Five minutes into The Grey, Liam Neeson sticks the business end of a rifle into his mouth and almost pulls the trigger. He must have been overwhelmed by feelings of regret after being in Star Wars Episode I and Taken 2. Oh, what could have been. Blam! Neeson dead. The End. If he had gone through with it, The Grey would have been a much better movie.
The Grey tries to be a combination of Alive and White Fang, featuring a group of plane-crash survivors struggling against nature and wolves. Unfortunately, the end result is absolutely terrible. The story is thread-bare, the characters are laughably stupid, the pacing is horrendous, and the attempts at “depth” are clumsy. This is a movie that is only tolerable if you’re totally wasted.
Let’s say you somehow manage to survive a horrific plane crash. What do you do? First, gather materials to start a fire and find a source of food. Second? Stay fucking put. Yes, stay exactly where you are, because you’d better believe a rescue party is on the way. This airplane wasn’t from a fucking Podunk African country, it was flying in the United States. A country with advanced technology like *cough* radios and radar. They would have started investigating the second the plane went down. The rescue party would likely show up within a day or two. A massive plane crash in a huge open field would be pretty hard to miss.
If you’re really fat, you don’t even need to do step number one. You have enough fat stores to stay warm and alive until someone rescues you. Survival of the fattest, am I right?
Now, let’s say you are a character in this movie. What do you do? Start walking through the tundra, headed South, in the hopes you may find a semblance of civilization. Of course, in doing so, you leave the crash site, and forgo any chances you ever had of being rescued. Neeson’s dumbass character convinced the survivors to trek through the wilderness, dooming them all. He is the biggest idiot in this movie.
Of course, I know what you’re thinking. “LOL BUT BRIK THEY WERE BEIN ATTACKED BY TEH WOLFS THEY WERE GUNNA DIE IF TEHY STAYED SO THEY HAD TO LEAVE LOL!”
The wolves in this movie are so fucking bad. Instead of using real animals, they created CGI abominations. They look so cheesy, so fucking fake, I literally spit out my beer the first time one showed up on-screen. They don’t even look like wolves. They are the size of a fucking bear, covered in slime and drool, and have crazy glowing eyes. It’s like the wolves are supposed to be demons or some fucking nonsense. Did anyone even bother to look at a picture of a wolf beforehand? In a movie that takes itself so seriously, having wolves that look so hilariously stupid creates a bizarre juxtaposition.
And so, the wolves attack the humans. At this point, The Grey devolves into a slasher movie. The wolves kill the humans one at a time just like Jason, Michael Myers, or the Terminator. They are given quasi-supernatural powers of strength, speed, intelligence, and relentlessness. They communicate with one another, sending certain wolves into the humans’ camp to find weaknesses in their perimeter.
This same thing happened in Aliens. The antagonists were searching for weaknesses in the Space Marines’ defenses. Aliens did this much better. It was more methodical, more logical, and more entertaining. It’s really quite sad when a sci-fi movie about deadly aliens ends up being more intelligent and realistic than a movie taking place on Earth.
I’m pretty sure in real life wolves are not vindictive serial killers. I read the Wikipedia entry on the Gray Wolf (super-reliable source, I know), and I found these tidbits:
- “Although wolves may react aggressively under provocation, such attacks are mostly limited to quick bites on extremities, and the attacks are not pressed.”
- “Once the prey detects the wolves, it can either approach the wolves, stand its ground, or flee. Large prey, such as moose, elk, and muskoxen, usually stand their ground. Should this occur, the wolves hold back, as they require the stimulus of a running animal to proceed with an attack. If the targeted animal stands its ground, the wolves either ignore it, or try to intimidate it into running.”
- “Overall, wolves are generally not dangerous to humans, as long as they are in low numbers, have sufficient food, have little contact with humans, and are occasionally hunted.”
The first and third quotes prove that the movie’s writers have no goddamn clue how real wolves operate. In the movie, the wolves do not give quick bites and fail to press the attack. They fucking maul the characters, and press the attack throughout the entire film. The third quote is my favorite, stating that wolves are generally not dangerous to humans. Presumably, these wolves have plenty of food (in their den you see animal bones strewn about), are in the middle of nowhere with little human contact, and one could reasonably assume they are hunted once in a while.
The second quote shows, again, that Neeson’s character is a total dipshit. He’s supposedly an expert on wolves, and makes a living killing wolves, yet he doesn’t know that wolves only attack moving prey? The characters are on the move throughout the whole film! If they had stayed put in the very beginning, none of this would have happened!
This movie tries to be deep, but fails hard. All of the attempts at SUPER DEEP MEANING are conversations about whether or not god exists. They crowbar in some imagery of crosses, people having hallucinations and questions about the meaning of life, and we are supposed to think that the movie has a message. The only message it has is these characters are idiots for leaving the crash site. Neeson’s character is an atheist, and, in the highlight of the movie, he calls god a “fuckface.” Being Irish, he should have prayed to a leprechaun instead.
The worst part of all was how this movie ended up being such a goddamn lie. The entire marketing campaign was built around Neeson punching wolves. Watch the trailer, watch the TV commercials, and read the obviously-planted fake reviews. They all talk about how awesome it is watching Neeson punch wolves. And believe me, I was totally pumped. There’s nothing more I wanted to see than Neeson punching wolves in the face with broken bottles. But it never fucking happened! The final scene shows Neeson gearing up, taping broken bottles to his hands, so he can fist-fight the alpha male. And just when the shit is about to hit the fan, the movie ends. THEY DON’T EVEN SHOW HIM FIGHT THE FUCKING WOLF! THE WHOLE MOVIE WAS ADVERTISED AS LIAM NEESON FIGHTING WOLVES AND THEY DON’T EVEN SHOW IT HAPPEN ONCE! WHAT THE FUCK?! WHY DID I WASTE MY TIME WATCHING THIS PIECE OF SHIT?!
The Grey is awful. If you want to watch a poorly-paced piece of shit with serial-killer demon-wolves and moronic characters, then go ahead and check it out. If you want to watch Liam Neeson punching wolves, then don’t bother, it doesn’t happen. Although, I must commend Neeson for bringing closure to a character he has been portraying, over the course of several films, since 2005.
- Neeson is involved in a plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness. He learns survival skills and kills wolves. He eventually returns to the U.S., marries, and has a daughter.
- Neeson’s wife and daughter are “taken” from him. He uses the “special set of skills” he learned from killing wolves in order to rescue his family.
- Some years later, Neeson’s family dies. Consumed by hatred, he forms the League of Shadows, and trains Bruce Wayne to be a ninja, once again using those fantastic skills.