I spent most of The Grey wondering why Liam had the muzzle of his rifle in his mouth for so much of this movie. That’s when I realized that this was his nose.
Hey wait a minute, this is a survival adventure! If it’s a survival adventure I want I’ll watch Lindsay Lohan dodge paparazzi on TMZ!
And it’s a survival adventure in the farthest reaches of Alaska, where the only females are female wolves and female flashbacks and even flashbacks of female wolves.
By the way, did you know that in color theory “grey” is lighter than “gray”? And The Grey’s palette runs from grey to gray, with the occasional fingers turning blue.
Liam is is the oldest-ever member of an Alaskan oil drilling team. He boards a tiny plane in bad weather, and everybody’s bad weather air travel nightmare comes true when the plane ditches and Liam and a band of survivors must battle the elements and the hungry wolves until they reach civilization or the two-hour mark, whichever comes first.
“The odds of our band’s survival would be better if we actually were the band Survivor,” said Liam, “whose big hit ‘Eye of the Tiger’ has survived 30 years longer than any hungry wolf would ever allow.”
“I thought that Duran Duran song ‘Hungry like the Wolf’ was just an expression,” said one member of Liam’s crew as he was being scarfed up by one of our hungry four-footed friends.
“Wry to the end,” lamented Liam.
So here they are, stuck in the bitter cold, alone, amidst dozens of hungry predators. “I don’t see this movie ending well,” said a member of Liam’s tribe, “unless the wolves start talking to each other with the voices of Ian McKellen and Jeremy Irons.”
“You don’t suppose this is all an Andy Serkis motion-capture dream, do you?”
“Well,” said Liam, “that one wolf over there does seem to be walking like he’s on his way to the pub for a pint.”
So five minutes go by and somebody says “let’s build a fire.” Because every five minutes somebody says “let’s build a fire.” I don’t know who fire’s agent is but I’ll have the first-look deal he’s having.
So around the fire, our heroes tell stories of their various triumphs, such as the one about the “53-year-old, 250 pound hooker,” who, we’re led to understand, was at least a woman. “That’s twice the triumph if valued as two 26-year-old 125 pound hookers,” notes Liam.
This is followed by one blinding-white scene after another. It’s where we learn that wolves have a kill range of 30 miles, and Liam and company never seem to be more than 29 miles away.
“I survived Julia Roberts – I should be able to survive this,” said Liam. “I played Zeus, for God’s sake,” he added in the ultimate mixed metaphor.
Invariably, it’s time for a tightrope climb over a cliff. Liam et. al. dangle over a very scary blue screen.
“This screen is as captivating as Scarlett Johansson’s blue eyes,” said one survivor.
“Hey, look at my eyes – these are the eyes of an actor who can open a movie,” said Liam, quite rightly.
Once back on the ground, Liam sets out to gather up the wallets of his fallen comrades. “I know my timing is bad, but I want to create an art collage,” he says. “Maybe the wolves will stick it on a pole outside their lair instead of my head.”
All joking aside, The Grey is a really good movie, especially given its genre and its release date. I wouldn’t call it the “feel-good movie of the year” unless the sight of wolves having dinner makes you feel good. But The Grey will stay with you long after the credits roll.