Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Grey

In further celebration of Dan Glaser's birthday, we woke up at the sterling early hour of 11:30 am to attend a screening of Joe Carnahan's The Grey, made famous by the supposition that within, Liam Neeson boxes wolves.

I'll spoil your sport right now. He doesn't.

Yes, this is a film where wolves attack people and yes, I knew this going in, but Carnahan's other work has impressed me before and add Neeson to equation and I'm officially curious. I intended to bite my lip about the zoological inaccuracies and moons did I.

All in all, it's a good film. It's not a terrible film and it's not a great film. Like Tintin and Young Adult, I'm loathe to admit that the script itself is the weak link. It's Neeson's best performance to date (that I've seen), Carnahan's direction is solid and most of the supporting cast give convincing portrayals but, as I complain about everything these days, the structure really left something to be desired. An uninteresting prologue to establish the main character, an uneven juggling of wolves and the elements as joint antagonists and "survival story" trope characters.

That being said, the animal nut in me was continually cringing from the mishandling of the wolves. Rather than using the pack as an appropriate analogy for the group of stranded men, they're simply pseudo-supernatural monsters, attacking in pairs or alone and rarely behaving or acting like the animals they're meant to be. I won't rant overmuch, but what really stuck in my craw about the script was it's tendency to dispense wolf facts left and right and blatantly ignore how inaccurate their entire premise appeared to be. A simple handwave about "being close to the den" and suddenly the wolves are malicious killers, rather than territorial animals or opportunistic scavengers.

I think maybe a mean old Kodiak would have served their purposes better.

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