Director Fraser Heston captures the danger and beauty of Alaska in this adventurous family film about two kids who embark on a very personal rescue mission. Former 747 pilot Jake Barnes (Dirk Benedict) moved away from a fast-paced Chicago lifestyle with his two children, Jessie and Sean, after the death of his wife. While daughter Jessie thoroughly enjoys and excels in her new surroundings, son Sean's moodiness and homesickness escalates. One stormy night Jake's small plane crashes during an emergency flight, leaving him stuck on a treacherous cliff with a broken leg and no radio. The local search and rescue team soon gives up, prompting Sean and Jessie to kayak, hike, canoe, and rappel their way over many lush and snowy miles to save their dad.
Younger kids will enjoy the antics of Cubby, the baby polar bear who befriends the youthful trekkers and eventually leads them to their father. They'll also enjoy the good-natured sibling rivalry between the tough but tender-hearted Jessie (Thora Birch of Now and Then) and Sean (Vincent Kartheiser of The Indian in the Cupboard) and a chance to hiss at the two evil poachers (including the director's father, Charlton Heston). Parents, on the other hand, may feel compelled to explain etiquette around wild animals, the dangers of hypothermia, and how to pack for a long hike. But the scenic Cook's tour of Alaska and British Columbia makes some of these otherwise corny elements tolerable to grown-ups. --Liane Thomas
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