Friday Night Creature Feature: Iron Will

It's about Dogsled Racing

Alaska, land of oh-my-it-looks-really-cold-out-there.

It’s time for your weekly Creature Feature, this time not having to do with a murderous animal.  Just a dangerous one.  The most dangerous one.  Playing the most dangerous game.  Dogsled racing.

Iron Will was made in 1994, and as I remember it, it was a pretty good movie.  What I believe the producers were going for on this one was a stirring tale of hope and redemption, and a competition between men and eventually the elements, which was probably backed by people who sell Huskies, because the movie really makes you want to buy a Huskie.

Come on!

I mean, come on!

One, those dogs are genetically programmed to be cute wolves.  They’re huge, many of them blue eyed, monsters that look like the softest furriest friend that you could have in your life.  It’s almost like it isn’t fair to other dogs.

The movie’s premise is somewhat crazy.  This is the half remembered version that I would tell you if I were trying to convince you to watch it.  This kid Will’s dad gets killed in a snow dog accident.  He slips through a frozen river and dies.  Will, his family depending on him for money, and wanting money to go to school, decides to take up his father’s mantle, get his dogs in order, train with some crazy person, and win a race.  He knows that it will be hard, but he trains hard.  As the race goes on, one of the reporters latches onto his story, and since the reporter is Kevin Spacey, we know that Will’s story is going to go far and wide.  He eventually has to run the last day over a shortcut, on top of a river, just like where his dad died.  It’s pretty good.

Iron Will is a weirdly placed movie for me.  I think I saw it at a little too young, but the themes of death and life, the fame that Will gets and the scenes with Kevin Spacey are still pretty good.  Thinking about it again, I was more concerned for the dogs in the movie than for the people.  However, the cast is pretty excellent overall, and the lead actor does a fine job selling it.

Mainly though, I remember the guy who trains Will.  I remember his advice on how to win the race, with sleeping less and less and driving more and more.  I remember the train that keeps the press going with the race.  I remember seeing how cold it was, and I believe I saw it in a early screening in Michigan, and going outside to new snow.

I think that nostolgia has really taken some of this movie for me, and empowered it.  So maybe it isn’t as good as I remember, but I won’t find out until I watch it again.   Perhaps you and I can watch it together, for our Friday Night Creature Feature.  You’d like that, wouldn’t you.

I’ll give Iron Will 9 out of 12 Huskies.

Matt

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