Friday night the lad and I went to see a film. It feels so awkward calling him my boyfriend on here, maybe just because I have a huge fear of sounding like one of those girls who unnecessarily gushes about their fellas. Anyway, the lad is my significant other Ryan, for future reference. He being the huge Liam Neeson fan that he is, I do enjoy his work too, though, wanted to see The Grey. I, being far too behind on recent cinematic releases, had no idea what he was talking about. A quick Google search at work revealed it to be a film about a bunch of oil workers who experience a plane crash and have to battle the harsh Alaskan wild. Not exactly the kind of thing I typically go for, but he was taking me out to dinner, and I wanted to be obliging.
The verdict: that was the longest couple of hours I have had to sit through in a long time. I hated it. Not for any of the reasons I was expecting to, though. Yes, it was rather brutal and bloody throughout. Yes, there were long expanses of entirely too drawn out tense moments involving ravines, rivers, and blizzards. And yes, there were gruesome deaths. However, what I found the most disturbing and difficult to watch involved what I had going in expected to only be a minor subplot. Instead it turned out to encompass the the whole flipping film.
I should say before I reveal, that I suppose this is a spoiler. If you want to see the film despite my warnings, read no further. I should also say that I am a complete sap when it comes to animals as well. I am not a sap that thinks they’re all cute and cuddly cartoonish versions of their actual natures or anything. I respect the fact that they are wild. This fact is actually what caused me to be so offended by the film in the first place.
Alaska has wolves. No surprise there. Wolves are pretty high up on the food chain there. This means they hunt the available game within their territory to nourish their bodies. This is especially crucial in the colder months. When several wounded, weak, lumbering humans are dropped right in their territory in the late Alaskan winter (I’m pretty sure this is when it took place. It seemed that way at least), there is suddenly a new addition to the food chain. Yes, it is then entirely plausible that these men would become targets for the pack. I also realize that every good story has a villain. Any elementary student could tell you that. However, I really do not appreciate the fact that that the villains of this story became the wolves. The film superimposed human morality on basic natural survival instinct. Instead of a pack trying to maintain their strength enough to make it through.
I think the portrayal of wolves in this film is extremely bad form in light of the recent de-listing of wolves from the endangered species lists in Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin and allowing for the shooting of wolves who attack human property among other instances. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that wolves can be a danger for farmers and their livestock, which is frustrating, but those wolves are doing what their kind have been doing on those lands since long before the farmers were there. They’re acting on instinct not some malicious desire to plague the humans. It’s not fair, as the film does, to impose some human notion of good vs. evil on the species.
I don’t want to become anymore political right here. It’s obvious enough I was raised by two park rangers and conservationists, and maybe I misread the film, but my suggestion if you are like minded and don’t appreciate seeing the unnecessary mutilation of a wolf corpse, go see something else.