Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.


Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

Jerry Shepard lives on the bottom of the world. His job? Guiding researchers to remote locations (which is pretty much all of them) on the continent of Antarctica—and taking care of the sled dogs that get them there. Along with a small team of specialists at the Victoria research station (among them, Katie, an ex-girlfriend and pilot; and Cooper, a cartographer and resident geek), Jerry lives a life of risk and adventure as he serves scientists, helping them do work they could not accomplish anywhere else. And he wouldn't have it any other way, because Jerry's eight canine co-workers—Maya, Max, Shorty, Dewey, Truman, Shadow, Buck and Old Jack—are his life, his family.

Enter Dr. Davis McLaren, a geologist who arrives unexpectedly late in the "summer." Davis is convinced he knows the location of a rare meteorite from Mercury, and he's determined to find it. Though the warm season—when temperatures rise to a balmy 30 degrees below zero—is almost over, Jerry reluctantly harnesses his dogs for one last trek across the treacherous glacial ice of Antarctica.

Jerry and Davis, of course, soon find themselves in the grip of a merciless Antarctic tempest. Only Maya's intrepid leadership and her fellow furry peers keep the men alive, as the dogs drag their sled and its two—now unconscious—occupants back to base. The loyal dogs' reward is a cruel one. In the teeth of the storm, the Victoria team is forced to evacuate—without them.

The balance of this inspiring film shows us how the animals refuse to submit to their cold fate and how their master desperately searches for a way to return to his beloved companions, even if only to pay his respects to their bravery.

Positive Elements

Friendship, commitment, determination, perseverance and hope are all major themes. Jerry loves his dogs like family—even to the point of calling them his kids. He knows their strengths and weaknesses, and he knows how to get the most out of them without placing them in needless peril. When he's forced against his will to abandon the dogs, he can think of little else but trying to rescue them in the months that ensue.

Likewise, the dogs help one another stay alive once they've been left behind by sharing the food they manage to find, protecting each other and even "encouraging" one another in their inimitable canine ways.

When Jerry deals with grief by throwing himself into his work and isolating himself relationally, Katie comes to find him in Oregon. And she plays an important part in helping him get back to Antarctica. At the beginning of the film, Davis is committed to his work above all else; but over time he softens and eventually decides to give Jerry leftover research money to help fund his return to the frozen continent. Davis is also a devoted family man who values his relationships with his wife and son.

Another ultimately positive message that Eight Below emphasizes is, "You've got to take chances for the things you care about." When Davis first speaks these words to Jerry, they're not much more than a self-serving platitude. But Jerry repeats the phrase later, and it's clear that his determination to risk everything is not about recklessness, but about his willingness to do anything for what matters most to him.

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Jerry and Katie share a long kiss.

Violent Content

The brief scenes of violence in Eight Below are mostly of the Animal Planet or Discovery Channel kind. To survive the Antarctic winter, the dogs learn to hunt. A scene shows them working together to capture seagulls; they hungrily tear apart their prey (no blood is shown). A leopard seal surprises the dogs, chases them and bites one on the leg. Retaliation involves biting and nipping at the seal until it flees. Old Jack cuts his paw while pulling the sled, leaving bloody paw prints in the snow. [Spoiler Warning] Two of the eight dogs perish; one after succumbing to the elements, the other after slipping off an ice ledge and breaking its leg.

Physically suspenseful elements involving human characters center around Dr. Davis. He partially falls into a crevasse (the dogs pull him out), breaks his leg plunging down an icy slope and crashes through thin ice into frigid water (again, the dogs' efforts save him). Frostbite renders Jerry's fingertips black.

Crude or Profane Language

Three exclamations of "h---" and one of "Oh my God."

Drug and Alcohol Content

At a reception celebrating Davis' successful mission, the scientist orders a scotch, and Jerry drinks a beer. Other people at the reception can be seen drinking as well. In New Zealand, Jerry goes to a bar looking for a skipper to take him back to Antarctica.

Other Negative Elements

The crew at the research station passes the time by playing cards (it seems that they are betting junk food, not money). Also, the film opens with a shot of Jerry and Cooper (both shirtless) egging each other on as they rev up the heat in a sauna before racing outdoors—into sub-zero temperatures.


With the exception of a few mild profanities, Disney has laudably resisted the temptation to add to Eight Below questionable wink-wink, nudge-nudge humor aimed at adults (content the Mouse House hasn't always skirted even in its supposedly family friendly fare). The only other consideration parents of younger children should keep in mind is the ongoing depicted peril of the dogs and a series of intense encounters between the dogs and other Antarctic denizens, some of which might be too much for sensitive hearts to bear.

The narrative arc of most animal films predictably includes both tragedy and triumph, separation and reconciliation. And this one is no different. What caught me off guard, however, was how strongly Frank Marshall's direction of this tale, which is loosely based on a true story, pulled at my heartstrings. Jerry's soulful relationship with his dogs is utterly believable, and it paved the way for my own connection with each animal. Maya's quiet leadership and wisdom, Max's growing "alpha dog" skills, Old Jack's struggle to survive—each of these different canine personalities added a layer of richness to an already poignant story. At times it felt like Lassie Come Home, only with eight dogs instead of one, with panoramic, March of the Penguins-like scenery thrown in for good measure.

Like that documentary about penguins' cooperative, communal way of life, Eight Below offers an engaging, emotional story about hope, friendship and, most of all, never giving up—no matter how cold it gets.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range



Paul Walker as Jerry Shepard; Bruce Greenwood as Dr. Davis McLaren; Moon Bloodgood as Katie; Jason Biggs as Cooper; Koda Bear, Jasmine and Kalista as Maya; D.J. and Timba as Max; Jasper and Yukon as Shorty; Floyd and Ryan as Dewey; Sitka and Chase as Truman; Noble and Troika as Shadow; Conan and Flapjack as Buck; Suli and Buck as Old Jack


Frank Marshall ( )




Record Label



In Theaters

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!