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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Grey - Liam Neeson Wolf Movie

A bunch of Alaskan oil workers are being transported by plane from one Alaskan job site to another. Along the way the plane crashes deep in the Alaskan Wilderness, in the sub zero temperature, harsh Wilderness. While completely exposed to the elements the oil workers are systematically hunted by wolves.

"The Grey" uses all the same formulas that most survival films use. Ottway (Liam Neeson) is a bit of a survivalist and has some expertise in the habits of wolves. Like most films where victims are hopelessly stranded there is always one guy that, in theory, has the expertise to save the group but her or she has never actually used that expertise before.  Liam Neeson's Ottway is one of these guys.  You may have seen this character before. In spite of the would-be hero's competence, his  lack of practical experience causes certain members of the group to resent his actions. Eventually the savior must prove himself by one upping another member via debate or conflict, demonstrating some remarkable accomplishment or by simply telling the group something like"... follow me if you want to live or stay here and die if you don't...." Neeson's character, Ottoway, does all three by the way.

It took a little while for the film to decide whether the men were fighting the cold weather or the wolves. Once the film did decide , everything became uneven. When the plane crashed, they set up camp. Even with a fire going and a roof (the remains plane's shattered fuselage) over their heads, they were completely unable to stay warm and were slowing dying of exposure.  After several wolf attacks they decided to risk complete exposure to the cold in hopes of hiding in the woods from the wolves. When they left the plane the wolves stayed in pursuit but somehow the weather got better, a lot better. I mean, they left their only shelter for the cold harsh wilderness and suddenly no one was freezing to death. It didn't stop the wolves though as they seemed to attack more the further from the crash site they got.

The way the wolves pursued the men kind of reminded me of either a Friday the 13th pursuit by Jason or a Looney Toons (for those of you who remember Bugs Bunny) chase scene. Not matter what the person being chased does, they can't seem to get away from the enemy. I mean, at one point Ottway leads the men across an extremely deep and wide chasm separating two cliffs via a rope bridge they fabricated. Once on the other side they are stuck like 40 feet high in a pine tree where some fall and some decend on ropes to the ground.   So who did they immediately run into when they reached the ground? The wolves of course!  I suppose in addition to being carnivores, the wolves are mechnical engineers? Did they make their own bridge?

I may as well bash the character of Ottway character too. They kept flashing back to the woman he loved. You get the impression that she left him and now Ottway is devastated to the point where he takes these risky Alaskan jobs in hopes that he is someday put out of his misery by being killed. He seriously considers suicide and you get the impression this isn't the first time he's thought about this.  None of which makes any sense.  Clearly this guy is a tough, wicked smart, focused and a survivalist, so, why all the pity over this woman? I mean c'mon. His despair would have made more sense if he were mourning a dead child or if he accidentally killed men in a work related accident.  Neesons Ottway psych is all contradictory. The sentimental tough guy, the fatalist survivalist, you get the point?

Oh yeah, I felt the rest of the cast was a little too pretty and polished looking for oil workers in Alaska. Seriously, you could have those guys in GQ or something. Sissies.

The Grey isn't a total loss though. It actually has some good suspense and one heck of a plane crash. Maybe not as good as the crash in "Castaway" or "Alive" but pretty good.

There was a good wolf lesson too. For someone who knows nothing about wolves, I thought I really learned something about these animals after watching this film. It inspired me to do some internet research and even visit a wolf at a local nature center near where I live.

For action and suspense, you won't be disappointed. The scenery looks authentic and beautifully rugged. I just wish more thought was given to the plot.

PS... if you watch all of the movie be sure to watch until the very, very, very, very end of the credits. I mean, wait until the freakin' copyright date goes by and everything, you'll see what I mean.

117 Min

To learn more about The Grey or to own your own copy of this movie, click the image below and you'll be taken to Amazon's secure commerce site.

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