NEVER CRY WOLF (1983)

TMG Scale 8.0
Starring Charles Martin Smith (The Untouchables (1987) and American Graffiti (1973)) and our buddy Brian Dennehy —the man you could not make a movie without in the 1980’s.

This film is a bit reminiscent of Dances with Wolves (1990). It’s a story about man and wolf. The difference is the setting of Alaska versus South Dakota. Kevin Costner by mere chance as Lt Dunbar trying to make a friend in the remote wilderness. In this film,  Tyler (Smith) also sent by the government, but sent to “meet” the wolves and see what they have been up to.

This is based on a true story that many decades ago,  the federal government assumed that the disappearing herds of caribou in Alaska was due to the menace of too many wolves eating their numbers to near extinction. It was just another stupid and baseless  federal government theory like low flow toilets, that the TSA will make us safer and that we can spend our way to economic prosperity. This movie explores the fact that science can postulate anything, but you need a man on the ground to go check out the theory. Some theories just don’t pan out.  In the process, man learns something about himself. Alone for months on end, Tyler becomes very introspective and seems to appreciate the similarities between man and wolf may be closer than he once thought.  Lt. Dunbar would agree.

Wolves are a bit mystical. They appear like warm and fuzzy dog—just with a bad rap sheet.  Truth is they are scavengers and a far cry from your average Labrador. We blame them for everything from disease to the disappearance of Little Red Riding Hood. But they are an interesting breed of animal and certainly misunderstood. We seem a bit more than naturally preoccupied by them. Wolves played a major theme in many movies in Hollywood this past year from The Twighlight Saga: Eclipse (2010) to Season of the Witch (2010) to The Way Back (2011). A more recent film, The Fourth Kind (2009) was shot in an around Nome, Alaska featured another Dr. Tyler in a close encounter film. The encounter was with aliens. I mention this out no relevance at all, it is merely curious. Hey…it’s the movies!

Part of what makes this film enjoyable, if not downright captivating, is the Alaskan scenery. TMG has traveled there many times and I assure you, no film can do it justice. Space is not the final frontier—Alaska is. The fact that people and animals have survived all all, let alone in some sort of harmony there  is a bit hard to really comprehend. Films like this will make you stop and pause in pure wonder of the planet earth, the amazing intelligence of the animal kingdom and mans inability to yet it explain it all. Al Gore should have seen this film before he made up another stupid and boneheaded federal government theory like global warming. The fact is the earth has natural cycles. Glaciers form and glaciers recede. Wolves come, wolves go and wolves adapt. So do caribou. Men will be wise to learn from the lone wolves. After all, lawyers have insured their survival by learning from sharks.

Rent this film tonight and just savor it. Laugh, sigh maybe even cry a bit. But never cry wolf.


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