Alaskan Race

The Great Alaskan Race Is an Endurance Test

You could say last week was a slow week for movies, with low-level releases like Black and Blue and Countdown out. But let’s go lower, shall we?

I enjoy seeing low-budget movies and exposing them all to you because sometimes you can do a lot with a little.

Unfortunately, for The Great Alaskan Race, it has so much potential, but it’s wasted because of so little effort.

It has a great story: set in 1925, a dypheria outbreak hits Nome, Alaska, which leaves many children sick. A serum is needed to heal the children, but Nome is remote and no planes can get there.

To bring the serum home, a group of dog sled mushers create a relay spanning 674 miles. With temperatures dipping to below 40, it was a grueling test of strength for the dogs and mushers.

At least this is what the credits tell us, because I didn’t see much of this at all.

The first half is slow because the children fall ill and the leaders in town figure out what to do, which takes a while because everyone communicated via telegraph. Things definitely could’ve picked up if they could just text, what’s the deal there?

Then in the second half, the great race is on, somewhat. We mostly follow Leonhard Seppala, played by Brian Presley, who covered a staggering 350 miles of the run. However, while he’s trudging through harsh conditions, the director, who’s also Presley, decided to focus on the kids in the hospital.

Sure, I know the stakes are high, but I want to see the courageous spirits of the mushers survive in treacherous conditions. The race should be prominent compared to what’s going on at home. I just want my Great Race like I was promised!

When we do see the race, it’s so poorly made that you can barely make out what’s happening. It looks like Seppala is mushing in a backlot in Hollywood with pine trees on a green screen and a snow filter.

The snow filter by the editor, who’s Presley again, is so bad that when actors go outside, you can tell it’s not snowing because there’s no flakes on their shoulders or anywhere.

I’m not sure how this Lifetime movie made it on the big screen, but hopefully it won’t be there for long.