|Into The Wild [HD DVD]
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Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 03/04/2008 Run time: 148 minutes Rating: R
A superb cast and an even-handed treatment of a true story buoy Into the Wild, Sean Penn's screen adaptation of Jon Krakauer's bestselling book. Emile Hirsch stars as Christopher McCandless, scion of a prosperous but troubled family who, after graduating from Atlanta's Emory University in the early 1990s, decides to chuck it all and become a self-styled "aesthetic voyager" in search of "ultimate freedom." He certainly doesn't do it halfway: after donating his substantial savings account to charity and literally torching the rest of his cash, McCandless changes his name (to "Alexander Supertramp"), abandons his family (William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden as his bickering, clueless parents and Jena Malone as his baffled but loving sister, who relates much of the backstory in voice-over), and hits the road, bound for the Alaskan bush and determined not to be found. For the next two years he lives the life of a vagabond, working a few odd jobs, kayaking through the Grand Canyon into Mexico, landing on L.A.'s Skid Row, and turning his back on everyone who tried to befriends him (including Catherine Keener and Brian Dierker as two kindly, middle-aged hippies and Hal Holbrook in a deeply affecting performance as an old widower who tries to take "Alex" under his wing). Penn, who directed and wrote the screenplay, alternates these interludes with scenes depicting McCandless' Alaskan idyll--which soon turns out be not so idyllic after all. Settling into an abandoned school bus, he manages to sustain himself for a while, shooting small game (and one very large moose), reading, and recording his existential musings on paper. But when the harsh realities of life in the wilderness set in, our boy finds himself well out of his depth, not just ill-prepared for the rigors of day to day survival but realizing the importance of the very thing he wanted to escape--namely, human relationships. It'd be easy to either idealize McCandless as a genuinely free spirit, unencumbered by the societal strictures that tie the rest of us down, or else dismiss him as a hopelessly callow na?f, a fool whose disdain for practical realities ultimately doomed him. Into the Wild does neither, for the most part telling the tale with an admirable lack of cheap sentiment and leaving us to decide for ourselves. --Sam Graham
- above average
Overall the DVD was in great condition, and was shipped in good time. The only thing I wasnt really a fan of is the library stickers all over the case and one one the DVD. Other than that, thank you....more info
- Life, The world and Everything
OK, just gotta say, for all of the stupid futility of his death, Chris still lived MORE than ANY of us. His death was sheer idiocy, but his life, his refusal to accept society on society's terms are brilliantly illustrated in this movie, and REALLLY define his existance, both in the real world and in this adaptation. ...more info
- Gripping story
I love a well done story based on real life and this is well done....more info
- Wandering and Wonder over Worrying and War
Wandering and Wonder over Worrying and War
When it came time to review this movie, I could not do it. That is, I could not do it without also reviewing it within the context of two other movies that I had just recently watched because all three of them have such a similar theme. In fact, they all have so many things in common that I decided to review all three of them at the same time as a medley, something I have never done before but which seems called for. If you'll follow me, you'll see what I'm getting at.
I was recently talking to a friend of mine at work when we happened to run into each other in the men's room. He asked me if I had ever seen the film EASY RIDER, and I answered that it was interesting and very synchronistic that he should ask me that because it was the last movie that I had just enjoyed watching at home on DVD. I said, "Man, you know, I was JUST watching that last week! I LOVE that movie. I wanted to get the deluxe edition but I could not find it anywhere, so I just picked up the regular one at GIANT (the local supermarket) in the bargain bin for nine bucks." My friend, Ian, then said, "I only own three movies in my collection: EASY RIDER, THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, and INTO THE WILD. Have you seen the other two?" I answered that I had not and that I had always wanted to see the both of them, to which he quickly replied, "You can borrow mine, man. I'll bring them in tomorrow for you." "Hey, thanks a lot, man," I replied with gratitude, and we both went back to work.
I watched both of those movies Ian let me borrow over the weekend of April 10, 11, 12, 2009 right on the heels of having watched EASY RIDER just weeks before. The amazing amount of similar themes running through all three of these films is impressive. All three of these movies express a preference for wandering and wonder over worrying and war for the characters involved. Each of them seems to express the plight of characters dealing with their own, personal rejection of the reality of petty worries and war (The Iliad), and choosing, instead, a life of venturing forth into the unknown world of wonder and wandering (The Odyssey). The characters in all three of these movies depict a great love of adventure and a great joy of being out on the open road. Jack Kerouac, author of ON THE ROAD, would have loved all three of these fantastic films, especially INTO THE WILD, as he was a great lover of the books of Jack London. Also, they all have a great, cinematic and panoramic, wide-angle viewpoint of the world. Watching these films gets one out of one's own head and puts one right into the world of the film. The scenery in all three films is stunning and absolutely breathtaking. The viewer is immediately projected "into the wild" world (if you will) of the characters. It's intense! You get taken along for a ride that goes not only far and wide out into the world but, also, deep into the hidden spaces of one's heart and mind. All three of these films will make you think about your own life in particular as well as the greater meaning of life in general. They are deep, psychological films that demand conscious labor of intellectual thought and emotional soul searching on the part of the viewer. You get taken for a ride, but it is definitely NOT "easy!"
