. Winter sets in and the dogs are forced to survive on their own in the brutal cold for months.
The dogs are very entertaining and their scenes with the science team are warm and amusing, even thrilling. Where I expected the film to fail was after the humans and dogs separate. Amazingly though, this is where the Mr. Marshall seemed to kick it into gear. Watching the opposing scenes unfold of the guilt-ridden Paul Walker frantically trying to find anyone to help him get back down to the Antartic, interlaced with the Huskies who are struggling through the rough winter, scrounging for food and defending each other from predators, was very emotional.
While the film is a grade A survival pic, I hadn't expected it to be such a tear-jerker. Be forewarned. Although the human performances (Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood and the necessary romantic lead, Moon Bloodgood) were mediocre at best, the canine actors really do steal your heart.
No Oscar material here, but as far as family films go these days, this one is above par. Grade: B
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