Judge Ryan Keefer thinks that Obi-Wan Kenobi had it easy on this trip. Try putting Yoda and Jar Jar Binks on motorcycles or in situations where they'd have to deal with the Russian mafia.
Two friends. One extraordinary journey around the world.
Enter one recognizable actor (Ewan McGregor, Robots, Black Hawk Down, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) and his friend (Charley Boorman, The Serpent's Kiss, The Emerald Forest), who met on the set of a film and have stayed close ever since. Both are motorcycle enthusiasts, and talk about taking the ultimate bike trip, starting in London, and going East, through Europe and Russia, before arriving in New York, 12 weeks and 20,000 miles later. Does Long Way Round provide for fun times?
Facts of the Case
The two-disc set of Long Way Round contains seven episodes, with the first three on one disc, and the remainder on the other. I'm going to assume that a lot of you have seen Episode III by now, and can presume that McGregor is, in fact, alive, so you can't really consider any of these descriptions as "spoilers." Either way, put your hands over your eyes and scroll down if you don't want to read anything about the trip.
The episodes are as follows:
• Episode 1
• Episode 2
• Episode 3
• Episode 4
• Episode 5
• Episode 6
• Episode 7
One can't really appreciate the kind of logistical nightmares that you can run into when scheduling a 20,000 mile road trip I guess. But the overall feeling that you get as you watch McGregor and Boorman travel in various locales is that they have a tremendous joy about what they are doing, and are ecstatic in doing it. It's nice to see that there are friendly people in the furthest reaches of the world, or perhaps it's because I've been subjected to so much antipathy here, that I'm stunned when any two strangers shake hands. And to the boys' credit, they try to talk as best to the locals of each country how they can, even if language barriers are present.
The visuals that Long Way Round provides are amazing, there's no doubt. But sometimes after awhile, the same beautiful landscape can be annoying. Maybe it's because those who are industrialized sometimes have a yearning for McDonald's and Starbucks, and if that's the case, it's a shame. But overall, the experiences that the pair had, the food that they ate, and the roads that they traveled will be experiences worth remembering.
Goldhil Home Media has included some extras on this two-disc set, starting with almost 40 minutes of additional footage, most of which did not appear in the final cut. Some of the material is actually pretty good. For instance, McGregor snores like a bear, and he relays a funny story about being mistaken for Jude Law. There's an all too brief post-trip interview with the two that lasts just over five minutes, and there is no additional material on the second disc.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
There are two things that annoy me when viewing Long Way Round on DVD. The first is that while the shows are uncensored, so McGregor and Boorman are free to utter whatever obscenity they please, some of them do have the beeps. Why? What's the point? That's not the bigger issue though. The bigger issue is that this set only has seven episodes, when other regions have 10. Sorry, to release an abridged version of the trip makes no sense whatsoever. And not to get McGregor and Boorman back together for anything longer than a five-minute interview, without any episode commentaries, are foolish.
McGregor and Boorman managed to accomplish something that people only talk about, and that is an admirable feat. However, Goldhil's presentation of the trip leaves a lot to be desired. If you are a fan of the show, order it from Canada or from the UK, as the more complete version of the show is featured there.
McGregor and Boorman are found innocent. They have done the impossible, and are fortunate enough to have a video document of it. Goldhil is found utterly guilty for releasing a shorter version of the show in some areas, while releasing a complete version in others. You'll have to do better than that if you want to get an acquittal from this court.
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