In my case, watching these films - especially INTO THE WILD - brought me back to a time when I myself, like the character in the movie, was 22 years old and questioning my place in life: what I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, where I wanted to live, how I wanted to live, and who I wanted to be with. I realize now that I was seeking a sense of place to fit in and a community to be a part of that I felt comfortable in more than merely trying to "find myself." But understanding that when you are going through it is another thing altogether. Watching INTO THE WILD hits home on all these points and more! I remember having just seen The Grateful Dead in concert in Hartford, Connecticut with my good buddy, Jimmy, in May of 1997, and feeling like I wanted to just bust loose of all of the constraints of society that seemed to be holding me back from my true calling - whatever that was. I was feeling like a wild animal caught in a trap, and I wanted to be free. I had dropped out of college almost two years before, and I had been working at two jobs back in my hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts. That summer, like the kid in INTO THE WILD, I planned to get away and I bought a bunch of camping equipment, quit my jobs, and hit the road. I first went up north to New York State to camp out with some members of the Neo-American Church in the region of Cranberry Lake. When I decided not to stay and started to trek back out to head off somewhere else, my glasses fell off of my head and into the muddy, swampy muck I had found myself in along the water's edge. It took me an hour to find them. I realized then and there that I was handicapped for this kind of wandering around with all this heavy weight on my shoulders. So, I hitchhiked back home, feeling just as lost and just as confused as ever. I continued to read hundreds of books to find an answer to my quest for authenticity and community, only to learn that I was just making the book stores richer. I tried yet again to break away that fall, and went back to western Massachusetts to see if I could find work out near my friends who were still going to school there. I could relate to the scene in INTO THE WILD where Christopher writes in his diary of all freedom seekers in the history of this country seeking it by going out "west." Whenever I would hear the lyrics to "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin, when Robert Plants sings: "There's a feeling I get when I look to the west and my spirit is crying for leaving," I would feel an urge inside me to head out west before I got too old to do it. Indeed, Christopher tries to inspire the old man who wanted to adopt him in the film (Hank Holbrook) to do the very same thing! After spending two weeks looking for work with no luck, and deciding not to move into a deserted cabin or tepee built out in the back woods of a local farmer's land because of the weather and being all alone, I left the generous hospitality of my good friend, Greg, and once more headed back home to find my way that way. Years later, after working an assortment of odd jobs over many years, I eventually ended up opening my own health food store in the summer of 1989 after deciding not to buy some land way up north in Maine or Vermont near the Canadian border - the only place I could afford land at the time. I concluded that if I bought the land, I would never be able to later do the health food store (one of the last business bastions left of hippiedom in corporate America), but if I opened the store and did not like it, I could always cash-in and then go off and buy some land somewhere out in the woods. I was always talking about "moving to Alaska," to live in freedom and stuff like that - so I can really relate to what Christopher McCandless (the real character and promising young man of the true story of INTO THE WILD) was going through. I felt like I was looking at myself re-living my past. He took the path I almost took. I turned back. He never got the chance to. God only knows where he would be today if he had lived to tell his story!
I have a cousin who actually did the same thing once. He was even younger than me when he did it. My cousin, George, actually made it all the way to Alaska, and then Hawaii, and then Europe as well. He went all around the world. When he reached Alaska, he hooked up with some of his old friends from Dunstable, Massachusetts who had also moved up there to make money working on the pipeline and on fishing boats. He found work up there for a while, too, just like some of the characters in these three films. They worked along the way to help to make their journey. George ended up finding his friend, Jim Lavrakas, a famous photographer today for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. Ernesto and Alberto worked in a Leper Colony for a while in Peru. Christopher McCandless worked out in the fields cutting grain for a while to help pay his way. I have a good friend named Phil who actually did do what I had once intended on doing myself. He worked his butt off for years, saved a bunch of cash, and bought himself 25 acres of land up in Maine where he lives off the grid out in the woods as an independent, organic farmer and orchard grower. He says he did it to be able to live like a free man out on the land away from all of the social evils and urban ugliness of the city. He also wanted to be free and independent of his family, like Chris in INTO THE WILD. He did it. I guess I was too much of a homebody and a Hobbit to live alone all by myself out in the woods somewhere where no one knew me. It takes courage to live alone like Thoreau out in the wild. You need guts to do this kind of stuff. I know that one reason why I returned back home from my meager attempt at wandering through the woods was that I really missed music. I am a musician. There is no way to jam with other people and enjoy music and dance when you live alone out in the woods. It is impossible. Nevertheless, till this day, the TV series that ran in the early nineties about life up in a small town called Cicely, Alaska - NORTHERN EXPOSURE - is still my all-time, favorite television program. It had colorful characters. I guess some romantic ideas die hard.
