Entertaining Platt: The Grey
January 29, 2012 § 3 Comments
My pal Josh suggests that the supporting cast of The Grey started dying off once they learned whatever important lesson they were expected to glean for themselves.
I’d like to think it was that symmetrical and metaphysical, but if that’s the case:
* The dude who looks like Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan (that can’t have been an accident!) gets chewed up after learning he’s worse than his son at smartphone video games and probably shouldn’t take a leak with his back to the dark when they know wolves are out there.
* Deputy Zombie from The Crazies dies after learning he shouldn’t follow Liam Neeson on cross-country adventures that don’t include songs with Hope and Crosby.
* Token African-American Survivor goes to the great beyond after…what? Getting pneumonia?
* Dermot Mulroney takes a tumble from the world’s worst zip line after losing his glasses. His lesson? Obviously, he should’ve gotten LASIK.
* Then there’s the tough guy who keeps butting heads with Alpha Neeson. I admired his character’s decision to survive so that he could score with a less festering hooker. But at a certain point he just calls it quits and sits against a log to stare at the landscape because it reminds him of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
* Finally, there’s Holder of Wallets, the guy Alpha Neeson charges with collecting souvenir IDs from all the victims of their Alaskan plane crash. His big lesson: Never ask Alpha Neeson about his not-so-deep but dark suicidal tendencies.
I’d bought into the movie for the most part as a man vs. nature, man vs. man, man vs. self wrapped inside some survival horror elements. The advertising for the flick did it absolutely no favors, but I can see why it would be hard to classify. In a lot of ways, it’s like Jaws with a bigger cast, but with Quint as the central character.
As with the classic shark flick, the deadly beasts in The Grey just become an excuse to throw these characters together and see how they interact, what they learn about each other and themselves. Just like we didn’t see much of Bruce the Shark in Jaws, we usually only get glimpses of the wolves in The Grey. Just like Jaws, this is a good thing, in my opinion, because the fake wolves really look pretty fake in this.
I went along for the ride with The Grey for the most part as Neeson facepunched his way through wolves chewing on flight attendants and his new friends, and sometimes facepunched his new friends. I even kept going with it after Alpha Neeson tried calling God out, but God did not show up for a good facepunching.
Where The Grey finally lost me was during the final moments, when Alpha Neeson faces Alpha Wolf in the heart of their den. Neeson fashions Wolverine claws out of broken liquor bottles and electrical tape before making his “Screw this, I’m going down fighting!” face and charging the wolf. The bottles just seemed like an unnecessarily (and maybe unintentionally) humorous move, thrown in because of the little known “Chekov’s Bottle” rule, which insists that if you see a tiny airplane liquor bottle in the first act, it’s got to be used to go for a wolf’s jugular by the end of the movie.
All in all, it’s a pretty good movie about hard-edged macho men getting humbled by nature, but with a silly ending.