I didn’t realize my connection to “Into the Wild”, a film adaptation of the bestselling non-fiction book of the same name until after I finished watching it. For those of you that haven’t heard of the film, it is an exhilarating tale of the adventures of Christopher McCandless, a college grad having majored in history and anthropology. After graduation he ignores the norm (beginning his career), donates most of his savings to charity, and sets out on an adventure to find himself; much in the same fashion Henry David Thoreau did when he attended Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s property inspiring his works titled ‘Walden‘. What transpires is deeply engraving.
At the time the movie was showing in theaters I couldn’t find anyone that was available to go see it with me, mostly because there were other movies of higher interest to the persons I attend the theaters with. When I first saw the previews for the movie “Into the Wild” months ago, it piqued my heaviest interest being an Eagle Scout (with merit badges including Wilderness Survival and Camping), and an experienced backpacker. Though I’ve found RottenTomatoes to be unreliable for most of my “gems of film making” of recent years, they scored this film an 83% giving it a ‘Fresh’ rating. Thanks to NetFlix, who recently added the film to their available titles, I had a chance to sit down and enjoy “Into the Wild” on my own time without leaving the comfort of my own living room.
The story as told by the screenplay is not in sequential order, and actually starts his Alaskan quest fairly quickly into the movie. Though usually this annoys me, it was very appropriate for this tale and provided me with a nearly instant interest in the development of the story.
The story as told by the screenplay is probably the closest to home to my innermost storyteller could ever come up with. Christopher grew up in Annandale, Virginia located in Fairfax County (the same county of Springfield, Virginia where I grew up). Then attended college at Emory University in Atlanta, GA (where I attended Georgia Institute of Technology). Though, I didn’t finish college and didn’t have a rocky childhood with a home filled with spousal abuse and emotional disturbances. He decides to abandon the expectations of his parents, turns down graduation gifts, severs communication with his sister (a very close family member), and set out on his adventure.
Along the way he provides comfort and companionship to a variety of characters, delivering his philosophy welcomed quickly by some and slowly by others. For a lot of his trek to the Alaskan frontier he hitchhikes and crosses paths with a vagabond couple, healing their relationship with each other as a result of their meeting. He comes across a young musically-gifted female who takes a romantic interest in him, only to be left broken-hearted when he leaves to continue on his trek; though my words don’t paint the picture as nicely as the story is told. His last acquaintance is a Korean War Veteran and widower, who by the end of their short-lived relationship is left with a lasting impression of the younger generation. I was touched deeply by their parting of ways, both of them seemed to be heroes at the time.
When he finally makes it to the Alaskan frontier, he manages to come across an abandoned bus previously used for a shelter which he titles the “Magic Bus”. Once settled in and cleaned up, this is where he takes notes, creates poetry, insights, and develops his philosophy to fit the solitary lifestyle he has begun. He quickly realizes that his organization skills need to be put to use in order to make his lifestyle last. In between reading and writing, he sets exploration goals for himself, blazes trails, and hunts for food with a scoped .22 caliber rifle. He verifies his own strengths and finds his weaknesses. He is happy and miserable with various turns of events. Overall, you begin to identify with his character and ultimately are cheering him on for success. Although the story ends tragically, it tells the story of a great person and will be life changing for some viewers.
Excellent screenplay, character development, minor plot twists, and scenic photography play into what may become this generation’s greatest adventure story. I only wish more of Christopher’s works had been made possible. Other people I’ve asked that have actually seen the film have enjoyed it very much and I was even questioned “Made you want to quit work, huh?”. Though parts of it did have me pondering what it would be like to leave my life and society and venture out on my own with no definite plans or real goals beyond learning more about myself, ideally I could never bring myself to do it solo. I’m very happy with my family, friends, and coworkers and couldn’t bring myself to leave the settlement I find myself in even as restricting as it sometimes is.
I highly recommend this film to add to your queue of “movies I need to see” if to at least get a little insight on the true freedoms of solidarity. Look forward to more Movie Reviews by me in the future.