Director: Ken Kwapis
Writer: Michael Arndt, Bill Holderman (Screenplay) Bill Bryson (Book)
Starring: Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson, Mary Steenburgen, Nick Offerman, Kristen Schaal, R. Keith Harris
Plot: After spending two decades in England, Bill Bryson returns to the U.S., where he decides the best way to connect with his homeland is to hike the Appalachian Trail with one of his oldest friends.
Tagline – When you push yourself to the edge, the real fun begins.
Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Never Captures the Sense of Adventure
Story: A Walk in the Woods starts when author Bill Bryson (Redford) returns to America after years of travel books, where he has never written about his homeland. Bill wants to walk the Appalachian Trail, over 2000miles, his wife Catherine (Thompson) isn’t happy with this decision forcing him to go with somebody, which sees him reconnect with an old friend Stephen Katz (Nolte).
Even though Stephen isn’t in the best shape for this hike, he is the only person that accepts the offer and the two set out on the 6-month long hike, hoping to create his next best seller, while reconnecting with an old friend.
Thoughts on A Walk in the Woods
Characters – Bill Bryson is a travel author that has been writing about hiking trails all over the world, only he has never written about America, he wants to change this, hoping to give himself a chance to experience the American walking trail of the Appalachian Trail, one of the most challenging hikes in the country. Stephen Katz is the only person that is willing to join Bill on his adventure, the two have had their differences in the past, he isn’t in the best shape for this adventure and sees it as a chance to reconnect with an old friend. Catherine is the wife of Bill that doesn’t want Bill to go on this hike, she is worried about everything that could happen, forcing him to go with somebody on the trip. Jeannie is one of the ladies that they guys meet on the journey, she is one of the many people they meet along the way.
Performances – Robert Redford and Nick Nolte are wonderful together in the leading role, you get to believe their friendship has been through the ups and downs life has to offer, only to let them get their solo moments when needed for the film. when we get to the supporting cast Emma Thompson does get her chance to shine without getting too much screen time.
Story – The story here follows an author who sets out on a new adventure travelling the Appalachian Trail, first for himself and secondly for his latest book, he reconnects with an old friend to join him on this adventure. This story does have a big difference from the book which sees a big age change, which does change the story, which is more focused on the older generation that are seeing their friends die and wanting to do another adventure before it is too late. The trip itself never gets shown in distance scale either, we know how far it is, but we don’t seem to learn where it starts and finishes or what locations we go through.
Adventure/Biopic/Comedy – The adventure side of the film does take the men on with a location that will be one of the highlights of the film, the biopic side of the film does use the real names, but not the real ages which does change the dynamic of the story completely. The comedy will give you a couple of laughs along the way, without it being a full-blown comedy.
Settings – The settings in the film do give us a couple of beautiful shots, though we don’t get to feel the distance being travelled.
Scene of the Movie – Mary Ellen.
That Moment That Annoyed Me – We never feel the distance they are traveling through the film.
Final Thoughts – This is an adventure film that doesn’t give us the sense of adventure that it could have, we do get great performances, but the story never draws us in the way it could.
Overall: Disappointing adventure.