Erin Pitt and CJ Adams in Against the Wild (2013)

Chinook to the Rescue

With their parents estranged; Zach (CJ Adams) and Hannah Wade (Erin Pitt) with their beloved pet dog Chinook are flying up to see their dad at the mining operation he is in charge of. But when the small plane suffers engine problems and has to make an emergency landing in the wilds Zach, Hannah and Chinook must work together to survive and make their way through the wilderness whilst their parents Susan (Natasha Henstridge) and Robert (Ted Whittall) along with a rescue team try to find them.

Let me lead you back in time to when Disney use to make adventure movies featuring children and dogs surviving and making it through the wilderness. These movies were memorable experiences with beautiful landscape photography, decent acting and decent dialogue. Jump to the present and "Against the Wild" is a made for TV movie which tries to bring up to date the experience of a Disney adventure movie as we have a brother and sister along with their dog lost in the wilds, trying to survive and make it home. Sadly "Against the Wild" is not a patch on those adventure movies I watched growing up and to put it simply comes up short when it comes to all the important areas be it the look, dialogue and believability.

Natasha Henstridge in Against the Wild (2013)

The thing is that "Against the Wild" is not a complex movie as the main part focuses of Zach and Hannah along with Chinook surviving their time in the wilds. As such we have them searching for water, finding shelter and so on. And then you have the rescue team searching for them and of course the estranged Susan and Robert working together with the workaholic Robert remembering that family is more important than work. Trouble is that none of it is subtle; the bickering between the siblings and their moaning is annoying and the use of dialogue to tell the audience what is going to happen really gets on your nerves. For example the rescue team mention it is mating time for grizzlies or when Zach lights a fire Hannah makes mention that it is a good job they had matches in their emergency pack. I could go on because every other minute the conversation focuses on the parents separating and how Zach and Hannah feel about it.

The thing is of course it has been a long time since I was at the age which this movie is clearly made for or I think I was. You see this sort of movie, this survival in the wild with children and dogs to me is made for children and the lack of subtlety when it comes to the acting and dialogue makes me think this is aimed for a younger, some might say less discerning audience who probably will enjoy watching Chinook the dog. But there is a side to this which seems more in tune to a more grown up audience who enjoy the easy going nature of a TV movie during a sleepy afternoon.

What this all boils down to is that despite really wanting to enjoy "Against the Wild" it came up short for me and the lack of subtlety in every part of the movie made it the sort of movie which came close to being cheesy. But hopefully younger audiences will find the whole survival in the wilderness thing exciting.

Tags: Dog Movies