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The Best Wilderness, Survival Movies To Get You Ready For 'Race to Survive: Alaska'
Get conditioned (via your couch) for the perils of traversing the land in "Race to Survive: Alaska."
Not everyone is cut out for surviving the worst that trekking the backcountry of Alaska has to offer, which is why shows like USA Network's upcoming competition survival series "Race to Survive: Alaska," premiering Monday, April 3 at 11 p.m. ET/PT, exist. It showcases the incredible athletes and adventurers who know how to take exactly what Mother Nature dishes out, and keep going.
For the rest of us, we can prepare to perhaps understand a little better the challenges that will be faced by the eight teams of two competing for $500,000 in the series by watching some films that give us a taste of what they're going to be up against. USAInsider curated some of our favorites to enjoy as the "Race to Survive: Alaska" premiere gets ever closer.
A lesser-seen entry into the survival wilderness genre, but Mads Mikkelson gives a great performance as a man who survives a plane crash only to have to survive alone in the Arctic. It's essentially a man against the elements story. There's an austerity to this one that gives the viewer a visceral sense of the battle to just stay alive when you don't have the resources or materials to beat Mother Nature.
Into the Wild (2007)
An adaptation of novelist Jon Krakauer’s investigation into the death of young Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), an overly-optimistic city kid who decided to enter the wilds of Alaska and live off the land. It's a compelling story of man against nature, but one that should be seen as a cautionary tale about the romanticized realities of being unprepared for the brutality of the wilderness.
The Revenant (2015)
This one is for those of you who want to scare themselves into never going for a trek into the woods. OK, sure this is a period piece about the early days of American exploration seen through the eyes of frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leo DiCaprio), so the woods aren't quite so wild and wooly these days. But we dare you not to hear a rustling of the underbrush after seeing this and not go, "bear?!" It's a brutal watch but it definitely doesn't pull its punches when it comes to man vs. nature.
Reese Witherspoon goes gritty to portray Cheryl Strayed, a young woman battling addiction and grappling with the end of her marriage and the death of her mom by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail alone. Maybe not the smartest move, but the film does take us on a moving journey through the wilderness as Cheryl purges a lot from her emotional system.
Captain Fantastic (2019)
Many survival in the wilderness films showcase dopes who don't go into their adventure well prepared, or they throw some average person into the forest due to a tragedy, like a crash, and see how they are. But Captain Fantastic gives us a look at a family who (initially) wants to be in the woods, away from the ills of civilization. Viggo Mortensen plays patriarch Ben Cash, the father of six children. He and his wife intentionally go off the grid to live off the land in the most prepared and ingenious ways. However, she then passes away and the call of society woos the children. A fascinating observation of separation and grief.
Francis McDormand won the Academy Award for her performance as Fern, a woman who goes on the road when her town has an economic collapse. Traversing the West in her van, Fern becomes a new-era wilderness nomad. She lives in the elements that welcome her and finds a community with those who have adapted to this way of life. The film certainly captures the sense of community that comes with those who embrace living amongst the elements and the ingenuity it takes to overcome the obstacles.