Tuesday, February 9, 2016

"Revenant review"

"Bear eat Dicaprio good. Big Bear!"

REVENANT: One who returns after death. -- Ticket buyers’ pronunciation: Rezevent Residence, Retina, Repossess…

    When the screen went to black at the theatre where I saw “Revenant,” no one in the audience made a sound. No groans or applause. People just got up and walked out. I couldn’t find anybody who seemed inclined to talk about what I had endured.

Most of the people leaving took a hard right and hurried in the direction of the restrooms. It was a long movie. I chose to exit during the movie. Exited twice. During one of the restroom jaunts I went to the concession stand for a popcorn refill

The large popcorn and medium drink set me back $14.34, so I didn’t feel as if I was taking advantage of the theatre. While the cost of popcorn was not germane to the movie, it was certainly germane to my attitude. By the way, I would’ve paid the same price for popcorn and a drink had Kay gone with me. When I’m by myself, I don’t have to share. It’s somewhat of an incentive to see movies that don’t interest Kay.

“Revenant” reeked of violence. Made me want to go out and buy a hatchet. At one point I was begging the director to give DiCaprio a rest. “Hasn’t he suffered enough?” First a bear, then the Indians, then French trappers, back to the Indians. At one point, this partially bear-eaten man rode his horse right over a cliff to escape the savages. (I take that back. Everyone in this movie was a savage.)

Can you imagine the loyalty a horse to let its rider direct him right off a cliff? No horse would do that for me. It’d come to the edge and the horse would put on the brakes. I’d look like Wile E. Coyote trying to run on air.

But, forget the horse. Everyone forgets the horse. There was a bear in this movie that was the greatest acting animal I’ve ever seen. No dog, horse or pig has ever been as convincing as this grizzly. When Grizzly Adams (rest his soul) fought a bear, he used his pet bear. The thing would hug him, lay on top of him and nuzzle. Been my experience, bears can’t “act” angry. The only sure way to get a bear to convincing rip somebody apart, is to… you know? Let him rip. – Oh, and I was lying about my experience with bears.

The director of “Revenant,” Alejandro González Iñárritu, (I’ll give you a second to mentally pronounce the last name.) didn’t want to use a pet bear. He wanted a wild, angry bear, one that slobbers and makes mean bear faces. And, he got one. The giant grizzly tore the daylights out of Leonardo. Got in his face. Bit on his face. Tore him to shreds. DiCaprio was great in the scene. He’s a natural at playing bear food.

A few minutes ago, I researched the “Revenant” bear scene. Turns out, there was no bear. They had DiCaprio hooked to wires so they could drag him into the trunks and roots of giant rubber trees. The director would yell, “Okay, Leo, act like your head is being chewed on! No, no! Forget your femur; it’s your head this time!”

They’d stop for a break while the makeup person simulated a mauling event on DiCaprio’s person. Ripped chunks out of his back and broke his thigh and spleen and head and just thoroughly messed him up.

Once they got all of those shots, they put a guy into a convincing bear suit and had him jump all over the place. And they used the computer to make teeth chomp and claws claw. So, there was no bear injured on this set. But, I’ve got to tell you, had they used an actual, angry grizzly and a Portuguese stunt double, they wouldn’t have gotten nearly as good of bear footage. That camera was right in the computerized bear’s face, and there was little worry that it might get distracted and eat the cameraman.

There was one scene that I had hoped was computerized. It was when DiCaprio started eating some raw buffalo liver. I researched the scene and discovered that he really did eat raw liver. I couldn’t swear it was buffalo, but it did have the size and consistency. I’d have to eat some to know for sure. Fortunately, there are only two ways I’d do something like that. If you put a wide barreled gun to my temple, or you paid me what DiCaprio made. In truth, if you keep a bucket close by, I’ll eat raw liver for $5000. We all have our price.

While I will not give away the ending, I will tell you this, when I was a kid I saw an episode of “Death Valley Days” or some equally cheaply produced TV show that featured the true story of the guy who was left to die after a bear attack. The real mauled survivor didn’t blame his friends for leaving him. They had little choice.

He did manage to survive by drinking his urine and eating his pants. They didn’t show a lot of that on TV, but it was inferred. When the mountain man finally caught up with his “friends,” he held no animosity. He was just glad to be alive. Had they stuck to the true account in “Revenant,” we may have seen DiCaprio smile a time or two. He would’ve been even more assured of an Oscar had he demonstrated more than one persona.

I’m not saying that I hated “Revenant.” It’s got great acting, beautiful scenery and unbelievable special effects. However, I wouldn’t see that movie again for $50… unless you threw in the price of popcorn and a drink.


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