Tuesday, October 23, 2007

OK, it's playing, so let's talk about it

Two people at the gym yesterday stopped to ask if I'd seen "Into the Wild." I read the book (10 years ago) and enjoyed it. But to be honest, I don't have any interest in seeing it, though I can't quite say why.
Either way, it's playing now at Kimball's Twin Peak. Everyone I've talked to who's seen it, liked it. That's the general consensus of other reviews, too. So, who else has seen it? Is it any good?


Teleken said...

I'll pass on this one. Depressing movies depress me.

UltraRob said...

I've been seeing the buzz on other outdoor blogs. For the most part the reviews have been positive. I didn't know it was playing in town but I'll have to try to see it.

Dave Philipps said...

I'm with you Ken. I know how it ends. I'm not sure I want to slog through the whole movie to see it.

Cup Half Full said...

Dave, this version has a different ending than the book. He meets seven height-challenged little men and then form a bond and spend the remainder of their days dancing, singing and hunting for berries. It ends all very happily....and is quite heartwarming.

zen said...

I read an interview with Jon Krakauer where he said he had been approached many, many over the years by studios, producers, directors who wanted to make the movie, and every time he had said no, and was pretty convinced he'd never sell the book rights to make a movie. Like many of you, he just didn't see the point in it.

But when Sean Penn approached him with his adaptation, Krakauer says he knew Penn's movie had to be made. All those years of saying no, no, no. But he knew Penn's version had to be made.

That's why I'm seeing it Saturday night at Kimballs. I'll let you know what I think.

AndyW said...

I never got to see this at Telluride, but I talked to tons of people that did. And I talked to tons of people who had read the book. Unfortunately, I never talked to anyone who had both read the book and seen the movie. Silly.

The consensus was that Penn put a very upbeat spin on the whole tale and even the ending. Which just seems weird to me - I found the book as depressing as hell.

zen said...

I found the book to be beautiful. Maybe that's because I'm depressed. :0)

outdoorspro said...

All you have to do is see the site where the bus was to know this guy was a freakin' idiot.

He was a half-day's easy walk from town.

How can you sympathize with someone who is so unbelievably arrogant that he doesn't bother to become familiar with the area around the place where he decides to "rough it"? He had so many resources nearby if he'd only bothered to look and learn. This was truly a "death by stupidity" and i can't believe it's been so glamorized.

Jim said...

I read the book when it came out, re-read it last week, and saw the movie yesterday. I much preferred the book. I thought the movie made this guy out to be some kind of romantic adventurer, whereas I thought he was just a disallusioned confused kid who screwed up big-time. Krakauer's account of his Devil's Thumb climb, which was an important part of the book, didn't make it into the movie at all. The movie was beautifully filmed and well-done from a technical standpoint, but it's difficult for me to get past McCandless' basic selfishness and foolishness.

Also, I can't help but suspect that the kid had a drug problem that wasn't revealed in either story; he sure acted like a lot of people I've known who fell out of society due to their addictions. You can see dozens of these people living along Fountain Creek south of downtown, but nobody's making them out to be heroic figures worthy of movies.

Anonymous said...

way too long and overly dramatic but some beautiful scenery and thought provoking.

zen said...

It seems to me that people focus on the wrong things in this story. It was never about how Chris died, or the mistakes he made that we in the comfort of our glass houses like to think we'd never make.

It's about what Chris discovered in those few short passionately lived years, the awakenings he opened himself to, the wisdom he gained, and what he shared in his journals that is so rich and deserving of the book and movie.

I read the book 3 times. I saw the movie last weekend, and I'd highly recommend it. But don't go see it if you just can't get beyond the fact that he died, cause that'll just trip you up.

But I will leave you with this - what is so sad about the physical death of one who knows he has sucked the marrow of this life?

It is a story of spirit afterall. Not a survivors tale.

Matthew S. Urdan said...

The movie was really outstanding. I knew the story, owned the book but hadn't read it yet. I had my own Alaska experience in 2006-- I went up for a week's vacation in winter. January. 50 degrees below zero. To go dogsledding, see the northern lights, to see Denali. I wasn't going to escape into the wild like McCandless, but I couldn't envision a better time to go. Lo and behold, I have a rollover car accident on the Parks Highway and it could have gotten ugly. Fortunately I didn't get a scratch. You can read all about it on the very first posts of my blog that I started to document the Alaskan trip for friends and family.

But something about Chris McCandless appeals to me, as it probably does to most that pursue outdoor adventure activities. The thing about the movie that really moved me was drawing those internal comparisons. "But for the grace of God, go I." To me, the most disturbing part of the movie and the book and the story is not Chris' mistakes and his unfortunate death. But rather it's that somewhere deep down inside of me, and maybe of your readers as well, is that yearning to be a part of the wilderness. To experience that level of existence. The desire to scream the Walt Whitman Barbaric Yalp from the rooftops of the world. That Henry David Threroux sucking the marrow out of life.

We, as human beings, did not evolve in our offices and heated homes. We evolved in the wilderness as part of the wilderness. We were never meant to stalk coldcuts in the deli section of our supermarkets. But we were meant to be out there and to interact in our natural world.

I think there's a part of Chris McCandless in all of us, even if we choose to suppress that part of ourselves. "Into the Wild" makes us confront that part of ourselves and to reflect upon it. That's why the movie is brilliant and deserves to be seen. Not because it's depressing. Not because it's tragic. But because it's part of who we are.


Matt Urdan
Guest Relationship Marketing Manager
Nantahala Outdoor Center
828-488-2175 x191

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you sliced through Criminal Psychology 101 like nothing, but that kind of retreat is portrayed in the realistic sense of someone suffering from the burdening combination of mental illness and trying to live in society. It's already done it's damage so he got there too late, but this was the only true therapy.
Drugs is the easy answer for law enforcement and old republicans

in response to:

"Also, I can't help but suspect that the kid had a drug problem that wasn't revealed in either story; he sure acted like a lot of people I've known who fell out of society due to their addictions."