Friday, August 18, 2006

Movie Review: The Long Way Round

I recently viewed this movie which was a documentary on Bravo back in 2004 I believe. I read the book that came out about it at the same time and with some comments do heartily recommend viewing the film if you are at all interested in Motorcyle Touring and just riding motorcycles in general. The trip was planned for 20,000 miles of travel on motorcycles! The terrain they had to traverse once they left Europe and entered the wilds of Asia was amazing in its beauty and incredibly tough to ride through in many spots.

Truly is the US highway system an incredible achievement when compared to some of the stuff these guys and their support crews had to traverse.

For you BMW riders out there, they used BMW motorcycles and apparently the motorcycles performed very well given the conditions.

Just be prepared for what I perceived to a bit of whinning from both riders where even though they were on the adventure of a lifetime, they thought "things were just too hard", "I miss my family", and even had thoughts of changing their route in search of better roads. Not sure what they expected the trip would be like but when reality hit, they faltered but eventually they "did a package check" and drove on.

Easy for me to criticize of course, I was not there, axle deep in muddy goo, constantly having the motorcycle fall over and having to pick it up and helping pick up the other's motorcycles as well, sleeping in tents with wet gear and at times eating weird and exotic foods from the locals. However, these guys had support vehicles and satellite phones for Christ's sakes!

The handling issues they had in rough terrain (and yes, at times it was impossible terrain) I got the impression came from their overloading their motorcycles with gear. Their cameraman did not apparently have as many issues with handling and his load was lighter it seems. Again, I was not there but that was my thought at the time. Their ability to get their motorcycles repaired though was great and they were fortunate to find locals with mechanical/welding skills when mishaps happened.

I found their interactions with each suceeding local culture most interesting even though they were ill prepared once they entered eastern europe and points beyond in terms of language. Of course, their being able to call up on the satphone, get an interpreter and have him talk to the local officials they encountered probably enable them to slack off on the language lessons. God knows Russian is a very hard language to learn!

Still, despite the negatives above, a great film to watch for motorcycle buffs.

From the website:

A once in a lifetime adventure….

Setting off in London in April 2004, Ewan and Charley travelled through some of the most beautiful, and at times dangerous, terrain the world has to offer. Crossing over into mainland Europe, they rode through France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada before arriving 115 days later at their final destination, New York City, USA.

Ewan McGregor: “Now it’s come to an end I can hardly believe that we’ve made our dreams come true and although at times its been very, very tough, the people and places on the way have moved and touched me to my core. It’s been a ‘Long Way Round’ but I’m glad to be home.”

Charley Boorman: “The trip has been incredible in itself but it’s the people in all the countries that we’ve met that have made it fantastic.”

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