It takes a lot of courage to leave the comforts of home and cut loose from all of your support system of family and friends and to just take off and hit the road to God knows where. It's a "wild world," as Cat Stevens sings, and you've got to take care. All three films show the major characters getting into trouble out on the road. "Alexander Supertramp" (the vagabond name Christopher McCandless chose for himself after cutting up his social security card and all of his other documents of official identity before he hit the road) got the hell beaten out of him by railroad man one dark night when he was hobo-ing it out on a train. Both Ernesto and Alberto got chased out of town by a jealous husband and all of his hometown buddies after one of his friends saw the husband's wife flirting and dancing with Ernesto on the dance floor. In EASY RIDER, Peter Fonda's motorcycle gets a flat tire (the least of their troubles) just like Alberto's motorcycle kept on breaking down and eventually dying on them in THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES. These young characters in all of these films were not exactly experiencing the metaphysical revelations of Robert M. Pirsig in his masterful ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE - at least not at first - but they certainly all ran into a lot of trouble. The spiritual revelations began to come to them later, along the way. Indeed, all the major characters have major transformational experiences in one way or another as a result of their personal quests and traveling adventures. The road changes you. Also, there are many forks in the road, as Neil Young most recently informs us. It's hard to decide sometimes which way to go.
This changing of one's name seems to be a prerequisite to being a beat, road warrior out on the highway. Not only does Christopher change his name, but in EASY RIDER, the character played by Peter Fonda changes his name from Wyatt to "Captain America," and the character played by Dennis Hopper begins to call himself "Billy the Kid," both taking on the persona of Wild West characters of historical, American lore. In THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, Ernesto begins to be called "Fuser" and "Che" (the name that stuck with him for the rest of his life!) while his buddy, Alberto, begins to be called "Mial." It's almost as if one has to shed one's former identity as a snake sheds its skin in order to take on one's true identity - and this requires the taking on of a new name, one which reflects one's true identity.
Another thing these movies have in common is the pairing of a more sensitive and reflective character with a more rough & tumble and more aggressive character. In the case of INTO THE WILD, the character - who is very sensitive and contemplative - is paired up against the people he meets on his journey along the way, many of which tend to be less graceful and sensitive as he is. In THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, Ernesto is very much like the character that Peter Fonda portrays in EASY RIDER, and Alberto is, also, very much like the character that Dennis Hopper plays. The likeness is astounding. Ernesto, like Christopher McCandless in INTO THE WILD, is always writing in his journal and thinking about the deeper meaning of things. Peter Fonda, as well, is portrayed as the more thoughtful and contemplative one than the rambunctious and womanizing Dennis Hopper. One character is graceful and patient, full of compassion for other people, while the other is less refined and always in a hurry, and somewhat more selfish. They are like The Odd Couple - but riding on motorcycles!
Another theme that runs deeply through all three films is the powerful and destiny changing power of rivers! The awesome power of the natural world, exemplified by a river in all three films, is undeniable. You can't miss it. In the case of INTO THE WILD, it was the raging force of the rolling river rapids that prevented Chris from crossing back in the spring to the other side from which he came. It was too wide, too deep, and with waters gushing too fast to cross. He was forced to go back to the bus where he had been living all winter. It ultimately decided his destiny for him. He almost drowned in it on his attempt to cross it. In the end, it was because of the river which separated him from all that he cared about in his past that sealed his fate. The poison plants he mistakenly ingested while he was starving did not help, either. In the case of EASY RIDER, it was along the river that both characters met their fate, and got blown away by a couple of backwoods rednecks out for a spin in their pickup truck. Maybe it was their bad karma? Still, the injustice of the moment is profound, as one watches Peter Fonda's motorcycle go up in flames while Roger McGuinn of the Byrds sings Bob Dylan's song, "The Ballad of Easy Rider,' as the lyrics "flow, river flow" repeat throughout the song like the flowing river itself. In the case of THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, it was along the river where Ernesto found himself, in the sense of his true calling, while administering to a sick, leper woman who made him realize that there are other ways to heal people - and prevent them from getting sick in the first place - than by being a physician to individuals. Society itself can be in great need of a social healer. The river separated the sick lepers on one side from the hospital care workers on the other. Ernesto refused to wear the superstitious rubber gloves on his hands from the very first day. One night, on his birthday, he had a spiritual rebirth when he took a rite of passage and dove into the river, swimming all the way across to the other side where all of the sick lepers along the shore encouraged him on. On doing so, he once and for all proved to his friend, Alberto, that he was no wimp but a true man with determination and courage. He showed an inner strength that inspired all of those around him. How they cheered his victory over the river! He would not be stopped by anything. That came later, when he was "Che Guevara" the revolutionary in Bolivia, when the sneaky CIA killed him. His nobility still shines brightly! Like "Alexander Supertramp" in INTO THE WILD and "Captain America" in EASY RIDER, he had a huge heart and a great soul. He truly cared about people.
Another theme that runs through all three of these films is a sense of loneliness. The number on the bus that Christopher lived in depicted in INTO THE WILD is number 142. Numerologically, this adds up to a number 7 - the number of solitude and loneliness. In EASY RIDER, the character played by Peter Fonda ends up all alone in a New Orleans cemetery, perched atop a statue of the Virgin Mary while he's peaking on LSD in a death-rebirth acid trip-induced mystical experience, screaming out in tears to his real dead mother and asking her why she killed herself, leaving him all alone. In THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, you find Ernesto feeling more and more isolated from his friend and feeling lonely after he receives the "Dear John letter" from his girlfriend who they had visited just weeks before. His sense of loss and isolation is profound. His shattered dream of a romantic relationship with this woman cleared the path to true enlightenment for him. The viewer can sense this profoundly at the end of the film when you see him saying goodbye to Alberto before getting alone onto the aeroplane waiting to take him away toward his ultimate destiny. All three of these characters experienced major spiritual transformations along their journey out on the road of life far away from home.
