Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Into the Wild

So Paramount Pictures and Sean Penn have made a movie of Jon Krakauer's book Into the Wild. Swell. What an adventurous, inspiring trailer. What the trailer doesn't tell you is that the protagonist, Christopher McCandless, starved to death in the Alaskan summer because he didn't have a clue about what he was doing. I'll be the first to tell you that the outdoor equipment industry thrives on selling unnecessary equipment to people who don't need it and probably won't ever use it, and you can get by just fine in the wilderness with very little equipment if you know what you're doing, but you've got to know what you're doing. Judith Kleinfeld, in the Anchorage Daily News, wrote: "[McCandless] walked into the wilderness with no map, no ax, no mosquito repellent and no first aid equipment. . . . Many Alaskans react with rage to his stupidity. You'd have to be a complete idiot, they say, to die of starvation in summer 20 miles off the Parks Highway." I'm hoping the film doesn't just tell the story from Chris's perspective, but also deals with how his decisions affected those who cared about him, and how his legacy continues to inspire and misguide people today.

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