Joe Carnahan's survival thriller "The Grey" hit theaters this past weekend. The film, starring Liam Neeson and Dermot Mulroney, focuses on a group of plane crash survivors attempting to make their way through the wilderness of Alaska while being systematically hunted by ravenous wolves. It was number one at the box office, but did it live up to audience and critical expectations?
Most critics found "The Grey" satisfying. NPR's Ian Buckwalter reported, "'The Grey' has a certain muscular pull: It's a tough-as-nails study of hardened men struggling with the ostensibly conflicting pulls of stoic masculinity on one hand and love, faith and fear of death on the other." Joe Leydon of Variety wrote, "Impressively lensed by Masanobu Takayanagi on aptly rugged terrain in British Columbia, 'The Grey' is thoroughly persuasive in its depiction of desperate men battling unforgiving elements." Slate's Dana Stevens commented, "'The Grey' is at heart a simple moral fable about how true heroism consists in helping other human beings to live as long and die as well as they can."
There were a few reviewers unimpressed with the film. Globe and Mail's Liam Lacey stated, "The clichés of character and dialogue drag it struggling to ground." Claudia Puig of USA Today commented, "[It] becomes tedious, forced and far-fetched." The Associated Press's Jake Coyle said, "Ultimately, the film feels less like a genuine existential thriller than a movie aping the conventions of one."
The majority of audiences members loved the movie. Kase V. said, "There is a lot to appreciate. The camera work is brilliantly … done and keeps the viewer very enthralled ... It may be the best thing you'll see all January, so make the most of it." Everett J. stated, "A great way to start out 2012. This film literally has it all. There are laughs, action, thrills, and moments that will bring you close to tears. This is an absolute must see!"
Monique L. related, "This movie had me at the edge of my seat. While we don't have much background on everyone, the little bit that we find out as the movie progresses allows us to care about them and the incredible odds they are trying to overcome ... one [movie] that will stick with you for a while."
Some moviegoers felt "The Grey" missed its mark. Jacob G. complained, "The whole metaphor of wolves stalking their prey like death stalks each and every one of us is interesting, but unfortunately doesn't mesh well with other ideas in the movie. This is already one of the worst movies of 2012." John A. said, "Clearly there wasn't enough money invested in this film. The wolves looked fake, the fight scenes with the wolves happened too fast (or they didn't show them at all), and it lost its suspenseful grip on the crowd about half-way through. Thumbs straight down." Regina M. stated, "Love Liam ... hated this movie. So depressing and images hard to shake. Not one happy moment."
Family entertainment website Movieguide.org reported, "'The Grey' is an intense tale of survival and life or death issues, with strong Christian, redemptive elements of faith and prayer. However, its pervasive foul language and scary battles with wolves warrant extreme caution. Everything about it is beautifully shot and harrowingly presented."
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Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Gerard Butler, Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.
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