Don’t Watch ‘The Grey’

When I saw the trailer for Liam Neeson’s latest film, “The Grey,” I was immediately enraged by what I saw. Wolves in the wild, tearing people limb from limb in the snow? Are you kidding me? Do filmmakers not have an ounce of compassion in their bodies these days?

“The Grey” is a completely inaccurate and despicable portrayal of wolves. I absolutely abhor everything this movie does to portray wolves in the wild, as it completely goes against every single conservation effort that has been done to raise awareness of wolves not being the bloodthirsty beasts that media portrays them to be.

In fact, wolves are more likely to shy away from humans than they are to attack them. They have absolutely no interest in wanting to hunt or attack stranded humans in the woods. Why would they want to kill and eat bony and starving human beings with hardly any meat on them when there are other animals out there that they hunt?

Oh yeah, because it would be cool for Liam “Where’s My Daughter?” Neeson to kill a bunch of them on screen to attract testosterone-fueled men in their next fix of terrible action movie crap.

Sure, I haven’t seen this movie (and I don’t plan on supporting such cinema, for which the directors and writers should be ashamed of themselves for), and I’m sure they try to weave in some backstory about Neeson’s character’s family or something or other (wouldn’t that be a big surprise?). While this is all to be expected from an action movie trying to be something that it’s not, it doesn’t make up for the fact that its portrayal of wolves is simply one of ignorance in favor of making a quick buck.

To make things even worse, the producer of “The Grey” informed PETA that they would only be using computer-generated graphics to portray the wolves in their film.

According to PETA’s website, “Director Joe Carnage — oh, excuse me … Carnahan — ordered wolf carcasses flown in for the cast so that the actors would ‘have a sense of the movie we were making.’”

The meat was reportedly purchased from a trapper, meaning that it’s extremely likely that the wolves in the question suffered in the traps before they were finally killed.

This begs the question: What in the hell does eating wolf meat have anything to do with playing a role where one is fighting them off in the wilderness? I’m pretty sure the actors in more recent “Godzilla” films didn’t have to eat a bunch of Komodo dragons to prepare for their roles.

PETA’s website also makes another good point — “‘The Grey’ portrays these intelligent, family-oriented animals the same way in which ‘Jaws’ portrays sharks.”

According to Maggie Howell, managing director of America’s Wolf Conservation Center, “Wolves don’t hunt humans — they actually shy away from them.”

What’s truly upsetting as well is that this movie came out during a time when wolves are literally fighting for their lives. They have just been removed from the Endangered Species List and are being reintroduced to areas that have been uninhabited by wolves for years.

Carnahan has defended himself, telling the blog Greenspace, “I never intended [the wolves] to be the aggressor; I look at them as the defenders. I think these guys are in a very territorially sensitive place. [The humans] were trespassing and intrud[ing].”

OK, sure. Remind me what that has to do with purchasing trapped wolf carcasses and using them to get your actors in character somehow?

Case in point, don’t go see “The Grey” if there’s any ounce of compassion for animals in your heart. Supporting these types of films with your money is only material encouragement to filmmakers to keep making movies where inaccurate portrayals of nature’s most beautiful animals are rampant on screen, translating into “Jaws”-like fear.

Even if you’re not an animal lover or could care less about wolves and their plight, I urge you to think critically of films of this nature and be aware of their inaccuracies. It’s our responsibility as (hopefully) intelligent human beings when it comes to being conscious of such things.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — don’t watch “The Grey.” But if you absolutely must, know the implications of the film and its message; the wolves are depending on it.

 

Zachary Risinger is a third-year English major. He can be reached at zrisinge@uci.edu.