Lisa Beal's Thoughts on the ICEBOUND made-for-TV movie

MY RATING: 2.5 stars of 5 possible
AIRED:
Sunday, 20 April 2003, 9-11pm EDT
PRODUCED BY: A Muse Entertainment Production with US distribution by Miramax Television and Jaffe-Braunstein Films
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Harvey Weinstein, Howard Braunstein, Michael Prupas
PRODUCER: Clara George
DIRECTED BY: Roger Spottiswoode
WRITTEN BY: Peter Pruce, Maria Nation 

CAST

Player
Character
Counterpart [role] in ICEBOUND book

Susan Sarandon

Dr. Jerri Nielsen(same)

Aidan Devine

"Big" John Penney(same)

Cynthia Mace

Claire "Fingers" FurinskiLisa Beal [computer technician]

Steve Cumyn

"Trash"James "Pick" Evans [recycling specialist]

Lorne Cardinal

Barry ColumbusROUGHLY: Floyd Washington [utility/repairman]

Carl Marotte

Jacques AlbrechtROUGHLY: "Nuclear" Nick Starinski [scientist]

Kathryn Zenna


"Galley" Annie
COMPOSITE: Wendy Beeler [cook]
Donna Aldrich-Hooker [cook]

Kristen Holden-Ried

"Lunar"COMPOSITE: ?

Paulino Nunes

Rafe PollardMike Masterman [station manager]

Linlyn Lue

Sarah KempCOMPOSITE: ?

Richard Waugh
Hugh
COMPOSITE: ?
Benz Antoine
Morris
COMPOSITE: ?
Gina Clayton
Dr. Miller
Dr. Kathy Miller
Kenneth Welsh
Ben
Dr. Wil Silva
Joe Pingue
Pixel Pete
COMPOSITE: ?
Aaron Abrams
Patient #2
COMPOSITE: ?

MOST FAVORITE ASPECTS OF THE FILM

Sets/buildings:

Costumes:

The real thing (NSF patches visible, etc.) Just as well: it was COLD

during the making of this film. All involved get kudos for filming

under physically demanding conditions.

Location:

Again, excellent choices: no trees visible, snow everywhere, etc.

LEAST FAVORITE ASPECTS

Props:

Airdrop scene:

Personalities:

It is a shame that none of the actors (or, at least writers) had a chance to talk to the real Polies, particularly Ms. Sarandon and Mr. Devine (who portrayed the doctor and "Big", respectively).

Even an hour or two watching Polie television appearances would have aligned their performances with reality. In early 2001, these folks were all over the dial, gang! Anybody who remembers their interviews will know you 'got it wrong'.

By all accounts in the book -- did any of these folks even READ IT? -- it would have been WAY out of character for Big John (ever the gentleman) to burst in on the doctor while she was showering.


As for Susan Sarandon's portrayal of Dr. Nielsen as whiney, bitchy and insensitive at almost every turn, I can only say that she never would have portrayed Dr. Nielsen as such a disagreeable and unlikeable person if the two of them had met before the filming. Perhaps that was the doing of the writers, perhaps Ms. Sarandon misinterpreted the personality of the doctor (or put too much of herself in the part). Anybody this disturbed would have been filtered out of the selection process by psychological exams long before they ever reached Pole.

The secondary and minor characters were generalized composites of several people in the book, except for 'geek in residence' "Fingers" Furinski (who clearly represents computer technician Lisa Beal) and "Trash" (who is just as clearly "Pick" Evans).


To sum up: "thumbs up" for portrayals of "Fingers" and "Trash", but for Sarandon's vitriolic portrayal of the doctor, an upraised finger (yes, THAT finger!) to the actress/writer/director responsible.
[Pardon my 'polar restraint'. Maybe, THAT'S where the name "Fingers" comes from! :^) ]

Accuracy

While sets, costumes and most props are true to form, the words and pronunciation is downright incorrect. A brief conversation with Polies (or a visit to a dictionary, for "Pixel" Pete's sake!) would have avoided crazy-sounding verbals goofs (like saying SKWAH vs SKOO-ah for the name of the Antarctic scavenger bird, in reference to the "Elvis" category of recyclables).

Also, the departing doctor leaves in November, not just before the station closes for the winter. The "ask if you do not know" rule applies. (NSF or the 1999 winterover crew would have gladly helped out, and it probably would not have cost more than a few emails or phone calls). Again, poor use of resources hurt quality of the quality of the result!

Tidbits: