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"ALASKA"
(1996) (Thora Birch, Charlton Heston) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None Minor Mild Moderate Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor Minor Moderate None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
None Minor Mild Minor Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure: A brother and sister set out through the Alaska wilderness in search of their father whoís missing in a plane wreck.
PLOT:
Jessie (THORA BIRCH) and Sean Barnes (VINCENT KARTHEISER) are two kids living in Alaska with their dad Jake (DIRK BENEDICT) who flies supplies to small towns in the wilderness. On one of his flights, Jake encounters bad weather and his plane ends up crashing into a mountain side. Frustrated by unsuccessful rescue attempts, Jessie and Sean set out on their own to find their dad whose wrecked plane hangs from the edge of a mountain peak. Along the way the kids encounter Collin Perry (CHARLTON HESTON) and Mr. Koontz (BUCK FRASER), two poachers whoíve just killed a mother polar bear and taken its cub to sell overseas. The kids free the bear, which they nickname ďCubby," and it follows them for the rest of their journey. Of course the poachers want their bear cub back so they follow the kids hoping to get Cubby. From then on, the kids must deal with the poachers, as well as the dangerous Alaskan landscape, as they make their way to rescue their dad.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Probably, and once theyíve heard about it, definitely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For some mild language and adventure/peril.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • Everyone except the poachers (HESTON and FRASER) is a good role model.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 8 out of 10
    This is a tremendously fun movie for kids and adults alike. The scenery is spectacular, the action exciting and it creates that wonderful feeling one used to get when watching those old Disney live action wilderness adventure movies. Okay, there are a few parts where suspension of disbelief comes in handy (such as why the plane didnít have a GPS beacon in it or why it doesnít work, how that bear cub can keep up with those kids over so many miles in the kayak, etc., and how the bear knows where to lead the kids), but once youíve accepted that (which most non-cynical people will) itís a great ride throughout. Kids and their parents will cheer when the bad guys get theirs and the good guys are triumphant. The magnificent Alaskan scenery is worth the price of admission alone. We give this one a big 8 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Other than a few suspenseful scenes that may be too intense for the youngest of kids, thereís very little to object to in this movie. The "bad stuff" includes a bear being shot by poachers, one of them occasionally smokes a cigar, Sean (in a brief scene where he hates being in Alaska) tells his father he wishes he (the father) had died instead of his mom, and the profanity is limited to hells and damns. We do suggest, as always, that you check out the category listings to determine if this movie is appropriate for you and your family.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/ GORE
  • Thereís some blood on Jake after the plane crash and heís hurt with a broken leg.
  • Seanís head has a small bloody cut where he hit his head on a rock.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Mainly limited to just the poachers who kill for money and want to sell the bear cub to their buyers in Hong Kong.
  • Sean, upset over being stuck where he doesnít want to be, kicks over some small outdoor trash cans spilling some motor oil and other trash onto the deck (which heís made to clean up).
  • Mr. Koontz holds the momma bearís head and skin up to the caged cub and mockingly moves it around.
  • The kids take a cigarette lighter from the poacherís campsite (to make themselves a fire to keep from freezing).
  • Perry and Koontz break the kidsí paddles and hide the kayak and tell a rescue team that they saw the kids' kayak washed up on the rocks miles away from where they are now. They also pose as Sierra Club members, when in fact, they are the opposite.
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • This may seem like a long list, but depending on your kids, some of the following will be suspenseful and some (or none) won't. And none of it turns out badly for any of the characters.
  • Jake encounters bad weather on a flight. His visibility diminishes and suddenly he has to the pull the nose up to avoid hitting a mountain. The plane stalls and hurtles downward and crashes onto a ledge. (The scene is much more tense than described).
  • Jessie and Sean have to maneuver their kayak through some high waves and dangerous rocks. Once out of that (which takes a few minutes), they accidentally flip over the kayak (with them still in it), and have a hard time up righting it, and kids may find that to be scary.
  • Jessie and Sean happen upon the poacherís camp in the thick woods and they carefully make their way through it (with some scary music playing in the background).
  • The kids are looking around the poachers' campsite when the poachers are seen making their way back there. The kids let Cubby lose from his cage and the bear cub tries to get at them (not in a mean or violent way -- but these kids and your kids might not understand that at first).
