The Grey

Posted: May 24, 2012 by Micah in Movie Reviews
Tags: , , ,

When I watched trailers for The Grey, I thought I was all set-up for just another awesome Liam Neeson action movie. I mean Taken (though awesome) wasn’t exactly a deep theater experience. There were people, Liam Neeson was angry at them, good movie. Now, I wouldn’t by any means call Taken a “dumb action movie” but neither would I call it “something that transcended the action genre and rose to heights never before seen by mortal squirrel.” The Grey? Well let me have my personal pet squirrel of immortality Hot Waxerly tell you all about it…

Yeah he can’t type… or be real. Anyway though here’s my mostly squirrel free review of The Grey.

Micah Reviews: The Grey

If you haven’t seen the movie, you will not understand the emotional, cascading river that this picture sets loose in my soul…

We’re introduced to our hero John Ottway on what is obviously not his best day. First off he’s writing a note to his former wife (no longer in the picture) and secondly (and potentially much worse) he lives in Alaska. A frozen wasteland of hairy men, hairyer women, and hairy, man eating, carnivorous wolves the size of tiny ponies. (My apologies to residents of Alaska… assuming you have the internet there…)

Anyway, Ottway (because people in this movie go almost exclusively by their last name) gets on a plane bound for Anywhere-that’s-not-Alaska, USA when low and behold the plane beholds itself going low and crashes into the snow. (cause what else is there to crash into?) Ottway survives, and he (along with seven other survivors) must begin the long trek to wherever there might be people. This is difficult because A) They have no idea where exactly they are. And B) the place they do know they are (the Alaskan wilderness) is roughly the size of Australia (according to some semi-reliable sources that I probably made up).

“So the good news is we survived the crash. The bad new is we are still residents of Alaska… also wolves.

Also, (because being lost without food, hope, or Justin Bieber wasn’t bad enough) Alaska is home to ravenous and unforgiving Sarah Palin’s who are interested in nothing but… Oh wait I mean wolves. Sorry! Wolves. Lots of wolves. Wolves who have recently developed a distinct desire to eat Ottway and his band of merry steaks. So they do. A lot.

Ottway must try and get the survivors he’s taken charge of out of the wilderness and away from the rampaging wolf pack chasing them so they can get food, water, and (most importantly) to a place that’s not Alaska (or at the very least a place that’s slightly less Alaska).

“All right, so just so we’re all clear I’m going to eat you, you, and you…. also woof”

The Positives:

I realize that just by reading the description above The Grey still sounds like a fairly standard action/survival movie. But it’s in the characters (especially Liam Neeson’s Ottway) that the movie starts to take on a new (and far deeper) dimension. A ton of credit for this goes to the Director and the script and multiple times throughout the movie there are some excellent moments where you’ll just be blown away by some revelation or dialogue moment.

Liam Neeson is absolutely stellar as Ottway!! Not just in his portrayal of the tough outdoors man (something we’ve seen him do before) but in the subtle nuances of the character. Neeson oh so stealthily reveals different parts of the character to the audience and while the acting is certainly subdued so is the character he’s playing. It’s a wonderful, very low key look at an incredible, deep, quite character. This is honestly one of the things Neeson does better then anyone else around: he plays subtlety so well and so brilliantly that it’s easy to miss what he’s doing entirely until you get to the end of the movie and suddenly realize how connected you are to the character.

Oh Liam Neeson. How do you kick so much butt?

The movie is paced absolutely brilliantly. It starts off pretty slow (which is a good thing for a movie like this) but as soon as the wolves show up things go nuts (also a good thing). The movie really never lets up from there on out forcing you to race through the emotional journey just as fast as the movie characters have to move through their physical journey.

Finally the wolves are handled incredibly well. Never reaching the point where they feel too ominous or not ominous enough. The wolves are a constant threat in the back of your mind and more often then not just when you hope they won’t show up, they do. In a big bad way.

The Negatrons:

The Grey is a tough movie. As such it definitely earns its R rating with a lot of language and some vicious violence. I’m not saying this is a terrible thing but it is something that might take away from your enjoyment and certainly eliminates the chance of you watching it with little Bobby Tipkins. But the Grey doesn’t really ever pretend to be a movie that’s anything less then what it is. Hard men in a hard situation, the men act exactly like hard men in a hard situation would act.

In Conclusion:

The Grey is much much more then a survival/action movie. It’s a movie about why we survive, and why we fight, and even why we don’t. It’s an emotional roller coaster ride with some HUGE payoffs and gut punches that will leave you reeling. Let me stress again though that the movie is rated R. Lots of language and wolf related violence ensues. If you can can stomach said language and violence I definitely recommend the movie as it’s certainly a theatrical experience you won’t find anywhere else.

Liam Neeson leads a great cast in a carefully told story that gives you a LOT more to think about then how cool Liam Neeson is or how close an eye you should be keeping on your pet dog.

I give it 4 ravenous Alaskans out of 5.

A completely random note:

GI Joe: Retaliation, a movie that was set to come out June 29th of this year, (ya know like a month from now) has been delayed until March 29th, 2013 (ya know like… 10 months from now). Why, you may ask. Because the studio wants it to be done in 3D. Really??? Really studio execs? Your going to delay your movie 9 months so that it can get a post-filming face lift (which, consequently, rarely works) so you can make 5 dollars more off of every ticket? What. The. Monkey. I miss the days when a movie was released because it was a GOOD MOVIE! Not because it was IN 3D!! Do you really have so little faith in your movie that you think you need 5 more dollars from each ticket for you to get your investment back?

“Yeah I liked it but ya know what I thought this movie needed? Uncomfortable glasses and random gimmicky effects!.. Yeah I totally think it’s worth a nine month delay…”

I’m not a huge fan of 3D in movies (well documented fact). I think it pulls us out of movies more then it pushes us into them. Your constantly aware of the fact that you’re wearing stupid glasses and staring at a screen and (in most movies) once every ten minutes or so something will happen and you’ll go “Wow… that was a cool effect.” I’d rather enjoy a movie cause it’s a good movie then because once every ten minutes the movie manages to throw something at my uncomfortably bespectacled face. Maybe someday a movie will come out that changes that opinion (maybe it will be The Hobbit) but a movie like this that’s all set to come out and make money or not make money depending on whether or not it’s a good movie, that suddenly decides “Oh wait I’d like to occasionally be able to make the audience go ‘ooooo'” is just a major letdown for me.

So, so long GI Joe maybe I’ll see you next March… but I kinda doubt it.

This wolf is angry at you GI: Joe. Very. Angry.

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