Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wild: Stupid CGI Fox

The GZA and I saw Wild. It was pretty not-good. Not terribly bad, but also not good.

There were only a few awful lines of dialogue that reeked of trite Oprah-esque 'live your best life' platitudes, so I wasn't exactly repulsed by anything, but I didn't get drawn in by anything either. Visually, the movie wasn't terribly impressive--it was largely filmed in central/eastern Oregon instead of on the actual PCT, and I could tell. The CGI fox also sucked. How hard is it to train a fox to stand there and stare at you for 20 seconds before running away? That's what every fox I've ever seen did without any training, so I can't imagine training one would be that much more expensive than crappy CGI. Anyway, you shouldn't visually expect Brokeback, or Sweetgrass, or Into the Wild.

Story-wise, I actually like the book more than the movie. You got to know more characters, and became more invested in their story. Both the book and the movie are told non-linearly through flashbacks. In the book you had time to care, but not in the movie. Oh, you got hooked on heroin and cheated on your husband a bunch and your father was abusive, but got over those problems in under two minutes each? I'm not so invested.

Also, inspiration does not strike you as you are walking the last 100 yards of a long hike. Sorry if that leaves you without an easy voiceover for the last minute of your movie.

I am of course biased by my having read the book and hiked the PCT. I often dislike movies based on books and complain about the differences if I've read the book too recently, and I'm obviously going to be pretty particular about a PCT-memoir. But generally I enjoy hiking movies even if I know they're not great (e.g. The Way Back, The Way, Tracks). I'm surprised Wild has a 92 on Rotten Tomatoes. I'd give it a B-, and after trying to account for my biases, I'd expect it to have around an 80 on RT. I don't think Reese Witherspoon's acting was Oscar-worthy, but Laura Dern did a very good job playing her mother.

Because I'm a sucker, I did tear up at a scene with this song, though:


  1. Thanks for clearing up my question about the fox- I was pretty sure it was CGI, but did a Google search to confirm and found your blog. So, yes, it did pretty much fool me (and completely fooled the person I saw the movie with) so I have to respectfully disagree that the CGI was completely horrible. The thing that gave me pause was that the eyes/ expression on the fox' face was kind of weird and somehow off.

  2. Definitely a film worth watching and I'm glad I purchased it vs renting because I know I will watch it again. A little off sequence from the book but it does a good job of trying to capture the essence of the original story. I think a couple of the sexual scenes could have been replaced with other areas of the story that better served the narrative.

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