Saturday, February 4, 2012

Are you sure you want to see The Grey?

 Grim  I heard them. Around midnight, dominating the cricket harmonies of a clear cool evening at Cade’s Cove, came the gray wolves. Of course, I couldn’t see the wolves from my tent in that valley ringed by mountain ridges. But I did hear packs of wolves in chorus. From one ridge, a stunning multi-voiced howl answered another that had sounded from an opposing ridge.

Never did I feel threatened; they crooned as only wolves could croon. I realized that when, after only a few years, the wolves were rounded up (each had a tracking collar since they’d been placed in the Park in hopes that the wolves would predate the destructive wild boors) and removed. Their removal was due to claims that wolves had attacked a calf or a weak cow, claims that many thought were spurious because the Park Service usually settled such claims by paying for the supposed loss.

As for wolves native to Cade’s Cove, they are usually red wolves, hard to glimpse creatures that are remarkably evasive. It seems that they don’t want to be seen.

Knowing all of this may help you understand why I really miss hearing the grey (gray?) wolves. It may also assist in understanding my response to the movie, The Grey.

As a fan of Liam Neeson, I was eager to see an adventure flick set in the great outdoors. By the end of the movie, I felt I’d been betrayed on both counts. Indeed, if asked, I would have renamed the movie to The Grim.

Why would anyone make such a movie? To aggravate PETA?  To ensure that there could never be a sequel since ALL of the characters died?

If you, like me, want an answer, there is one in a piece in the Los Angeles Times’ review.  From that comes this from The Grey writer/director Joe Carnahan:

Carnahan himself told our sister blog, Greenspace, that he wants the wolves to be seen in the right light: “I never intended [the wolves] to be the aggressor; I look at them as the defenders. I think these guys are in a very territorially sensitive place. [The humans] were trespassing and intruders.”

“Never intended”? How could that be when, time and again, different characters found words to describe the scenario. In his own way, each character announced that they, the wolves, were out to pick them off, one (man) at a time.

The only good thing about The Grey? The wolves were not allowed to feast on women and children. How sad that that’s the best that can be said about this grim movie.

           B. Koplen  1/11/12

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