This weekend, Liam Neeson (“K-19: The Widowmaker”) stars in “The Grey,” a movie in which his character is hunted down by a pack of wolves. Stranded in Alaska after a plane crash, the shivering survivors of “The Grey” run a gauntlet of challenges — and, yes, in this case, most of those challenges do involve wolves. As a service, we answer every question you could possibly have about “The Grey.”
Q: Does Liam Neeson fight a wolf in “The Grey”?
A: I know the marketing would have you believe that Liam Neeson fights a wolf onscreen. If that’s the only reason you’re seeing “The Grey,” you will leave the movie pissed off.
Q: Is “The Grey” a lot better than it looks based on the advertising?
A: Yes. It is.
Q: Should I see “The Grey”?
A: Yes. You should.
Q: Why are wolves chasing Liam Neeson?
A: Liam Neeson plays Ottway, a somewhat suicidal expert on wolves whose job is to protect the employees of an Alaskan oil pipeline.
Q: Are the wolves mad at Ottway because they are environmentalists and he’s paid by an oil company?
A: By default, the wolves are most likely environmentalists, though they’re not cognizant of that fact. And Ottway’s employment status has nothing to do with the wolves’ interest in him.
Q: Do the wolves want to eat Ottway?
A: No. They just want to kill him. Ottway and some fellow employees (James Badge Dale and Dallas Roberts; reunion!) are on a plane to Anchorage that encounters severe turbulence and crash-lands in the wilderness. The wolves are not appreciative of the crash survivors’ presence.
Q: Why is Ottway somewhat suicidal?
A: Because he is estranged from his wife.
Q: During the severe turbulence that you experienced during your flight to and from Sundance, how many times did you think about what happened in “The Grey”?
A: Twenty-two times.
Q: In “The Grey,” are the characters played by James Badge Dale and Dallas Roberts in Alaska because they are intelligence analysts looking to uncover a mass conspiracy involving oil?
A: No, the events in “The Grey” have nothing to do with the events that transpired during “Rubicon.” Or, at least, it’s never implied.
Q: At any time, does Liam Neeson fight a wolf onscreen?
A: There is a scene early in the film in which Liam Neeson kind of wrestles around with a wolf, but “fight” is a strong word.
Q: But what about that scene in the trailer that clearly shows Liam Neeson strapping a knife to his hand right before he fights a wolf? I mean, even the picture at the top of this post depicts that scene.
A: Let’s just say that you’ve pretty much already seen the extent of that scene. So — and I can’t emphasize this enough — do NOT see “The Grey” if all you want to know is what comes after that scene.
Q: But what if I really had my heart set on going to the movies and watching Liam Neeson fight a wolf?
A: Well, if it’s any consolation, you can soon go to the movies and watch Liam Neeson fight for the fair taxation of trade routes in “The Phantom Menace.”
Q: Why isn’t “The Grey” spelled “The Gray”?
A: I can only assume because it looks… fancier? “Grey” is the Old English spelling of “gray.” In other words: I have no idea.
Q: How many people survive the plane crash?
A: Initially, eight survive the crash. One survivor, though, dies almost immediately from his injuries, which leads to one of the best scenes of the film.
Q: Why is this one of the best scenes of the film?
A: In most films, when a character is bleeding profusely, the reaction is usually something along the lines of, “Hang in there, buddy. Stay with me! Do you hear me!? Don’t you do this to me! No! Nooooooo!”
Q: How does Ottway react to this situation?
A: He calmly tells the bleeding man — I’m paraphrasing — “You’re going to die. Let it happen.”
Q: What’s the oddest thing about “The Grey”?
A: Once someone dies, Ottway has a habit of taking their wallet.
Q: Wait, is Ottway an elaborate pickpocket?
A: I’m 80 percent sure that this isn’t the case.
Q: Why does Ottway collect wallets from the dead?
A: Ottway’s plan (or is it his cover story?) is to deliver them to the relatives of the deceased. But Ottway does have a habit of rummaging through them when he is in a reflective mood.
Q: What’s more disturbing: the wolves or the thought of Liam Neeson rummaging through your wallet after you die?
A: The wolves. Barely.
Q: If you had to describe “The Grey” in one word, what word would that be?
Q: How many times did you have to hide your eyes out of fright during “The Grey”?
Q: How many human beings do we see actually eaten by wolves onscreen?
Q: So far, is “The Grey” the best movie of 2012?
A: The year is 26 days old. But, yes, so far, it is the best movie of 2012.
Q: If you’re going to be blurbed in this weekend’s commercials for “The Grey,” what quote do you think will be used?
A: “The best movie in the last 26 days!” Mike Ryan, Moviefone
Mike Ryan is the senior writer for Moviefone. He has written for Wired Magazine, VanityFair.com, GQ.com, New York Magazine and Movieline. He likes Star Wars a lot. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter