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Review: Never Cry Wolf

Old 06-08-00, 10:26 PM
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In early 1984, when I was of the ripe old age of 12, I went to the theater with my parents with no intention of seeing a movie with them. They were going to see some other film that I had no interest in seeing. My desire was to see Footloose, which was the most talked-about film of the time, at least among adolescents.

Oh, how my heart sank when I was informed that Footloose had sold out. What was I to do? I didn't want to see what my parents were seeing but the only other film with the same approximate starting time and that was not R-rated was some film I'd never heard of; Never Cry Wolf. Woeful to the extreme, I ventured into the theater in what I predicted then would be 90 minutes of killing time until my parents' movie was over and I could go home and play Atari. Was I ever wrong.

Never Cry Wolf tells of the true-life adventures of Canadian biologist and author Farley Mowat, who was commissioned by the Canadian government to travel to the Arctic Circle and study wolves and is based on Mowat’s book of the same name. The purpose of his expedition was to prove that they were responsible for the recent depletions in the caribou population. In addition to learning a lot about arctic wolves (including, naturally, that the government's caribou-wolf theory is complete bunkum), he also learns a lot about nature, the Inuit, and himself. Never Cry Wolf is directed by Carroll Ballard (The Black Stallion, Fly Away Home) and stars Charles Martin Smith, an actor whose face and voice almost any movie fan would recognize immediately, but whose name most would not be able to come up with, and also features Brian Dennehy. The film is not quite a one-man show, but seems that way at times.

A film like Never Cry Wolf would flounder without a very strong performance from its leading actor. Smith delivers magnificently in this role. For many stretches of the film, Smith acts only against Inuit that speak little to no English, wolves, or just the barren Arctic landscape itself. His character’s voiceovers are well-placed, often humorous, and usually insightful.

Never Cry Wolf has a lot to say, if we listen, especially about man’s interaction with nature. I did eventually see Footloose, but in the long run its impact pales in comparison.

(out of 4)

The DVD possesses no extras and features a 1.85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen transfer. Despite this, the video presentation is very good. Sound comes from a rich Dolby 2.0 transfer.

"He said, 'Good idea'".

Old 06-08-00, 10:49 PM
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I really wish this would have had some extra features, like a commentary from C.M. Smith but I liked seeing it again. The transfer okay but not great as I recall.
Old 06-09-00, 06:28 AM
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Good Job JustinS.

This is one terrific movie. The DVD is bare bones with a decent (at best, non-anamorphic) transfer but the content really makes up for it. I would easily recommend this film.


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Old 06-15-00, 05:51 PM
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Thought I would bump this up and see if I could inspire any further discussion on this film.


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