Sunday, January 31, 2016

Movie Review -- The Revenant

The star of "The Revenant" and Leonardo di Caprio.

The Revenant depicts a group of early 19th century North American terrorists on a mission to kill as many innocent woodland creatures as possible. The American cell is led by a rogue military officer, but the mastermind is Glass, the intelligence expert, (played by Leonardo di Caprio, wasted in a supporting role.)

The movie doesn't take off until a heavily armed Glass threatens two grizzly Bear cubs out for a walk in the woods with their mother. Protecting her cubs, she heroically ignores Glass's rifle and charges him. After much (but not enough, as it turns out) biting, clawing, shaking, and head-stomping, she breaks off her attack, and actually kisses Glass, as if to say, "I don't want to kill you, just please don't do anything to my babies."

She retires, but is forced to renew the attack when a relentless Glass once again raises his rifle and threatens to kill her. She charges again, but is shot by Glass. Expending her last bit of strength she tries to finish him off, but, tragically, dies right before the eyes of her horrified cubs.

This is a sad, but exciting ten-minute movie crammed into nearly three hours. With the main character knocked off shortly after the movie starts, what the viewer is left with is a pointless and tedious two-and-a-half-hours of a badly mauled Glass eating gross things, and defying hypothermia by floating down icy rivers and crawling over snow. There are some Indians, and some rival French terrorists. The Bear admits to dozing.

It would be as if Luke Skywalker was killed by Imperial Stormtroopers fifteen minutes into Star Wars, followed by an hour and a half of Jawas scavenging junk.

The Bear does have some professional nits to pick.

They obviously wanted the bear attack sequence to last several minutes and be horrifying. But for reasons known only to the writers, they also wanted Leonardo di Bear Bait to survive. This led to the poor CGI Fake Bear being asked to act completely stupid. Here's just one example. (The Bear doesn't want to get too graphic.) The CGI Fake Bear had plenty of opportunities to rip Glass's lower jawbone off. Nothing takes the fight out of someone like that. (Not that yours truly would know.) But then the Bear supposes they couldn't write any dialogue for Leonardo di Caprio after that, except, "Aarrrgh ow."

Also, without disclosing spoilers, Leonardo di Caprio should get together with Mel "The Patriot" Gibson and learn what you can do with a tomahawk at 10 yards.

The Revenant is overlong and under-Bear. The Bear gives it 1/5 fish for the impressive CGI Fake Bear. Definitely not worth having to sit through the trailer for Michael Moore's new movie.


  1. The book, as usual is better. The author pieced together existing fragments, legends and anecdotes to present a best guess of what actually happened. The Glass character led one of the most interesting, quintisential American lives on record. Just swallowed up by time, so most have never heard of him until now. WELL worth the read.

    You may be interested to know that Glass was raised by a prominent attorney in Baltimore, who wished his son to enter the legal profession with him. Instead, he ran away, chose the life of the sea at age 14, was captured by pirates in the Caribbean, and after escaping, ultimately became an elite western explorer.

    Also, the bear scene you describe has little to do with reality. The book's depiction is brief, powerful and far more likely o be true.

  2. Thanks. A reason not to see any Hollywood movie is always welcome

  3. Why did he want to kill baby bears? He deserved the mauling. Thanks--definitely going to avoid this movie.

    Seattle kim

    1. He was actually hunting deer for his group of trappers back at the camp site when the "baby" bears came out of the brush. According to the book, he knew he was doomed as soon as he saw them since he knew "momma" bear was sure to follow.

      He then had about 3 seconds to raise his rifle and aim, from the moment he saw her appear, then charge, to impact. The actual shot was point blank, and it was fatal to her. She mauled him as she lay dying on top of him.

      In our days of buying meat in a neat little red package at the local Grocery it is hard to imagine what it is like to survive in the wilderness like that. It is what makes this story so compelling to me.


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