A Walk in the Woods (Yeah, now we’re doing movie reviews)

AT symbol in Maryland

AT symbol in Maryland

Tom’s Review:

In spite of mixed reviews, Candee and I couldn’t wait to see A Walk in the Woods, and not surprisingly, our own reviews are mixed.  I have several minor gripes regarding the movie, and I’ll start by saying that much of it was filmed in Georgia, so a lot of the trail’s diversity was lost in translation.  I could go on and on, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do!  Why do Bryson and Katz have hiking poles strapped on their backpacks that they never use?  If the movie is 104 minutes long, why did it take a good half-hour to get the characters on the trail?  What species were those two behemoths that were used in the bear scene?  Even as a weekend dayhiker, I was left groaning on more than one occasion.

However…

How can you not like a movie about two goofballs floundering their way north on the Appalachian Trail?  In spite of a few “slightly” annoying moments, I think Nick Nolte’s comic relief works pretty well throughout, and Robert Redford is okay as the straight man.  In spite of all of the hijinx, my favorite scene occurs as Bryson and Katz are talking about being unhappy on the trail, but then they suddenly crest a mountain and are left speechless by the view.  Is there anybody out there who has ever taken a walk in the woods who hasn’t had a similar experience?  I think that moment in the film captured why we torture ourselves every Sunday in the first place.

Appalachian Trail officials think that the movie will inspire record numbers of people to take on the thru-hiking challenge.  I really don’t think it’s that kind of movie, but you never know.  In all, I was entertained throughout and would give the film a solid 8/10.  Candee’s rating is considerably lower, and I hope she logs on at some point and says why.  Maybe we were seeing two different things.  If you’ve seen the movie or plan on seeing it, please weigh in.  The reviews are mixed, and that alone should give rise to some lively debate.

Candee’s Review:

I am SO disappointed! We went to see the movie, ‘A Walk in the Woods’ tonight and I didn’t like it…at all! Based on the book by Bill Bryson, of the same title, it tells the story of two, middle-aged, out-of-shape men who rekindle their friendship while hiking the Appalachian Trail. If I’m completely honest, I didn’t really like the book either, but I thought the hiking scenes would win me over. Nope. It didn’t happen!

Robert Redford played Bryson and Nick Nolte played his bumbling, womanizing friend, Katz. I can’t believe that I’m actually going to write this, but I don’t think Robert Redford’s acting was all that great. In fact, he was quite dull and boring–maybe that was the point, but then that doesn’t say much for Bryson’s personality! (Ouch!) Redford is 79 years old and he was playing someone who was supposed to be in his mid-forties. The willing suspension of disbelief can only be pushed so far!

Unlike the movies, ‘The Way’ and ‘Wild’, where the cinematography leaves the viewer in awe of the scenery, this movie had very few sweeping landscape shots, instead favoring “underwhelming’ tree-lined trails. Although I’ve hiked on several small portions of the A.T. (Which I’ve loved), I didn’t leave the movie with the feeling that I HAD to hike it. (Although I already want to!). I did however, feel that way after watching the movies that I mentioned above.

I very unhappily give it a grade of C-. I really wanted to like this movie…but it fell short…very short! Thank goodness for Nick Nolte! He did add a few laughs!

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by LevelWalker on September 4, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Candee,

    You’re a teacher, and a C- is still a passing grade. Just sayin’.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Candee on September 4, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Barely!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Jamie on September 8, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    I was considering seeing this movie. After these reviews, I believe I will sit it out. (It isn’t a great loss since I only go to the movies once or twice a year.)

    Reply

    • Posted by LevelWalker on September 9, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      I’m not much of a movie go’er either. Before this film, I think the last time was No Country for Old Men. I can’t even remember what year that was!

      Reply

  4. Posted by LevelWalker on September 14, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    I actually went back and saw the movie again. I think I liked it better the second time. Make it an 8.5/10.

    Reply

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