Posted by: Joe | October 23, 2007

So, what’s the big deal?

J.K. Rowling has pulled Dumbledore out of the closet. Now, I haven’t read the books, and I’ve only seen a couple of the movies, but from what I have seen, this doesn’t change how you interpret the character in any way, so who cares? It seems (to me) like a fairly transparent publicity ploy.

Now if she had outed him as a paedo, now *that’s* news.

.

This weekend I saw Into The Wild (imdb), Sean Penn’s interpretation of the John Krakauer novel chronicling the travels of Chris McCandless.  Many have made McCandless out to be a kind of modern-day transcendentalist hero, but I think those people have missed the point.

McCandless is no Thoreau, and Into The Wild is no Walden.

Instead of a trascendental state of mind, McCandless found only loneliness and death in the Alaskan wild.  At the end of his life, dying of starvation, McCandless realizes what everyone he has met on his journey have desperately tried to beat into his head:  “Happiness is only real when shared.”  Human relationships, the foundation of society that American Transcendentalism rejects, are the key to happiness.

Not some bullshit self-imposed solitude.  With limited food supplies.  And a torn road map stolen from a service station.  And no compass.  No axe. He died of starvation, in the middle of summer (in good weather), a mere 2 day hike from one of the primary Alaskan highways.  Moron.

Despite my disdain for McCandless’s arrogance, Penn creates a compelling tragedy from the story, and Emile Hirsch is outstanding as Chris.

Hirsch lost 40lbs from his 155lb frame for the role.  I feel your pain dude.

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Responses

  1. Oooh … I’ve been wanting to see that Penn movie. Good review!

  2. One other thing I forgot to mention–Eddie Vedder’s work on the soundtrack is fantastic. Definitely on my “albums to buy” list.


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