With a population of only about 5,000 and situated in northwestern British Columbia’s vast wilderness (about a 16-hour drive north of Vancouver), adventure travel is the big tourism draw for the town of Smithers. In addition to world class skiing and fishing, you can also enjoy “extreme adventures” there – things like ATV camping in the backcountry and glacier helicopter tours.
If Smithers sounds a little far-flung and/or freezing to ever make it to your top vacation destination list, with a little movie location magic you can travel there this weekend when ‘The Grey’ – helmed by Joe Carnahan and starring Liam Neeson – opens in theaters.
>>>Click here to watch a trailer for ‘The Grey’<<<
‘The Grey’, an action-thriller that follows a group of Alaska oil workers who survive a plane crash only to be stalked by a pack of wolves, was shot last year in the wilderness surrounding Smithers. The film’s plane crash was staged above the tree line near the Hudson Bay Mountain Resort, which housed the cast and crew during the shoot. Fresh snow covered the set each night, and each morning the crew had to dig out the strewn wreckage before the day’s filming could begin. One can imagine they, like the film’s characters, experienced the sense of isolation and desperation created by such harsh conditions.
While residents and merchants certainly enjoyed the excitement and economic shot in the arm the production allowed, Smithereens – yes, that’s what Smithers residents call themselves – pride themselves on being connected to the natural world, and some are unhappy with how wolves are portrayed as predators in the film. Addressing the objection, Carnahan told The LA Times:
“I don’t think the film will make people fear wolves, but I’d like to make them respect wolves and by extension, nature itself more. I’d like the movie to remind people that we’re just visitors here, and the defiling and destruction of the natural world puts us at odds with our environment and we’re ultimately provoking a power that is supreme, overwhelming and merciless. Look no further than the tsunami that struck Japan for an example of exactly how ferocious nature can be.”
While the Smithereens have a point (wolves rarely attack humans), we think Mr. Carnahan makes an excellent point, and if RottenTomatoes numbers – indicating a 92% The Audience approval rating for ‘The Grey’ – are to be believed, he’s made an excellent movie, as well.