Sunday, March 14, 2010

Movie Review: Into The Wild

"I love not man the less, but Nature more." - Lord Byron

After many suggestions from commenters and friends and even strangers I finally got a hold of Into The Wild... only not in the book form but in the well done hollywood movie version. I know, people who have read the book say the movie is not as good but here goes my opinion....

This movie reduced me to raw emotion, tears, and gripped my attention right from the beginning - while I expected just to be watching a simple survivalist movie, I had no idea how much of Christopher Mccandless's family life was going to be included --- these modern family dilemmas and the parents living the suburban dream, plus using school and material wealth as their love language to encourage Chris for success were things that hit so close to home for me, I actually felt myself squirming uncomfortably right from the start. I was so drawn in, and am so close to his generation, concerns and struggles that I was his personal cheerleader from the beginning of the movie...
I understood the contrasts he saw, the acceptance he learned, the hardships, the fun, the realities of society, and I even understood why he would want to go out into the wilderness and be at peace. But I did not understand why he chose to go to Alaska (maybe the book explains this more?) - why he chose to show up in such harsh terrain with little to no training in survival? Surviving on the streets, dessert, farms, rural areas with other humans around is so different from the remote wilderness - nature does not choose favorites, nature is kind and harsh equally.
I had to really think about myself at 23 years old again, and how we feel, how we think we won't die, how we think we have all the details under control, how the greater risks are increased just by being the adult, and we choose greater adventures that we are drawn to cause finally no one can stop us.
I found his love to be penniless, his kindness to all people, and his willingness to try things he feared to be inspirational and poetically lived. Being penniless was not about being poor, but rather about freedom - he came from good money and had felt trapped, sometimes it takes sacrificing all that is at your fingertips in order to realize what you have never did control you in the first place - rich or poor, there are things to accept and appreciate.
He spends nearly the whole movie living out the realization of freedom (not realizing running away also is a type of trap) , and finally the end of this movie was redeeming, full circle ... but jesus christ it was so sad I could hardly sleep last night after watching it.

I would like to point out part of a quote Christopher had written (as his hitchhiking alter ego Alexander Supertramp) when he first arrived in the alaskan wilderness :
"No longer to be poisoned by civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild."
These words from him stuck out to me, because I relate and I see irony- poison is in nature too, and he finds that out. It seems at times nature is the kind one and man is cruel - but man is another piece of nature.
Where ever you are, it is how you live it, it is how you respect it, it is how you treat others... and 'others' are not just humans but every spec of life on earth. That is what this movie (this person's life) seemed to be about in the end.

PS--- here below are pictures of the Christopher McCandless (not the actor from the movie but the real person) on his adventures. There is no doubt in my mind I would have just loved this guy had I met him - just like everyone else did.


Anonymous said...

Were you always this cool, or did getting sick and losing everything bring you to your present level of blissful enlightenment?

Lou Cheese said...

At one time I thought if I went on disability I go down to Slab City and try to live there, just like the protagonist did for a while. It would be the only place I could afford to live.

But then I looked it up on a map and saw that it is downwind of San Diego and Tijuana.

So much for that idea.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Hey Anonymous...
I dont think I am blissfully enlightened (especially when i have a sugar crash after eating just a small piece of gluten free cake and i start to cry)... but *ehem* there is nothing like some major loss and illness to really speed up all those processes we go through as humans. Those tragedies that teach us lessons that make our life better later on. Easier maybe.
In essence. I dont know. I will ask someone. ;)

Lou Cheese -
Did you read the book or watch the movie or both?
Shoot, did you do a air check on Slab City, like you do wit' Madison and Cleveland.... maybe it's still better? Everything is better then Cleveland air right? :)

Lou Cheese said...

Just find Slab City on Google Earth/Maps and zoom out a couple of notches. The picture is worth a 1,000 words (or coughs as far as I'm concerned). It's a shame, I think I'd get along well with the City's crazy characters, as well as the creativity and common sense that the extreme conditions require, if not inspire, with the local population.

Sadly, the nearby Salton Sea also suffers from decades-long and continuing agricultural runoff from the surrounding areas, and if there's one thing that Cleveland taught me, it's that pollution has a way of sticking around and hurting the earth and its people long after it is introduced into the environment. That and the fact that Cleveland is the worst city in the world. So in comparison, maybe Slab City isn't so bad.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Mr Cheese -

Slab city is in California right (google didn't want to recognize it? I tried google mapping it and got Slab Cities in NY and other weird states, that didn't seem close to Tijuana...

That link though took me to some bad ass crafty pictures of what people have done in slab city though.

PS_ i think all the paint they use around there would kill you long before the pollution blow over. ;)

Lou Cheese said...

Just look for Niland, California and go a couple of miles to the east. It isn't much to look at from the perspective of a satellite.

What I don't get is it has a hot spring that's basically a hole in the ground. Why not divert it into a shower or hot tub? And with the constant run-off of water, you could irrigate the ground and grow crops year round. And it would be 100% natural, too. They could even do a Slab City style Roman fountain, with statues made out of salvaged materials and trinkets.

The world needs more engineers.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Hey Cheese...

where i am moving in Hot Springs NC, there are actual hot springs (not on my land, i wish they were though).

In Hot Springs NC they have piped the hot water into hot tubs for people to take healing mineral baths in. :)
I am not sure if they use it for other stuff too, but i bet they do. I mean how awesome would that be, no need for hot water heaters, or even a solar hot water heater... it would already be piping hot 24/7!

Lou Cheese said...

I just found out the old army base where Slab City is located has a deserted swimming pool.

Natural hot springs + swimming pool = World's largest hot tub.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Lou -

Ya would think the vagabonds and hippies would have already thought of this idea...
I wonder if there is something preventing them from doing it.

I would love to swim in a pool of hot mineral water!!!!!!

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The Wild ones said...

I haven't seen the movie yet but I heard a lot of feedback from friends. It was great according to them.