The Grey

The Grey (2011)

“It’s an Idea. I didn’t say it’s a good one.”

This movie is just bad. I’ve seen a lot of stupid movies in my time, films like Dude, Where’s My Car or  Crank, or countless others. The thing is these movies normally know they’re stupid, and they embrace the stupidity and make the most of what they are. But once in a while you come across a movie that doesn’t realize that it’s stupid. A movie, that in fact, thinks it might even be a be profound or meaningful. A movie like The Grey starring Liam Neeson. Before I get going on the stupidity of this flick, I want to take a moment to point out that Liam Neeson does a pretty good job and it’s not his fault the movie sucks. He’s basically playing the same character he played in Taken, (which by the way was a movie that realized how stupid it was, despite being far far less stupid than today’s stinker,)  except this time he’s a bad-ass hunter/sniper rather than an all-around CIA bad-ass. This is perfectly fine, I liked Taken and would enjoy seeing that same character again. Too bad it had to be in this illogical waste of time. My goal for this blog is to generally be spoiler-free when writing these reviews, but this might get a bit spoilery in here so….


Now apparently most critics who disliked this movie didn’t like the slow character-revealing parts and the rather abrupt ending. I find this odd because, for me at least, those were the best parts. I disliked this movie because most of it just doesn’t make any damn sense. Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe it’s because I know a little bit about wilderness survival. Maybe it’s because I know that you can’t take in the slack AFTER a line goes taunt. Maybe it’s because I know the first thing about how animals work, or how the NTSB works, or how guns work, or how gravity works, or how rivers work, that I couldn’t ignore the fact that the people involved in making this movie clearly don’t. The first thing that started ringing my stupidity alarm was the bafflingly bad strategy that Neeson’s Ottway chooses to follow. I mean, he’s basically responsible for killing everyone that survived the crash. Here’s a tip, if you’re ever in a plane crash like this one staying with the plane would be a pretty good strategy. You’ve got food, you’ve got shelter, you’ve got fire, and plenty of combustible material, and the plane is this big  hunk of reflective metal with rescue transponders and which is probably directly along the line of wherever it was heading when it fell off radar. Barring an all-out blizzard the FAA, NTSB and a host of other organizations would be on top of that thing in two days max even if the evil oil company the passengers all worked for somehow dragged their feet because some how that would enable them to save on payroll. Worried about predators, you’re better off holed up in a fuselage where you’re protected on three sides, and only have to find a way to plug up the fourth side at night. Rather than heading to the woods, because you think wolves are… I don’t know… afraid of trees or something.

Now I get it, maybe the characters just made a bad decision, maybe expert hunter John Ottoway expert on wolf anthropology doesn’t know the first thing about wilderness survival. Besides if they don’t leave the plane you don’t have much of  a movie. So there is that.  If that were the end of the stupidity I might be able to forgive it. But it’s not the end, it’s only the beginning.  Lets talk about the wolves in this movie. These aren’t really wolves as exist on earth, these were cliched Hollywood movie monsters. For a while I tried pretending that this movie was set in an alternate universe where a race of intelligent aliens that happened to look a bit like Earth’s wolves had been stranded on Earth for some time, long enough to regress to a tribal level, and that, because they looked like wolves, the humans just started calling them that. If that were true it might explain the behavior of the animals in the film. I get that wolves are apex predators with a rather complex social hierarchy enabling impressive pack hunting. But these things seem to have a full-fledged tribal society and appear to be hunting the crash survivors for sport. It’s really strange to see in a movie that’s trying to be serious and intellectual. Also, the wolves can apparently teleport. I say this because it is made clear that it’s supposed to be the same pack of wolves harassing the survivors the whole way. In the ridiculous cliff scene the survivors have to get down the cliffs because the wolves are behind them, preventing them from going back. So they do this ridiculous plan, get down the cliff, and BOOM wolves waiting at the bottom! It’s beyond stupid. I could go on about a half dozen other stupid things in this movie, but the bottom line is this: The Grey is a stupid movie that doesn’t know it’s  a stupid movie. This makes it a bad movie. It is bereft of both joy and logic. I seriously wanted to stop watching about half-way through, but I decided to stick it through for the sake of this blog. One movie… each day, sometimes it’s gonna hurt.

[The Grey (2011) – Director: Joe Carnahan – Rated R for violence/disturbing content including bloody images, and for pervasive language]

OM|ED Rating: Avoid Seeing