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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 33.33%
Average: 23.61%
Pretty Bad: 5.56%
Total Crap: 2.78%

2 reviews, 60 user ratings

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Alive (1993)
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by Scott Weinberg

"Waiter, there's a friend in my soup."
4 stars

Visually terrfiying and pretty bleak. Yes, it's a good movie, but it's also pretty darn depressing. Well made to be sure, but if plane crashes and cannibalism are your cup of tea, you have more important things to do than watch movies. Like group therapy.

Frank Marshall gets let off Spielberg's leash and tries his hand at something a little darker. Seems this rugby team suffers a plane crash over the Andes, and we get to see the next 72 days of injuries, snow, body odor, fighting over food, more snow, freezing appendages, avalanches, no food, bad accents, deaths and ultimately....people eating.

Although written in a fairly pedestrain fashion, the movie does a good job of raising the "What would you do?" issues. Me, I'd be chomping blindly, hoping to ingest the dead first. (I would have loved to have seen a scene in which some of the rugby players smoked a joint, then one turns to the other and says "Damn, now I'm REALLY hungry!") The acting is almost uniformly neutral, with Vincent Spano standing out mainly because most of us have seen him in other things. Ethan Hawke acts as our moral center, being most open-minded by the ass-eating going on, then digging in (hey, we're talking 72 days, people) when the pizzas he orders never show up.

One suspects the film would have been vastly improved by two or three more trips to the editing room. The myriad slow spots are over-reliant on John Shanley's painfully trite dialogue...and I don't think we're supposed to be happy to see a massive avalanche squash eleven people just so we can have something interesting happen onscreen.

No review of Alive would be complete without a mention of the famous plane crash sequence. Still unsurpassed, this remains the single most terrifying depiction of a plane crash ever created. (Although the one in Peter Weir's Fearless is a close second.)

As Alive is based on a true story, I'm not spoiling anything when I tell you that some of them eventually get home. When the survivors are ultimately rescued, the joy we feel for them is countered by the knowledge that what they did will haunt them forever.

Disney pulls a sneaky movie by re-releasing this DVD as a "30th Anniversary" release. OK, so now we're releasing DVDs in commemoration of plane crashes? I suppose they need this swanky banner in order to repackage the previously bare-bones DVD with two documentaries and a handful of introductions by director Frank Marshall. The intros are banal and lifeless; they feel as if they were written on the spot. The two featurettes, "Alive: 20 Years Later" and "Return to the Andes", are worthwhile for fans of the film, though the former is actually a compelling look at the true story while the latter is rather pointless. Annoyingly, the original trailer is nowhere to be found; always an odd exclusion.

It's an engrossing and thought-provoking movie, but not one for the easily-nauseated.

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originally posted: 04/29/04 14:36:11
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User Comments

