Alaska is a 1996 family/adventure film directed by Fraser Clarke Heston and costarring his father, Charlton Heston.
Sean Barnes (Vincent Kartheiser) and his sister Jessie (Thora Birch) are two kids with a Missing Mom who search for their bush pilot father Jake (Dirk Benedict) after he goes missing in the Alaskan wilderness. The kids meet a polar bear cub who helps them along the way. Little do they know that a poacher named Colin Perry (Heston) — who captured the cub after killing her mother in the beginning — is pursuing them.
This film contains examples of:
- Affably Evil: Perry is friendly enough to Sean and Jessie. Too bad about the poaching.
- Age-Appropriate Angst: Sean, who reasonably gets angry over his mother being dead.
- Big Bad: Colin Perry, the main antagonist of the film.
- Big Damn Heroes: The polar bear cub helps Sean and Jessie rescue Jake and reunite with him.
- Big "NO!": Sean yells "No!" when he and Jessie realize that Perry is about to tranquilize the polar bear cub. And a few minutes later, Jessie does the same when Perry escapes with the cub in his helicopter.
- Dead Guy Puppet: Koontz takes the mother bear's hollowed out carcass and uses it as a hand puppet to taunt the baby.
- Evil Gloating: Perry delivers one before shooting the polar bear.
- Evil Poacher: Perry is a poacher who intends to recapture the polar bear after Sean and Jessie release him, then threatens the kids when they get in his way.
- Failed a Spot Check How hard is it for the search and rescue team to spot a bright yellow plane against a bunch of snowy mountains?
- Harmless Freezing: Apparently, kids can be barefoot out in the frigid Alaskan wilderness without so much as socks without any adverse affect. Not even frostbite.
- Hate Sink: While Sean may be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, the film does a very good job of making you utterly loathe the poacher duo. Perry killing the cub's mother in cold blood is bad enough, but Koontz waves around her carcass in front of her son's cage and taunts him. From there on, you'll be wanting them to suffer the most gruesome demises imaginable.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Perry shoots Mr. Koontz and his helicopter with his own tranquilizer darts after the cub bites Perry's leg.
- Idiot Ball: The search and rescue team; see Failed a Spot Check.
- Jerkass: Koontz teases the cub with its mother's corpse for fun.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Even though Sean can be abrasive to his father and sister, he knows that he deeply loves them and cares about all life, as shown when he tries to rescue the polar bear cub.
- Kick the Dog: After the poachers killed a mother polar bear, Perry's pilot Koontz teases her captured cub by holding the mother's hide right in front of the cub's cage for fun.Koontz: "It's a shame to separate a mother and child, isn't it?"
- Kids' Wilderness Epic: Kids roughing it in the wilderness? Check. Friendly wild animal? Check. Evil Poacher? Check. There's even a Magical Native American.
- Magical Native American: Ben the convenience store clerk, who even has a pet bald eagle. He calls him his "Tornac", or "spirit guide".
- Police Are Useless: The Alaskan Search-and-Rescue team until the end of the film, who somehow manage to miss a bright yellow plane on a prominent ridge and the distress signal he fires at them.
- Scenery Porn: This is Alaska we're talking about.
- Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Despite losing the cub and his helicopter, Perry and Koontz decide to make a break for it.
- Vision Quest: Ben convinces Sean to treat the search like one. More traditionally, he hits a rock and has a vision of a polar bear that maybe gives him a spiritual connection to the bear cub.
- You Should Have Died Instead: Sean wished that Jake would have died instead of his mother. Later on, however, it turns into Parting Words Regret.
- Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: The cub is referred as she for a while, until after a full-body hug from it Sean confirms it's a he. "Trust me, I got a very good look."