PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Eight Below (2006)

Eight Below (2006)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 28-Aug-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Main Menu Audio & Animation
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Making Of-Running With The Dogs
Audio Commentary-Frank Marshall, Pat Crowley
Audio Commentary-Frank Marshall, Paul Walker, Don Burgess
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 115:31
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (64:51) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Frank Marshall
Spyglass Entertain.
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Paul Walker
Bruce Greenwood
Moon Bloodgood
Jason Biggs
Gerard Plunkett
August Schellenberg
Wendy Crewson
Belinda Metz
Connor Christopher Levins
Duncan Fraser
Dan Ziskie
Michael David Simms
Daniel Bacon
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Kirk Francis
Mark Isham
Curt Sobel

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Polish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Polish Audio Commentary
Czech Audio Commentary
Hungarian Audio Commentary
Russian Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, mildly
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Whilst their animated divisions have been going through rocky times over first few years of the new millennium, Disney's live action divisions have been going through a second renaissance. Eight Below is the latest in this run of critical and commercial successes. Employing the classic formula of 'Dogs + Adventure = Family Fun', Eight Below delivers the goods for viewers of all ages.

    Jerry Sheperd (Paul Walker) is a guide at an Antarctic research base. His job is to take visiting researchers wherever they have to go in the safest manner possible, with the occasional aid of his comic relief sidekick Charlie (Jason Biggs). The safest manner possible is often using dog sleds and a team of eight huskies that Jerry takes great pride in looking after.

    As winter is rapidly approaching, Jerry takes Dr. Davis McLaren (Bruce Greenwood) searching for a meteorite on a remote mountain when an enormous storm comes through. The pair and Jerry's team of dogs dash for their lives back to their base to be airlifted to safety with the rest of the team at the base. Unfortunately, there is not enough time to airlift Jerry's team of huskies and the dogs are left to fend for themselves while Jerry and Dr. McLaren find themselves in hospital with frostbite and injuries sustained on the return trip.

    Unable to find a pilot willing to help him rescue his dogs, Jerry returns to the USA and spends the next months mounting a rescue operation for his dogs. Meanwhile, the dogs have a variety of adventures trying to stay alive in the bleak Antarctic winter.

    Eight Below is loosely based on a true story, one that was made in 1983 as a Japanese film called Antarctica. The screen story shares little in common with the source material other than the basic concept (for starters, a lot more of Jerry's four legged kids make it through the winter) and makes for a much more satisfying family film.

    The key to the success of Eight Below is its ability to appeal to viewers of all ages. It is not deep or complicated stuff, just some incredibly cute doggies on an adventure.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video quality is excellent. It looks good on standard television, and even better on a digital display.

    The image is sharp throughout, even during scenes featuring a lot of snow and fog. The image never gets particularly grainy. Black levels and shadows are clear and even. The only minor complaint I have is in one scene, at 91:10, where a shot of Jason Biggs is notably darker than the rest of the scene (though this is a case of inconsistent lighting rather than a problem with the transfer).

    Colours are consistent and have a very good level of contrast throughout. You would not know that many of the scenes cut back and forth between footage shot on separate continents without being told thanks to the careful colour balancing. White areas, particularly snow and the Antarctic sky, have been given a subtle blue hue to aid the contrast in many of the white on white (snow covered ground and white cloudy sky) scenes. This stops the image ever getting too bright or looking too plain.

    The transfer from film to DVD is near flawless. There are no film artefacts visible at any point nor signs of MPEG compression artefacts (thanks to a consistently high bitrate transfer - 9.80 Mbps). The layer transition, however, has been fairly clumsily placed mid-scene (albeit at a quiet point in the scene) at 64:51.

    15 different feature subtitles are available and 4 additional commentary subtitle tracks (none English) are available.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Seven audio tracks are available for the main feature; English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 Kbps), Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Russian and two audio commentaries in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (192 Kbps).

    Dialogue levels and sync are good throughout.

    The music follows the family adventure theme to the letter. It is not strikingly original, but very fitting to the feature and does a good job of enhancing the mood.

    The surround channels are used subtly, but to good effect. The subwoofer is used sparingly, but is used to great effect when appropriate - it is guaranteed to help everyone jump out of their seats when they're supposed to.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Audio & Animation

    Above average menu animations, made out like a map of Antarctica, with parts of the score playing.

Deleted Scenes

    9:32 of deleted scenes with optional commentary and a variety of subtitles for the scenes and the commentary. A fairly standard bunch of deleted scenes.

Featurette - Making Of - Running With Dogs

    A 10:44 making of featurette, presented in a 1.33:1 full frame aspect. This is a good featurette as far as making of featurettes go. It contains some interesting stuff and doesn't overstay its welcome.

Audio Commentary - Frank Marshall (director), Pat Crowley (producer)

    A fairly dry commentary track that doesn't cover much that isn't in either the making of featurette or the other commentary track. This track falls into the habit of pointlessly telling us what is happening on screen and in the movie.

Audio Commentary - Frank Marshall (director), Paul Walker (star), Don Burgess (director of photography)

    The more interesting of the commentary tracks, but still largely a case of going through the motions. There is some interesting stuff about the experience of working with animals and the difficulties of filming many scenes in multiple continents, but it is occasionally stretched a little thin and material repeated.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The only significant difference between the Region 1 version of the film and Region 4 is the range of audio tracks and subtitles.

    Both discs feature the same English track and commentary tracks, but the Region 1 disc features Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in place of the Polish, Czech Hungarian and Russian Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks.

    The Region 1 disc features only 3 subtitle tracks (English, Spanish and French) in place of the 15 subtitle language tracks on the Region 4 release.


    An excellent live action Disney family feature, arguably their best in years, that will keep parents as entertained as the kids. Cute doggies are just the beginning to this great adventure.

    The feature has been given an excellent transfer to DVD and comes with a reasonable (though far from extensive) range of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDLG V8824W, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D512
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE