“Into The Wild”: Book and Movie Cross-Reference Analysis

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

There are tons of differences between the book and the movie and those differences make a world of difference when deciding which one you like better. Personally, I liked the movie better, I usually do. However, on occasion I like the book more, but that is not the case this time. I like how the movie shows extras about his life, how it shows why Chris left home, how we can see the scenery instead of Krakauer going “off into page-long descriptions of the Alaskan wilderness” (AVCLUB), and when the movie jumps around, it makes sense, but it didn’t in the book.

The movie showed extras about Chris’s life that we had not seen in the book and that made the whole story line a lot more interesting. Let me suggest this, Krakauer uses both Chris’s story and part of his own to make the story more interesting. However, I was more interested in just Chris’s story. That is exactly what Sean Penn did, he only made the movie about one story and one life, and that was Chris’s.

According to “AVCLUB”, Krakauer used his story to try and show that McCandless was not suicidal, which I already felt that he was not, so I guess that Krakauer’s excerpt of his life was not needed, but it did reinforce my original thoughts. Here is why I believe that Chris’s just wanted to get away for a while. Towards the beginning of the movie it says, “He picked up goods to live of the land for a while” and then again towards the end of the movie when he ate the sweet pea, he was scared, he was screaming for help. Wouldn’t a suicidal person not scream for help and just let the nature of the pea take its course? I guess I don’t really know since I have never been to that point in my life, but if I had to take my best guess, I would assume that they would not scream or try to get help.

In the book, it more or less says that McCandless is moody and that is the reason that he left, at least I believe that we can infer that. Now, in the movie we can see that that is not the case. Everyone that he comes across he is very polite with and everyone pretty much takes a liking to him. I believe that he is not portrayed in the book for who he truly is. Sometimes less is actually more. Now, when I say that the movie showed more about his life I actually mean that in a different way. The movie left out some major periods in his life such as mostly his childhood. I think that us reading about his childhood shaped our minds into believing that he resented his parents and that he left because of them. However, without us seeing things from his childhood in the movie, it almost seems like his parents were just like most. They aggravate us daily because, as parents, that is their job. But it seems as if his parents cared about his wellbeing and that they just wanted the best for him. It shows his parents crying and being tricked into thinking he was there, when really, he wasn’t. It also shows his dad dropping to his knees in the middle of the street. Now to me it seems as if his relationship with his parents was okay, just like most peoples.

Here is what the film made me see as to why Chris left home. It seems as if the business world was not for Chris and that is not who he truly was. He was an adventurous kind of person at heart and it just took a while for him to find that side of him. I also believe that he knew what he was getting himself into as he said, “This is the last you’ll hear from me Wayne… It might be a very long time before I return south. If this adventure proves fatal and you don’t ever hear from me again, I want you to know you are a great man…I now walk into the wild. ” (69). But as you can see, he means to come back, but it may be a very long time. This specific topic as many grey areas and is a very debatable topic.

We can see the scenery in the film as well, which I loved. I am kind of a scenery fanatic, I find so much beauty in the world. However, I did not like how it took Krakauer, sometimes, one full page to explain what the scenery was. It almost felt as if I was wasting my time reading that much just to see where Chris was and what he was seeing. Page 32 is a good example as to what I mean. But in the movie, we can see the scenery as well as other things can happen at the same time, such as some writing come across the screen or Chris can narrate part of his story at the same time. Now, I understand that in a book the author cannot show us a landscape without effectively explaining what it looks like. Which is another reason why I like the film better. Alaska is such beautiful territory that we should be able to see it with this interesting storyline, instead of having to read and try and imagine what it looks like.

The last topic I would like to throw my views on is the fact that both the film and the movie jump around, but Krakauer did a very sloppy job with and just made it a confusing, tangled mess. Penn does a nice job with it. Krakauer jumps around from time to time, and even at one part goes as far as throwing his own life story into the mix, which just made it that much more confusing. Penn really does a nice job at moving scenes. He would occasionally move from the present times and go back past times. The difference between the two is that Penn’s reflections went with the present scene instead of a scene twenty minutes earlier. Krakauer goes from reflection to reflection without putting them into numerical order, for a lack of a better term.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the film more because of the simple, but effective, differences between the two stories and the reasons that I like how the movie shows extras about his life, how it shows why Chris left home, how we can see the scenery instead of Krakauer going “off into page-long descriptions of the Alaskan wilderness” (AVCLUB), and when the movie jumps around, it makes sense, but it didn’t in the book. I did like both stories, but the movie still holds more of an interest in my opinion.


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