One last characteristic that all the major characters in these three films have in common is their persistent, uncompromising, diligently determined drive to all reach their goals - for good or ill. They are all absolutely hell-bent on following their dreams and dancing to the beat of their own drummer. They all choose freedom over security. Ironically, they all consciously choose the path of Odysseus - of wandering - but they all end up reaching the same end as Achilles - of dying young in a flame of glory. That's fate. The ancient Greeks called her "Moira." Even the Gods themselves are at her mercy. In EASY RIDER, Billy was always pushing his more contemplative partner onward toward their goal of reaching the famous whorehouse in New Orleans. It almost seems as if the only reason why "Captain America" wanted to also go was to pay his respects to their long lost companion, George (played dramatically by Jack Nicholson) the attorney who got them out of jail, whose idea it was to go there in the first place. Peter Fonda's character was loyal to a fault when it came to his friendship with Billy. In THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, Alberto (the horny rascal) was always pushing Ernesto to go out of his spiritual centeredness and jump into the dangerous fray of the more seedy side of life. Finally, in INTO THE WILD, it was "Alexander Supertramp's" intense reaction to the constant, dysfunctional fighting between his mother and father back home that pushed him on and outward to not ever end up in the same situation himself. We must also acknowledge that all of these characters were young and anxious to sew some of their wild oats, a natural condition of youth everywhere.
One might ask what would have happened to all of these characters if they had changed their minds along the way of their respective, individual quests and decided, instead, to stay with companions they had met along the way, or turn back and go back home? I remember when I first saw EASY RIDER as a kid, when it first came out in 1969. We all went to the movie theater as a group and all watched it together, getting a kick out of hippies smoking real pot, live and on camera. Some of us thought they should have stayed in the hippie commune. If they had lived, would they have stayed together? Would "Captain America" have gone back to be with those people? The same goes for INTO THE WILD. What would have happened if Christopher had stayed longer with his hippie friends in the trailer park? What would have happened if he left Alaska before the ice melted and went back to be with the girl he sang with who was a musician and who clearly cared for him? In THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, what would have happened if Ernesto changed his mind and went back to be with his girlfriend? Would there have ever been a Cuban revolution? It's interesting that the characters in EASY RIDER had the goal of reaching a whorehouse, and the character in THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES - "Che Guevara" - was instrumental in ridding CUBA of all of its underworld-controlled and corrupt, exploitative whorehouses and gambling casinos! Who woulda thunk that - coming from this bookish, sensitive doctor!
Ultimately, what one comes away learning from all three of these films, and which is expressed at the end of INTO THE WILD by Christopher McCandless, is that what really matters most in life is true happiness and peace of mind, and that the only way to be truly fulfilled and happy is by sharing it with other people. Happiness can only be found in community. To reach a real community where you can truly be yourself and live an authentic life is a real blessing. Billy and "Captain America" never got the chance. Christopher McCandless learned this truth - but too late to live it. Only Ernesto reached the higher octave of societal existence and sustained a life on a higher level of community involvement through his unbending will and indomitable spirit to "work for the good of the whole," as my friend, Al, likes to say. He was true to himself; that is, he took what he learned from being alone on the road away from home and brought it back with him to transform society back home and, ultimately, everywhere. He may have fallen off that damn, rickety, old motorcycle one too many times to be content with the trust in machinery and mechanical living to the extent that most people allow themselves to fall prey to. He found true freedom from the fold by transforming the fold itself, and it was life on the road that transformed him.
Thoreau said it best: "In wilderness is the preservation of the world." Wandering through the wilderness is dynamically healing!
... YOWZA! - George Nicholas Koumantzelis / The Aeolian Kid ... April 15, 2009
- I read the book. Then saw the movie when it was in theaters. Then saw it again, tonight, with my daughter.
My daughter is a wanderer. When Graham Nash wrote 'You, who are on the road...' all those years ago, he was writing about my daughter today.
All the above to say this: My daughter says, and I believe her, that too many kids have taken to the road a la Chris McCandless. They've left home to go and do and see and smell and hear and be free. Most of them, she maintains, are woefully unprepared for the rigors of living rough.
Flims like this one are marvelous. Films like this also contribute to a lot of copycat kids taking crazy, dangerous, potentially lethal chances because they saw it in a movie. We cannot and should not stop movies like this even if kids get hurt because of them. I'm definitely not a believer in any kind of book/movie banning or censorship. But we also gotta all man up to the fact that these kinds of movies cause a lot of kids to go missing and more to get hurt.
All that aside, by the end of the movie I was sobbing freely. And though my daughter is careful to make regular phone calls to me, I begged her (again, again, again) to NOT hitch, to NOT make bad choices, to NOT court danger. Like Emile Hirsch playing Chris McCandless, however, all she could offer me for comfort was a peaceful, joyous, wise smile, a big hug and a promise to continue to try to make good choices.
Don't you ever ask them why
If they told you, you would cry
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.
This is a helluvagood movie. It's not an easy movie to watch but it's superbly acted, directed, written, etc. Eddie Vedder's songs were just terrific. And the movie is beautiful, too, even as its final horrifying tragedy zips to a slow-motion close.
Four stars because the mother in me, the mother with a wandering daughter of her own, cannot give it five. The ending hurts too badly....more info
- Into the Wild
It was a excellent book and end up watching the DVD too. And that was even better....more info
- Slow, boring and depressing
Perhaps if you had some idea about what the story
is about you might be predisposed to like this film.
My girlfriend picked it up from the library. I like
nature films, so does she. On the box it doesn't
tell you it's a pathetic story of a stupid kid who
marches off into the Alaskan wilderness without a
map, compass, or plan and STARVES TO DEATH.
Do you like stories about people who starve to
death? Would you appreciate being misled by the
DVD box to believe this is somehow a film about some
sort of human triumph, a man going out and living on
his own terms? This is nothing of the kind.
It's pointless, shallow and slow.
No lessons here. Lousy film....more info
- Great film
The best film for the year of theatrical release. Sean Penn was robbed by the Academy for not nominated as one of the Best Picture. Robbed. Period....more info
- Not so much into, as out of
It is very easy to take this film, and this true story too literally and at face value, and miss the point. Taking in to account so much of the dialogue and the type of things that are highlighted, it becomes clear what the film-maker is trying to convey. This story is all about exposing what social consciousness means (think social pressure and constraints), it's insipid power and stranglehold. As well as it's demand for blindness and dishonesty. And an example of how much it takes to attempt to escape it. The only real tragedy in this film is the length to which a young man felt compelled to go, in order to escape our prison planet. The point of this film is to see and understand why he felt so compelled. It's not so much about the what,... but the why. The vast majority of us can't even hope to escape this invisible power. The best we can do is to become aware of it, and awareness leads to change. Just a super job. I've never seen anything else quite like it.
- Great movie, even better seller.
This is a fantastic movie (book of course is better). It was brand new, in excellent condition, and came in on time! Great seller....more info
- Great Movie and Music
Great movie and music. Also, enjoyed the behind the scenes extras. My daughter and I both loved it - Ages 25 and 53. This movie would appeal to anyone who loves the outdoors and music. ...more info
- When you do not fit in
A well written if controversial book. How you feel about Chris in the end reveals a lot about who you are as a person.
There are people that just do not fit in and Chris was one of them. Parhaps it is a survival strategy in some people that when they get to a point they felt crowded, ( an indicator of dwindling resources you could suppose ), some internal 'switch' is flipped that has them go off and seek more fertile lands. If it were not for this trait no one would have come to this country and expanded Westward. sadly there is no where left to go any more. Chris wasnt ill, he was just born in the wrong century.
- Watched it twice
Our kids recommended this movie and when we rented it, we decided to keep it long enough to watch it twice in order to catch some things that we felt were thought provoking. One question we asked ourselves was, do we really need so much to be happy? The other realization was that it is very important to share our lives with others for our own happiness. Wow! All that from one movie. We requested a DVD as a Christmas gift from our kids, and bought two more for our friends. Not everyone will like the flashback format of this movie, and many will not be able to find the revelations we did. I would recommend it for the fabulous scenery and beautiful music....more info
- into the wild and into the heart
As of this writing, 129 five star reviews have been given for this movie on Amazon's site. Take all the other reviews, four stars down to one star, and they equal the tally for five star ratings. This alone depicts the power of this quiet movie, which has moved so many who have watched it. Unfolding in bits and pieces, this movie is a journey not just across the land and seasons, but a journey of the heart, a seeking of something to heal the soul of wounds left behind, a coming of age in spirit, far more than in body. Wide open spaces, rich in characters, & chilling in the need to survive, this movie strikes deeply in the heart of so many people longing for something more in their lives.
Oh, yes, my 5 star rating now makes it 130!...more info
- Another Penn Gem
What I know or care about the life of McCandless is utterly contingent on Penn's movie. Thus, however close a physical resemblance Emile Hersch has to the 'real' guy, we have an endearing, gritty, open, call it naive,guy, on a journey of self-discovery. He acted like a teener, so I was surpised to find he was 23. I willed the spirited adventurer on in the hope that his quest for 'Truth', over love and its attending virtues, would help him survive his 100 days in the wilderness. The previous two years on the road have been a full on exposure to life beyond the suburbs and family. It's not the film's province to investigate the motives for his radical disavowal of capitalist 'trappings', sustaining friendships, and rebuttal of his family(who don't seem more messed up than most. Eddie Vedder's emotive baritone fits well, echoing our heroe's moves with subtle understatment: some of the best work I've heard from him. It seems only a short distance into the wild before he encounters the body of an abandoned bus which, providentially, provides the shelter which will finally entomb him. It's not the kind of 'wild' protection I'd anticipated. Didn't he have a tent? Whatever, as the food stocks dwindle and the belt draws tighter, his ignorance of any smattering of bush knowledge is painfully evident. Guilt over wasting a moose. Get over it. You eat cooked,flyblown meat when desperate. At least some of it. I've had to. And no attempt to see what fish the river offered. And, oddly, no wondering or wandering along the track the bus must have arrived on. A doomed trajectory. This guy will perish.We're inexorably drawn to the fatal hours, the collapse, the scribbled epitaph, expiration and heavenward gaze. No matter what license the Penn team may have taken with 'fact', the 'truth' of the movie is satisfying, if not for his grieving family. The improbable bear scene, near the last day, was wonderfully eloquent. Wilderness. Yes. Where is it? In the mind? Really! Out there? Yes....more info
- Into the wild
The product is like expectin don't play in any of my Dvd of course is no anybody fault i dont have HD dvd player.......more info
- "Happiness Is Only Real When Shared"
"Into the Wild" is based on the true story of Chris McCandless, a college graduate from a posh family who abandoned his privileged existence for a life of hitchhiking, living off the land, and go-with-the-flow spirituality. He sent his life savings to OxFam, scissored his credit cards, and burnt his identification. He's reborn as "Alexander Supertramp;" lone wanderer of the American landscape.
Chris is an intelligent and earnest young man. Sick of modern civilization and its crass materialism, he finds inspiration in the pages of Thoreau, Tolstoy, and Jack London. The holy grail of his quest for spiritual enlightenment is Alaska, a place where he can be alone to "just be out there in it. You know, big mountains, rivers, sky, game. Just be out there in it, you know? In the wild."
Sean Penn's lyrical and intimate directing style owes a debt to Terrence Malick, who directed Penn in "The Thin Red Line." The lush images of sunsets, soaring birds, and falling water seem to reinforce Chris' Romantic vision of man's spiritual relationship to nature -- the movie even opens with a quote from Lord Byron -- and when Chris says, "You don't need human relationships to be happy, God has placed it all around us," you wonder if Penn perhaps endorses this somewhat reductive view of life.
Then something happens in the second half of the film that casts Chris's journey in a new light. In the final chapter of the movie Chris meets Ron Franz (Hal Holbrook), a retired Army man, recovered alcoholic, and devout man-of-faith. They develop a quiet, unassuming friendship based on sympathy and understanding. Ron, having heard of Chris' family troubles, tells him: "When you forgive, you love. And when you love, God's light shines upon you." This chapter of the film is titled: "The Getting of Wisdom."
The tragedy of "Into the Wild" is that Chris refuses the grace offered through the relationship with Ron, whose life of hope and love is the true holy grail of spiritual enlightenment, not Alaska. Ron invites Chris to stay with him as an adopted grandson, but Chris, in his restlessness, feels compelled to continue on his way to the vast emptiness of Alaska.
But Ron's vision of life as forgiveness and love returns to Chris in his loneliness and isolation in the wilderness. In his mind's eye, Chris sees his joyful return to his family, embracing them in the life-giving love made possible by forgiveness. In his mind, he asks them: "What if I were smiling and running into your arms? Would you see then what I see now?"
There he remains, sick and starving in the Alaskan wilderness, "trapped in the wild" as he writes in his journal. His final insight is scribbled into the margins of his tattered copy of Tolstoy: "Happiness is only real when shared."...more info
- It didn't quite work
I didn't know anything about the film when I got it...other than it was directed by Sean Penn. So I watched it with a completely open mind. I didn't even know that it was based on a true event, until the final closing credits.
I was quickly drawn into the story. Emile Hirsch is a very attractive, sympathetic actor and I was rooting for the hero early on. His encounters with folks he met along the road underlined my liking for him.
He was kind to everyone, gave the old guy in the phone booth a quarter, refused to take easy advantage of the cute teenage girl, and read all the right books. His adventures before Alaska make up the best part of the film, in my opinion and I understand that these were based on letters from folks who had actually met McCandless. Apparently he was a charismatic guy who made a big impression on people.
Once he gets to the wilderness and walks in, I had the feeling this wasn't going to end all that well for him. But I hung in there, cheering him on, even as he kept taking in his belt. Surely, such a sunny personality as his would find a way to triumph over adversity, one would think..
So, when the end came...not a pretty ending, nothing heroic, I was left feeling strangely empty. Not sad, no tears, just...nothing. The fake "spiritual" scene of the guy looking up at the light in the sky didn't do it for me....I found that sort of a cheap trick on the part of the film maker.
Reading the number of critical reviews here helped me realize why I was so strangely unaffected by what should have been an extremely moving film. I am a multi-Kleenex movie watcher but I couldn't muster one tear for this guy. I didn't really see him as inconsiderate and lacking in love, as a number of reviewers here did. I really understood (I thought) how his background would drive him to such desperation. It just seemed so pointless in the end. Did anyone learn anything? Well, maybe, as he wrote, between the lines in one of his books, that "happiness must be shared"...maybe that was it. Too bad the lesson came too late. Maybe, as the voice over of his sister claimed, that his absence had a positive effect on his warring, materialistic parents.
The cast is very good, especially Katherine Keener and Hal Holbrook. But I don't think Hirsch was the right actor for the role. McCandless must have had a strong self-destructive nature and this doesn't come across at all in his character or performance. Sean Penn, had he been younger, would have been great at showing both the darkness that must have been there and the charm that people spoke of. Hirsch just looks like a really sweet kid who might live next door and whom you'd want to hire to mow your lawn.
Mostly I think that the blame for the misfire of the film lies with Penn as the writer and director. He may have attempted to portray McCandless in a neutral way but McCandless comes across as everyone's hero...the good looking, really kind, likable kid who is trying to live a pure moral existence. It's sort of dangerous and even irresponsible, I think, to give his view of McCandless. If Penn had aimed at a more accurate documentary style portrayal, we would have seen the character's fatal flaws earlier one. If Penn had wanted to give us pure fiction, then a more satisfying dramatic ending would have been in order. If the boy's death really did humanize his parents, maybe showing that would have given us some sense of resolution. As another reviewer wrote, the way the kid dwindled away, even the bear didn't bother with him. That's really sad, given all of the passion with which he embarked on his pilgrimage. Reminds me of the line from T.S. Eliot poem about the world ending not with a bang, but with a whimper. I would have wanted more for the real Chris McCandless.
- Review to Into the Wild.
I very mcuh enjoyed this film! Follow the wonderful adventure of an idealistic young man as he grapples with the truth behind modern life and unversal values.
An original thinker he rejects the tradtional mould to make up his own mind about the meaning of existence. Either bravely or foolishly wandering America.
Allows us each to make our own value judgements about important issues which touch all our lives such as we follow his travels. Ultimately comming to conclusions about the value of people and relationships in our lives. A great film for the adolescent.
Tragic and moving. Great acting. Excellently filmed and delicately handled by the filmaker.This work both believable and inspiring..
- Good movie but don't get carried away
McCandless' story is incredibly interesting. This movie is well done by the director, Sean Penn, and well-acted overall. It is a movie you really should watch, but don't get carried away by the touch of romance of adventure this story evokes, for McCandless truly was unprepared and thoughtless in regard to what he did. Even if his parents fought and weren't perfect, they deserved better than they got from him. While this story is absolutely fascinating, no one should entertain the idea they would do what he did. As an entertaining film, especially if you like adventure, survival type things as I do, I think it is one you would watch more than once, just don't emulate him all you young men out there.....more info
- Do you like the movie?
I loved this movie!!!!
Ever since i seen it, now I want to go into the wild!
forget about all the cities, i want to go camping and travel because of this movie! it changed my life!...more info
- A solid telling of an intruiging true story
This truly is a story about going into the wild. First of all, cast off all of the things you don't need, then work along here and there, pick up what you need to survive in the wild, and then go there...and live.
This isn't a "My Side of the Mountain" type of sanitized storyline. It's about an inexperienced young man that knows how to work and knows how to learn, going into the wild alone, finding food, and surviving (or not- you have to see the movie to find out).
This is not a show for the younger crowd. Don't expect high dollar special effects, just a thoughtful, intelligent telling of a true story.
4 solid stars ...more info
- Disapointing, disjointed adaptation of a good book.
It's funny but most of the reviews of this movie are actually either criticisms or praise of the main character. Without making any comment at all on the wisdom or stupidiity of Chris McCandless, I would just like to explain why I feel that, as a movie, this film simply does not work.
I read the book with great interest and delight. I anticipated the movie giving a reality to the words and places described, but, I felt that at every turn, Sean Penn managed to disappoint. He was far less ojective about McCandless and his family then Krakauer was in the book. The parents are made out to be stereotypical, bougesoise, money-grubbing, semi-violent suburbanites with little or no sympathetic coverage. This kind of portrayal was meticulously avoided by the author of the book because he clearly felt it was unjust.
The voice-over of his sister was an especially trying contrivance. The actress has neither the voice nor emotion to pull off such an task. Plus he clearly added material in those passages that were not in the book. Whether true or not, they did not add to the movie in any meaningful way.
His scenes of Alaska were beautiful but the slo-mo montages got a little tiresome after a while. He also mis-used a great soundtrack from Eddie Vedder, plugging some of the most powerful songs into meaningless transition scenes.
He spends around 10 minutes with McCandless's chance encounter with a norwegian couple just to be able to showcase the girls uninhibited attitude towards conversing with a total stranger while topless. A bit gratuitous if you ask me. Of all the people McCandless meets on his journey, the least important are clearly these two people. Would Penn have found it necessary to spend as much time on this scene if the norwegian woman were, say, 55 years old and overweight.
What he left out of the book was equally vexing as what he overemphasized. Everyone knew the ending. Why not start off as the book does with the discovery of the body by hikers? Why not end with the return of his parents to the bus? Would that have humanized them too much?
Finally, at almost two and half hours, it was overly long and tedious. It never came close to capturing the spirit of the book, despite its obvious and sometimes painful attempts to do so. Sean Penn may be a very accomplished actor, but his directorial skills leave much to be desired....more info
- Into the Wild
The first time I saw this movie, I was speechless, the 2nd time I saw this movie I was speechless.
Just watch it, it is the most amazing journey and the outcome, the result of Alexander Supertramp is ... I am not gonna spoil it for you.
Best movie of the year!!!...more info
After reading the book, I felt compelled to watch the movie, and I was very impressed. The casting was superb, and it followed the book very accurately, rare to see in cases like this. Emile Hirsch also looks just like McCandless, adding to the realism. The way the movie was set up was captivating and spellbinding, and the camera work was wonderful. One of the things I was impressed with and glad at was that it was kept an adult-style film from an adult-style book. They didn't try to dumb down anything, to lower the rating, and kept language, violence, etc. true to the book. If they had removed certain scenes or lines (there is some nudity and language - didn't bother me at all; it fit right in), it would have made the film seem more childish and not the serious thing it was intended to be. Overall, a brilliant adaptation of the book, and worth watching....more info
- Movie Adaptation that Rivals Krakauer's Novel
In my mind, it is quite rare that a film adapatation of a great book can live up to its predecessor. Sean Penn's adaptation of Jon Krakauer's book of the same name is one of those films that is on par with the book. While I prefer Krakauer's book by a small margin, this was a great film to watch.
Emile Hirsch stars as Chris McCandless, bright Emory University graduate, who gives virtually all his possessions, donates his savings to Oxfam and "drop outs" of society to make his way to Alaska for a journey of self-discovery. Penn's film is filled with superb performances by everyone from Vince Vaughn and Katherine Keener to William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden. However, it is Hirsch in his portrayal of Chris and Hal Holbrooke in a remarkably deep and tender supporting role that really deliver stand out performances.
Both the cinematography and the soundtrack are unbelievable -- providing a stark and open feeling that complement each other. As Chris makes his way from the bustling urban city of Alaska to the remote environs of Alasaka, Penn creates the feel of a both a "road" and "wilderness" story without feeling like this is something we've seen before -- it had a unique and original gestalt to it.
There are two critiques that I have of the movie: (1) Penn's movie makes a stronger statement about the role of McCandless' upbringing that led to his complete abandonment from his family. It certainly was not so explicitly addressed in Krakauer's book and the tension of this relationship provides for a more dramatic movie. (2) When McCandless is in cinder-block city, I felt the whole "romantic" interlude with the young teen singer was gratuitous and detracted from the story for me. I didn't feel we needed that encounter to further dramatize Chris' virtue and "self-control".
While I loved botht the book and this movie, they both leave me with an unsettled feeling. While many dismiss McCandless as naive and foolish, I felt both works led to a more troubled, nuanced sense of this young man. Certainly there was a naivete to him, but he also was a lost soul, struggling to find his way in the world -- seeminly unmoved by the increasingly material world -- and without a real kindred spirit as he searched for his identity and meaning. I was left with a sense of bewilderment that someone would make such a sudden and complete break from those who loved and cared about him -- and the fear and despair that this created with his loved ones. Whether Chris found himself and was truly at peace in the wild, we'll never know. His story, while tragic, certainly led to two amazing works of art. ...more info
- Quiet and touching
Quiet docu-drama about Christopher McCandless, a young kid who is searching for himself and where he belongs in the world. If this was done wrong, it the kid would have seemed like a whinny yuppie who needs a good slap. Instead it's done with tenderness and quiet grace, and you feel empathy and sympathy for him. Also has some nice scenes with the people he meets along his journey. Plus a strong soundtrack from Eddie Vedder that fits the mood of the movie perfectly....more info
- A Great True Story
I purchased the book as well as the movie from Amazon. I read the book first then shared it with my best friend, my daughter. She and her husband watched the movie first while I read the book. We all loved the movie and the book. It's sad, but very true. It gives the reader and watcher something to ponder about. We all decided that this is a definate must have for libraries of both book and video. I am so happy that I purchased both. I will watch it and read it again....more info
- Compelling story. Bravo, Sean Penn!!
I viewed this film last night and it is fresh in my mind. I thought about it a bit, read some other reviews good and bad. (This is my first Amazon movie review)... I did not read the book and knew nothing of this story till the movie opened in 2007. Finally got a copy and settled in. It moved me. Like many I'm sure, I couldnt fathom the intensity of Chris McCandless's pursuit of self reliance? or solitude? escape? what? Who knows what makes us all tick... What Sean Penn did was to take it to your solar plexus like a hard right. I am amazed when I ever watch a film or TV show and get emotionally involved. It happened this time. I felt a few hairs standing at the end, watching this man-child waste away. It was similar to stripping the gears on your car. A sound that tends to sicken. What a waste of a life, and yet it seemed to be the natural ending of a troubled soul. I'll see it again thats for sure....more info
- Way overrated!
What? So, we're supposed to feel sorry for this selfish boy who decides to take off abandoning family and friends and can't even call to tell them he's okay. On top of that he thinks it would be a great idea to go live in the wilds of Alaska without any knowledge of the environment or how brutal "living with nature" truly is. Sorry, I don't see the beauty in selfishness....more info
- Into the Wild
This is by far one of the best movies I have ever seen!
I believe I ordered this dvd "used", but it was practically band new & in perfect condition.
I am very pleased with my order...more info
- Lonely Traveler
Based on a true story from the writings of a young man who goes on a summer trip out west but does not return home, call or write to his family and basically drops out. The film opens in the remote alaska wilderness where he is living off the land, but shown in flashbacks is his adverturess journey through the west for two years of getting to that point. What makes the film work is the interesting people that he meets along the way and they are ones you will not soon forget. Beautifully photographed and directed, this personal drama is thoroughly enjoyable and a worthy purchase. ...more info