A WALK IN THE WOODS
In this new comedy adventure,
celebrated travel writer, Bill Bryson (Academy Award winner
Robert Redford), instead of retiring to enjoy his loving and
beautiful wife (Academy Award winner Emma Thompson), and
large and happy family, challenges himself to hike the
Appalachian Trail - 2,200 miles of America’s most unspoiled,
spectacular and rugged countryside from Georgia to Maine.
The peace and tranquility he hopes to find, though, is
anything but, once he agrees to being accompanied by the
only person he can find willing to join him on the trek -
his long lost and former friend Katz (Academy Award nominee
Nick Nolte), a down-on-his-luck serial philanderer who,
after a lifetime of relying on his charm and wits to keep
one step ahead of the law – sees the trip as a way to sneak
out of paying some debts and sneak into one last adventure
before its too late. The trouble is, the two have a
completely different definition of the word, "adventure".
Now they're about to find out that when you push yourself to
the edge, the real fun begins.
REVIEW: At first
glance, 'A Walk in the Woods' can appear to be
anticlimactic, but taking a step back, you realize that the
story is actually more true to life than most of the
exaggerated storytelling of the film industry. An older
audience would be more appreciative of this film, being able
to relate to the experience of getting older, entering
retirement, and wondering "is this really it?"
Bryson is a writer who is dissatisfied with the prospect of
spending his retirement learning about his friends' deaths,
attending their funerals, and waiting for his. So he gets an
idea to hike the Appalachian Trail. Despite all protests
from his wife, he embarks on his adventure, having met her
criteria of doing it with a friend. It is quite entertaining
to watch Bill and his friend, Katz, probably two of the
oldest and most unlikely "hikers", attempting the famous
trek from Georgia to Maine. The adventure is much more than
they bargained for -- snow storms, falling into rivers, and
even bears! And let's not forget the other perky,
happy-go-lucky hikers showing up Bill and Katz's
deficiencies and causing their manhood to shrink.
turning point happens when Bill and Katz get stuck on the
edge of a cliff, with no way to get back up to the trail.
Under the stars, contemplating their fate and life, they
both realize what they miss. For Bill, his wife and family:
For Katz, his hometown and the annual town Family Fair, is
where it’s at. When they are rescued, Bill and Katz decide
they've had enough, they've "hiked the Appalachian Trail,"
and it's time to head back home. It's worth mentioning that
this part of the story can seem to be a bit anticlimactic,
but that might be explained by the desensitizing effect of
being exposed to Hollywood's over-dramatizations. In real
life, turning points tend to be more subtle, such as what
happened with Bill and Katz. They were only stuck on the
cliff for a short time, but it was enough to make them
realize what was important to them in life. And the movie
did an excellent job of showcasing this reality.
Comedy-wise, the film had its fair share with the sporadic,
but consistent comedic value added by the pair of legendary
actors. Bill's sense of humor is quite entertaining,
especially when it's directed at Katz. And Katz's tales of
women he's been with over the years keeps the humor rolling
during any would-be dull moments of the film. When all is
said and done, what we’re left with is a film that brings
the inevitable to light. The idea that if we are lucky
enough, we will see retirement and witness the not so
glamourous side of “waiting your turn,” as Robert Redford’s
Bill character so eloquently articulated on one of his many
ramblings. Three and a half stars out of five are certainly
well deserved here and it is a perfect date night movie,
type of flick for the theaters, with the parents or
grandparents in tow.
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