12/29/17 morris campbell grisly but potent survival film 4 stars
4/23/17 steve does well with a less than compelling (as film) story 4 stars
10/17/13 elaine wonderful 5 stars
2/10/13 Mr I Anderson An exellent film ordinary film weel donethen 5 stars
9/10/11 rato it's a touching film that puts each life in perspective, but cannibalism is not an issue. 4 stars
3/11/11 bored mom I had more fun watching PBS documentaries. But I'm hungry. Give me a chunk of the copilot. 2 stars
2/19/11 Ark One of the guys that survived is now a big motivational speaker, how to season your friends 4 stars
11/08/10 Malevolent-Pyfer-Soul a movie about real leadersh 4 stars
5/03/10 aileen guerrero its really overwhelming to see those people resort to cannibalism 4 stars
2/22/10 Joan Meister Very good engrossing movie. 4 stars
9/08/08 Shayle Great, funny, and scary to be stranded iin a mountain. 5 stars
4/21/08 Simon Molony its a bit rotten when dey eat eachother 4 stars
4/07/08 paul good movie, not enough violence and wasnt realistic because they were far 2 calm. 3 stars
4/05/08 Pamela White moving movie of endurance 5 stars
4/02/08 mabel msopero great movie for great minds with a human inclination 5 stars
1/06/08 this movie is really fascinating and uplifting.. 5 stars
10/29/07 dean i think that this movie is fucken shit 5 stars
9/24/07 sofia I think its a good movie, watching it in theatres, u would enjoy it. 5 stars
9/16/07 gesh86 alrite...........great picture and sound 3 stars
6/13/07 Michelle Made me laugh, wonderful true story but didn't care for the acting 2 stars
3/29/07 tom poor acting and monotonous. Wouldn’t recommend it. I gave it two stars because of the plane 2 stars
3/01/07 Mark Roberts The religious issue in the movei wasn't touched on much 4 stars
12/29/06 David Pollastrini great fx 5 stars
9/15/06 debbi This movie was excellent. would definitely recommend it to anyone. 5 stars
3/30/06 dav decent its on tv now seems ok for an old movie 3 stars
9/14/05 Michelle this movie sucked. I watched it today and I was laughing my ass off. 3 stars
8/16/05 ES SOB these guys had it rough, start to finish you'll be glad you weren't there 4 stars
1/20/05 Karen Good movie but book was better -- the film just didn't show how MUCH they went through. 4 stars
2/01/04 Miranda Brilliant really opened my eyes to the beauty and value of life...just see it. 5 stars
5/12/03 Jack Bourbon Not violent enough. 2 stars
11/21/02 Stevo Plane crash is superbly done, rest of the movie pretty average 3 stars
10/16/02 Michelle Excellent Movie! 5 stars
10/13/02 Sez I wouldnt give it 1 star. Its gross! Only twisted and sic ppl would find it amusing to see! 1 stars
10/06/02 C/Sgt.Ballesteros FC Its just great for them to know that it was awesome. 5 stars
5/29/02 David GREAT 5 stars
3/04/02 JoAnna Oropeza great! a real adventure that makes you thankful for being alive. 5 stars
12/28/01 audreytremblay jai adore ce film!!!jai lu le livre des milliers de fois..... 5 stars
12/17/01 Lourdes Toscano Wonderful, i think it really shows love about people around you, love about life, about god 5 stars
6/05/01 Monday Morning I loved how they ate the butts first. NUMMY! 4 stars
5/24/01 Erik North A memorable docudrama in the style of ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN 5 stars
4/09/01 Larry Wilson Great effects by ILM in what must be the most cheerful movie about cannibalism ever made 3 stars
4/06/01 ashley I liked the movie loved the book. I couldnt put the book down. Awesome, just Awesome... 5 stars
4/06/01 BSHAW Disgusting, sick, gross, yick!!! 4 stars
3/06/01 catherine henry great plane crash, gorgeous scenery, interesting human story, thought provoquing 5 stars
2/23/01 Shahj Great movie dont eat any thing while watching it. 5 stars
2/07/01 lisa they shoulda taken the train. 4 stars
11/28/00 Sp103 Yeah, its another movie. 3 stars
11/06/99 adrienne blows i saw the mivie at school and alot of my class mand me think it is a really good movie 4 stars
10/19/99 Meepos Top show. Fanastic crash. Save me a leg. 4 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg This is an amazing, highly UNDERRATED struggle of human nature. Watch while you're hungry. 5 stars
4/18/99 jimmy jam Crazy ass movie. Watch it on a snowy day!! 5 stars
3/02/99 Rachel Loved this flick! 5 stars
1/28/99 donkey_dew Aye, aye, wonderful no? yes! Yes, yes very very good. 5 stars
10/27/98 Silent Rob A well done adaptation of the horrific true story. 4 stars
10/24/98 Negative Creep If HBS goes down. I want yall to know, You can eat me PSSST Jason Guy is rotten ;) 3 stars
9/01/98 J-Guy pretty decent. 3 stars
8/31/98 Mister Whoopee So far as survival/cannibalism tales go, this is up there. 4 stars
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  15-Jan-1993 (R)


  02-Feb-1994 (MA)

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