Alaska Review

Image for Alaska

A pair of city kids set out to find their pilot father when he disappers in the Alaskan wilderness.


If there's some manual knocking around Hollywood marked How To Make A Kid's Adventure Story, then this film has been swotting up. For in casting likeable fresh-faced teens Birch and Kartheiser, teaming them with the instantly recognisable features of a well-thatched Heston, a cuddly animal and an easily digestible moral on ecological lines, Alaska ruthlessly maximises its box office appeal.

The whole shebang comes together as a nail-gnawing family drama. City slickers Jessie (Birch) and Sean (Kartheiser) are uprooted to Alaska following the death of her mum. Dad (Benedict) takes a job flying emergency supplies while Jessie communes with nature and Sean gets bored and stroppy. When dad's plane is downed in a remote mountain range and rescue teams can find no trace, brother and sister bury their differences and set out to find him.

In between a spot of white water rafting and negotiating mountains and glaciers in only trainers and a cagoule, the pair find time to rescue a polar bear cub, in imminent danger of becoming a lounge accessory, from the clutches of poacher Perry (Heston) and his sidekick Koontz (Duncan Fraser). Before long, the bear has taken centre stage with the tykes, paving the way for a string of kids-in-peril set-pieces that culminate in a well-judged mountain rescue.

For all its nonsense, this is nicely put together by Heston Junior, making all the right connections in the kids' subtly changing relationship as they undergo trial by nature in a setting that's enough to make you nip round to your travel agent's and book a one-way ticket.

The bottom line is it works and the kids will love it.