15 September 2012

Movies: The Grey

The Grey (2011) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1601913/

Thriller plus

A contract transport full of returning Alaskan oil workers crashes in the Alaskan (or possibly Canadian) wild. Only a few survive the crash. One survivor is the huntsman that is contracted to protect the oil workers from dangerous wildlife while they work. While the survivors try to get what they can together to survive the elements while awaiting possible rescue things go from bad to worse. A pack of wolves comes to the crash site and start attacking them.

Stars Liam Neeson as the oil worker protector guy, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, and others you may or may not recognize. Various amounts of beardiness and bits of ice and snow frozen on the faces sort of interferes with cast recognition. I didn't even recognize Dermot Mulroney.

I'm rather split on my opinion of the film. The film trailers did make the film seem more like an adventure thriller than it actually happens to be.
It does have some really good scenes, great locations, good plane crash effects. However other parts of the film just left me wondering what the hell are these guys thinking?
It is a Thriller sort of film, but the "plus" part is a greater existential message being played out in the film above and beyond just watching some guys try to survive the plane crash and then wolves. Not sure how well that's going to go over with the general movie audience. In some ways it works, others, not so much.  It isn't really a hidden message. I just haven't yet decided if it strengthens the film or not.
One part left me groaning at its obviousness. It plays out a very heavy handed allegorical parallel of Alpha supremacy. By heavy handed I mean that sort of in your face in case you just don't get it. Here, look, there's an Alpha fight in the wolf pack, and one in the surviving people pack too. 

Also I think I would not look to this film for lessons in how to survive in the Alaskan wild after a plane crash. Their decisions seemed to go contrary to what would be the logical things to do if you were hoping to be rescued.  Plus there was the solution to overcoming a geographical hazard scene which made no sense to me, especially considering the wolves seemed to have no problem avoiding said hazard. The wolves must've known a much easier, faster and less dangerous route.

So yeah, enjoyable in some ways, other ways, not so much. Probably my fault, allowing my expectations to get in the way. I couldn't help but have expectations. It has Liam Neeson. Ridley and Tony Scott are producers of the film. It was directed by the guy who directed "The A-Team" and "Smokin' Aces". Ah well.

I suppose some folks might be reminded of the film "Alive." If you aren't, don't worry, one of the movie characters  brings it up. I just ignored it, though, because this is nothing like "Alive." One film is about the triumph of mankind's will to survive, overcoming nature and the odds after a disastrous plane crash in the freezing mountains, and the other is "The Grey."

I was more reminded of the film "Frozen." I had to chuckle when I realized my reaction was sort of the opposite of my reaction to "Frozen."  I liked "Frozen" more than I thought I would and liked "The Grey" a little less than I thought I would. The only reason I was reminded of "Frozen" was the whole "freezing temperatures, snow, wolves" bit.

So, nutshell. Some ways good, some ways not so much. Enjoyment levels might wholly depend on your mood at the time. Clocks in at almost 2 hours, which is a bit longer than it really needs to be. The story could've been easily told in an hour. I was fatigued at an hour fifteen. 
Also - there is one last bit of film after the credits, in case the ending wasn't satisfactory enough.

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