The researcher Tyler is assigned by his government to travel to the Arctic to study the wolves that they believe are responsible for the reduction of the caribou population. The reckless pilot Rosie takes him to the wilderness and he is left alone with his supply in an extremely cold spot. He is saved by the local Ootek that is traveling with his dog sledding. He builds a shelter for Tyler and organizes his supplies. Tyler finds two wolves that he calls George and Angeline and their three offspring and he examines his excrement to learn what they eat. Soon he discovers that the wolves eat only mice and Tyler decides to do the same to prove to the government that the wolves do not eat caribous. Ootek returns with his friend Mike that speaks English and translates what Ootek say. The trio stays together and Tyler learns that Mike is a hunter. Mike travels with Ootek by canoe to see a herd of caribou that is attacked by a pack of wolves. Tyler examines the bones and finds that the animal...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
According to Tyler's background narrations, it is early April when the snow melts and the lake is completely unfrozen by early May. In reality, snow in the Arctic doesn't melt until June. See more »
We're all of us prospectors up here, eh, Tyler? Scratchin' for that... that one crack in the ground. Never have to scratch again. I'll let you in on a little secret, Tyler: the gold's not in the ground. The gold's not anywhere up here. The real gold is south of 60 - sittin' in livin' rooms, stuck facin' the boob tube, bored to death. Bored to death, Tyler.
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This movie premiered at an age in my life when I was fascinated with wolves and their impact on nature - at 10 years old, I met a researcher while on a trip with my parents who actually lived with wolves for 9 months out of the year. On his recommendation I read Farley Mowat's "Never Cry Wolf" and finagled my theater-phobic parents into taking me to see the film shortly thereafter.
Its impact on me, partially because of my love for the subject matter, has been lifelong.
Although the film does not always capture the humor of Mowat's narrative, it does a brilliant job of portraying, with patience that may grate on the nerves of blockbuster-seasoned moviegoers, the experience of its protagonist. Complaints that the film does not focus enough on the wolves are understandable, but the book and the movie are about one man's journey to understanding the wolf's place in a natural ecosystem. He must learn to be like them, understand their behavior (which mirrors humans' in so many ways), and ultimately choose a loyalty to one or the other species.
It is advisable that the viewer adopt expectations similar to those for a National Geographic documentary, although the story is only loosely based in fact. Sometimes things happen slowly in the arctic. Sometimes they don't happen at all, or the things that happen are not what you'd want out of the "plot". Cinematography and the environment are stunning. Charles Martin Smith's Tyler is a regular guy, without spectacular heroics (but brave enough to tackle activities "Fear Factor" contestants won't touch for a pile of money).
Because it was filmed entirely on location and without pretense of special effects, its visuals stand up very well in comparison to the films of today. Its pace is the sticking point that will make it unpalatable to some viewers, but I give it a rarely-awarded 9 rating for its beauty, social conscience and thorough enjoyability, taking away 1 point only for its somewhat heavy-handed finale that is less palatable than Mowat's original message.
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