June 17, 2008

Into "Into the Wild"


Has anyone else out there seen “Into the Wild”? I rented it the other night, mainly by coincidence. See, the video store has a deal where if you rent 5 movies, it costs about 4 bucks, and you can keep them for a week. So I decided to throw “Into the Wild” into the mix to complete the quintet.
I was a bit skeptical about the movie, mainly because I had read about 70 pages of the book it is based upon when I was visiting my friend Chris near Philly. I stopped reading the book mostly because the protagonist—an idealist named Christopher McCandless who renounces his earthly possessions, goes to Alaska, and finally dies of starvation—seemed like a bit of a presumptuous prick. Plus, at the time I read it, I felt like I was only a few steps and a couple of small changes of circumstance away from being just like him, and that made his story especially unnerving.
Anyhow, the movie was very good on many levels. The story was engaging, the casting was top-notch (especially the goofy Danish couple), and the visuals were simply marvelous. In the end, I came away with a new appreciation for the poor kid. Sure, he was kind of a douche about some things—like when he burned his money in the desert—but who among us isn’t a bit of a douche sometimes? And yeah, he was overly idealistic, naïve, and presumptuous, but what recent college graduate isn’t? After watching the movie, I now feel like Chris McCandless was just a kid who was trying his best to always experience new things and to get every drop of juice out of life, but in the end, life consumed him instead.


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9 comments:

Paul said...

Good commentary. I saw it when it was in theaters and really liked it. You're right, the story is a little what-have-you but as far as the movie making is concerned, I thought it was great.

Dustin said...

The movie was great production-wise. The biggest problem I have with Christopher McCandless was leaving his sister behind. Chris and his sister grew up together through bad times. It seemed (I wasn't there, but I'm speculating) that all they had were eachother during the rough times. Then as soon as he could, he left. It left a bad taste in my mouth and I've come to call him selfish. I feel that family should come before anything... but that's just me. I don't think of him as a hero like some people may. I know if took a LOT of courage on his part to do what he did, but I think it takes a lot more courage to confront issues than to run away from them.

Julien said...

Very true, Ryan, very true. However, do you think he was done in - in the end- by eating those poisonous plants, or actually from two consecutive hours of Pearl Jam? I think the latter. Say hello to the missus for us.

Paul said...

Cold, Julien. I think you're right, Dustin, and I don't really remember how they played it out in the movie, but I know that it really messed with her head in real life, and she still writes about him, etc... to this day. Good call.

Zach said...

Almost every discussion I've heard about this movie/book brings up the same point: it's hard to enjoy the story because McCandless seems selfish/stupid/etc. It seems that there is a need to have the protagonist be a sympathetic character, and many have trouble sympathizing. However, I have to say that I enjoyed the book quite a bit, and also really liked the movie, even though I rarely sympathized with the main character.

Dustin said...

Unless that protagonist is named Ash and battles the Army of the Dead...

Sitzman said...

Wow, crazy!
I can't believe people are actually engaging in a discussion in my blog!
Good work, friends.
--Sitzman

Sitzman said...

By the way, Julio, I agree with Paul; I like Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder, with the possible exception of Vedder's work in the Dead Man Walking soundtrack, where he was howling/ululating(?) with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. I don't know, but for me, "No Code" was better.
--Sitzjam

Bonner Photographic said...

Speaking of a band, when is the A to Z music review coming back?