  • Kids may be frightened of Perry (Charlton Heston) with his slow, deliberate, and threatening way of talking to everyone, especially when he first encounters the kids who are scared of him.
  • Sean slides down an icy hill out of control and runs head first into a rock, knocking himself out.
  • While knocked out, he has a dream (shot in black and white with an Alaskan hunter in it) that some kids may think is a little scary (mainly because itís somewhat weird with some scary music).
  • Jake, sitting in his wrecked plane on the edge of a cliff, shifts his weight causing the plane to lurch forward and then fall down the cliff at high speeds, smashing it up even more. It comes to rest on another ledge and Jake is thrown from the plane and just manages to grab a hold of it. He dangles hundreds of feet above a ravine, and slowly pulls himself back up into the plane. (Itís more suspenseful than it sounds).
  • Another big suspenseful scene is where Jessie and Sean encounter rapids and once through them, they go over a huge waterfall. Now theyíre racing down the river (without the canoe) out of control. Sean just manages to grab a log and grabs Jessie. She climbs on top but Seanís hand slips, a branch breaks and heís yanked down the raging river. Heís scared and tries to grab a hold of slippery rocks, but is swept downstream and underwater several times. Eventually heís pulled from the river by some local campers. (Itís a quite long scene with intense music that many will find intense).
  • The kids have to duck as Koontz flies their helicopter just over their heads so that Perry can get a clean shot at Cubby. He does and fires his rifle and Cubby drops to the ground. (Moments later we find out it was a tranquilizer gun --but kids will think he shot the bear dead).
  • The kids find their dad and attempt a rescue where Sean is lowered down to help his dad out of the plane. While Seanís tying him in, however, the rope up top begins to come undone and the plane below begins to slide off the edge. Sean and Jake get out just in time as the plane tumbles down the mountain side. They begin climbing up, but the rope comes undone and Jessie barely holds on to them as they slide down the mountain. But in the end, everything comes out okay.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Rifles: Carried at all times by Perry and Koontz.
  • Rifle: Used to shoot a mother polar bear.
  • Tranquilizer rifle: Used to shoot Cubby.
  • Tranquilizer rifle/Regular rifle: Perryís tranquilizer gun goes off as he tries to fight off the attacking Cubby and the dart lands in Koontz whose rifle then goes off and blasts the inside of their helicopter cockpit (but no one is hurt).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Idiots" and "Jerks."
  • Going out to "rescue someone" without getting adult help.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A bald eagle in a store scares Sean as he thought it was just another stuffed animal.
  • Sean jumps as he pulls back a tent flap and suddenly finds the skinned bearís head looking at him.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • Many of the scenes listed in "Frightening/Tense Scenes" are accompanied by moderately suspenseful music.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 6 damns, 3 hells and 4 uses of "Oh God," 3 uses of "Oh my God," and 1 use each of "Dear God," and "God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • None.
  • SMOKING
  • Perry occasionally smokes a cigar.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Sean isnít happy about being in Alaska and blames his father on making them be there. Jessie yells at him and Sean then says that if their mom was around they wouldnít be there. Jake tells him that neither he nor Sean can bring her back and that makes Sean yell out, "I wish you had died instead of her!"
  • Jessie and Sean worry about their father after he doesnít radio in on an evening flight and then worry more after theyíve lost contact with him during a big storm. Sean then decides to go and find his father and says that heís already lost his mother, (and) heís not going to lose his dad.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Poaching.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Perry shoots a mother polar bear with a rifle.
  • The kids have to duck as Koontz flies their helicopter just over their heads so that Perry can get a clean shot at Cubby. He does and fires his rifle and Cubby drops to the ground. (Moments later we find out it was a tranquilizer gun -- but kids will think he shot the bear dead).
  • As Perry and Koontz fly Cubby back to their camp, the bear comes about due to the low dose of the tranquilizer. He begins gnawing at Perry who yells for Koontz to land the copter. Once down, he goes to shoot Cubby, but the bear cub leaps out and lands on top of Perry and begins attacking him (the scene isnít played out as scary at all -- thereís lighthearted music playing as the bad guys are finally getting their comeuppance). Koontz gets out to shoot Cubby, but Perry accidentally fires off his tranquilizer dart that hits Koontz, causing his rifle to fire into the copter cockpit, destroying the controls.



  • Reviewed August 10, 1996

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