I’ve been a fan of travel writer Bill Bryson for quite a while now, and though it’s been long enough ago that I can’t actually say for sure, it may very well have been his book A Walk in the Woods that was the first one of his that I read. Nonetheless, let’s just say that when I saw the first trailer for this adaptation, I was immediately excited to see it. That’s why I was there the other day for one of the movie’s first showings.
So, was I disappointed?
Look, I could very well complain that the movie is an over-simplified, somewhat dumbed down version of the book that seemingly reduces the rigors of this hike into what is essentially an amiable ramble through an amazingly beautiful section of the country. I could point out that the movie’s habit of having Bryson spout fact about things they are seeing seemingly from out of nowhere at times – a tendency that I out down to the film makers attempt to incorporate some of the book’s meditations on nature and the history, etc. of the trail – tend to turn him into a sort of walking Wikipedia.
Mostly, I could complain that the film turns the main focus of the story from a contemplation of man’s (and by that I mean both a particular man and mankind in general’s) relationship with nature to more of an exploration of the relationship between these two men in particular and how they confront both each other and the more general prospect of aging with the backdrop of this beautiful trail unfolding around them.
So in the end, I’ll simply say that A Walk in the Woods is a nice movie. One of those films that really doesn’t seem to aspire to be much more than a good way to pass a couple of hours.
In other words, it really is not unlike an actual walk in the woods.
Here’s the trailer: