Monday, March 3, 2008

Into the Wild DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Ill-Fated Back to Nature Tale Released on DVD

When he graduated from Emory University in 1992, Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) was a gifted student-athlete with a promising future. However, he had by then become so enamored of back-to-nature enthusiast Jack London and of anarchist Henry David Thoreau that he decided to head into the wilderness alone to pursue a non-material path of contemplation.
So, thumbing his nose at the suburban comforts he was accustomed to, this amateur outdoorsman gave away all of his earthly possessions donated his entire $24,000 in savings to charity before hitchhiking to Alaska to live off the land. Unfortunately, he forgot to prepare properly for his ill-advised adventure, foolishly failing to take sufficient basic provisions along. As a result, he died of starvation less four months later, and his body was discovered within walking distance of rescue.
At the time of his passing, he was ridiculed by locals fed up with this familiar city slicker phenomenon, because if Chris had simply brought a map or a compass or enough food with him, he could easily have found his way back to civilization. For the closest road was nearby and there were even rescue cabins in the area stocked with rations and emergency supplies.
Thus, it’s no surprise that the newspaper reported that “Many Alaskans reacted with rage to his stupidity. You’d have to be a complete idiot to die of starvation [here] in summer.” Nonetheless, the late Mr. McCandless’ ordeal would become the subject of a sympathetic best-seller by Jon Krakauer.
And by the time it was adapted into a movie by Sean Penn, Chris had been transformed into a full-blown, folk hero. Instead of serving up a cautionary tale, Penn has opted for a hyper-romanticized adventure which bears little resemblance to what really transpired. The upshot is thoroughly entertaining Hollywood fare which holds up a dope as a person deserving of admiration.
Delusional hippie heaven, dude!

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for profanity and nudity.
In English and Danish with subtitles.
Running time: 148 minutes
Studio: Paramount Home Video
2-Disc DVD Extras: Theatrical trailer and a couple of featurettes

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