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This film is the narrative of one man who is disaffected by the excesses of society and tries to simplify his life by casting himself into the unknown of adventure. With the goal of being the second person to climb Corcovado Volcano in Patagonia, he follows in the footsteps of several men who came before him in the 1960s. The message is a positive one of conservationism, and by just watching the protagonist trek around, you'll wish you were there getting lost with him. It is beautifully shot with an equally great soundtrack of subdued folk songs, including Mason Jennings' recent hit which is featured during the end credits.
But, the film's positive message is easily lost in the narcissism and vainglory of its characters. Through their own terrible self-narration, they come across as overly privileged, preachy, self-righteous, White bourgeois whiners. With their strong anti-corporate and anti-government bias, one is left only to feel that they are arrogant, hypocritical slackers who want the world out of their way so they can have a good time. The protagonist shows none of the modesty inherent to conservationism and spends much time preening around with his shirt off. There is much irony in how he criticizes everyone from city dwellers to video-game players, when it is the indentured condition of these groups which allows him the freedom to be a slacker and explore the natural world.
Also, the film's presentation of the collapse of Easter Island society is one-sided without nuance or context. The film argues that present day civilization is heading towards a similar collapse if we don't change our ways and live like the characters presented in the film.Read more ›
The subtitle, Conquerors of the Useless, refers principally to the whole activity of mountain-climbing. Risking your very life--for what? To stand for a few minutes or an hour on top of a piece of rock, then climb back down again. Does the world need this activity? Why do some people feel compelled to do it (or so many other extreme things that we seem compelled to do, for no clear gain) That becomes a metaphor for the whole question of what is "useful" and what is "useless"--for the world, for mankind as a species, for our survival.
The narrator solemnly asserts things like, "I'm beginning to think...(you know, differently about the world). I'm rather suspicious that he more or less had these same views before he even set out on his journey, and simply used the journey to reinforce them. But-no matter.Read more ›
Call me jaded, but at times the whole impression I was taking away from the experience was to ask myself "how do you get to the place where you can afford such an extravagant trip and so much time off to do it?" I was coming to terms with this just being some kind of boondoggle, characterized by rampant consumerism, by the end of the film.
And in the end that's what compromised the beautiful scenic shots of Easter Island and Patagonia for me. I was entertained and enjoyed watching, but at the same time, there were those nagging and annoying second thoughts about how really altruistic this kind of tourism is.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
sad to see the way human beens treat nature, nice to see some hope on conservation of itPublished 8 days ago by David Ugalde
Great movie! Anytime I feel the need to get away, I watch this movie. It's a great adventure with an awesome soundtrack.Published 19 days ago by blue yaka
This is one of my favorite shows to watch. I love the music, the scenes, the story its great. First time I watched it I was ready to pack everything into the SUV and head out to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jeff
Wonderful! I bought this for my husband as a gift. We both really enjoyed the story. He has always been into North Face and Patagonia appeal and we both love the outdoors. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ashlee M. Blake
This will always be one of my favorite documentaries. I am sad to hear of Doug's death. I am hoping his good works will continue in Chile and Argentina.Published 2 months ago by Kevin
A bunch of us outdoors enthusiasts watched this together on Thanksgiving. Something for everyone!Published 2 months ago by Lucy A. Lynch