Blu-ray Disc Review: Into the Wild

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Into the Wild
Paramount Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Review By Jerry Rutledge

Into the Wild is based on the spirited, true live story of Christopher McCandles (Emile Hirsch), who graduated from Emory University in 1992 and, rather than go to law school, burned his social security card and went on a path of self-exploration across the West and ultimately met his end in the wilds of Alaska.  I recommend it to those whom enjoy films dealing with self-exploration and travel.

The movie is a celebration of freedom and the natural beauty of the great outdoors of United States – Mr. McCandles travels take him through the amber grains of the bread belt, down the rapids of the Colorado river and the Grand Canyon, through the Nevada desert to the giant redwood trees of California and the Pacific Ocean.  The movie’s cinematography is stunningly preserved on Blu-ray Disc.™

The film celebrates the wonderful character’s Chris meets along the way – older flower children, Jan (Catherine Keener) and Rainey (Brian Dierker); the raunchy grain dealer wanted by the law, Wayne Westerberg (Vince Vaughn); the young singer with a crush on him, Tracy (Kristen Stewart); and Ron (Hal Holbrooke), the leatherworker who lost his wife and son in a car accident and wants to adopt Chris as his grandson.

But the movie is also about the tragedy of a haunted young man.  As indicated by narration in the film from Chris’ sister Carine (Jena Malone), Chris apparently left the home of his parents Walt (William Hurt) and Billie (Marcia Gay Harden) because of their bitterness toward each other and terrible fighting.  Chris memorizes and quotes lines from famous literary authors such as Emerson, Thoreau, and Jack London to seek to impress others.  Whenever he is engaged by another to share his life’s experiences, he ultimately chooses to run away.  Near the end he realizes his solitary love of nature and the wild must be shared with another to mean something.

The disc comes with two features.  “Into the Wild: The Story the Characters, the Characters” tells how author Jon Krakauer was drawn to write about Christopher McCandles, indicates how Sean Pean became involved as director of the film, and explains contributions by family members and friends of Chris McCandles to the story.  “Into the Wild:  The Experience” explains the movie making craft behind the film with interviews from director Sean Penn, the actors, the production designer and art directors, costume designer, production sound mixer, the editor and the producer.   The disc also contains the film’s theatrical trailer.

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