Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
Yvonne Strahovski and Will Patton
What's it about
A newly wed couple decides to take a romantic tour into the bottom of the Grand Canyon with a nutty redneck as their guide. Unfortunately, a rattlesnake takes out the redneck and their tour becomes the classic story of survival in a desolate place.
Is it good movie?
Itís not too tough to know where a movie called The Canyon is headed. Put two newlyweds in the middle of nowhere without food or water and things arenít exactly going to go well. So, the question then becomes how will the film dazzle the viewer? What obstacles will leap before them? Well, in The Canyon case, not enough dazzle or obstacle.
The problem with The Canyon is that itís a film done many times before. Itís a basic story of survival. Cast Away, Alive, Lifeboat, Robinson Crusoe. What those films have, (the adventure of it all and the characters) this one lacks. The plot of a hike gone wrong is flat out bland. Nothing really happens (ok, things do happen but thereís just not enough ďthingsĒ going on). Setting the movie in the Grand Canyon is a great idea, but do something with it! There needs to be cliffs, sounds, bones, hope. Something more than complaining and walking!
The next major flaw is the pacing. I understand what director Richard Harrah attempted to do here. He wanted to create a story of people, of characters surviving, not necessarily a horror flick. Of course, this isnít a bad thing. Itís attempting to rise above the trappings of the genre, but damn, it takes a very long time to get anywhere. The pacing is brutal. Each time things get rolling, their mule blows a tire and it all slows down again. And the characters are just bland. The things that happen to them are horrific, but they are pancake flat characters. Iíve seen cardboard stock paper thicker. Itís doesnít help matters when a viewer looks at the movie poster. Glance at it and itís pretty clear that Yvonne Strahovski (sheís from NBCís Chuck, and sheís hot ass balls here) must defend herself at some point, alone, with a torch. Now Iím no Columbo, but Iím smart enough to put together two and two. Something will happen to the husband, leaving her alone.
Despite my problems with the repetitive nature of the flick, the acting is all good. Eion Bailey and Strahovski make a good, believable couple in one crappy ass situation even if their characters are lame. Itís easy to feel their pain and their love and their desperation. However, the real standout comes from the always dependable Will Patton, who plays his redneck like a lost remnant from the classic Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Itís a clichťd character, but damn he sure looks like he has fun with it. Something else I eventually dug came from the villains. No inbreds. No ghosts. Just nature in the form of everyoneís favorite Grand Canyon critters. You know the ones you love. Buzzards. Vultures. Rattlesnakes. Coyotes. Yep, theyíre all here to make our coupleís little adventure turn to utter hell.
I hate to spoil things (but fair SPOILER warning), but beyond some of the praise I just delivered, there are really only two really great parts about The Canyon. One, seeing Will Patton getting struck and then slice up some rattlesnakes. Awesome. Two, an absolutely brutal amputation scene. Man, itís a damn realistic lobbing off of a leg. Gruesome. Painful. Nasty.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen presentation. Looks really tan (hence the whole Grand Canyon thing)
Audio: Presented with the power of Dolby Surround
Deleted Scenes: Seven minutes of cut footage. I always like it when they leave all the running numbers in the footage. Looks soÖfilmy. Like usual with deleted scenes, nothing real special.
Yvonne Strahovski Casting Session: The audition for Strahovski. Pretty straight forward. Did she really need an audition? Look at her!
Discovering The Canyon: A 12-minute doc about, you guessed it, discovering the film! Pretty standard set of interviews with cast as they outline the basic plot.
Behind the Scenes Montage: Five minutes of footage showing behind the scenes.
Regardless of the good acting, The Canyon is utterly predictable. It looks good and the acting is quality, but itís all slow and bland. Too bad. Good potential.