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I had been eagerly waiting to see "Kon-Tiki" for quite some time, and this weekend it finally opened at the local art-house theatre here in Cincinnati. I went to see it right away.

"Kon-Tiki" (2012 release from Norway; original duration 118 min. US length approx. 95 min.) brings the story of how Norwegian scientist/esplorer Thor Heyerdahl wants to prove that Polunesia was first stlled by Peruvians, contrary to the accepted belief at that time. As the movie opens, we see young Thor already wanting to be a daredevil in hiw own backyard. Next we find Thor and his girlfrien/eventual wife Liv spending time in Polynesia in the late 1930s, and it is there that Thord gets the idea that Polynesia was settled by "travelers from the east" (which would be South America). Thor spends the next 10 years trying to prove this theory, until he is dared by a publisher to provide the ultimate proof: replicate the 5000 mile journey from Peru to Polynesia on a raft, the same way it was done 1500 years earlier. About half an hour into the movie, the journey begins, and what an epic journey it turns out to be. To tell you more would ruing your viewing pleasure.

Several comments: first and foremost, what is a great movie turns out to be a butchered version of the original (and Oscar-nominated) Norwegian version that was released last year to great acclaim (it is the highest grossing movie of all time in Norway). Indeed, all source materials (including info listed by the art-house theatre but also for example here on Amazon and on IMDb) list this as lasting 118 min. but what I saw today was barely over an hour and a half. After the movie was over, I asked to speak to the manager as I thought maybe something went wrong, but instead I was told that indeed the US version is a shortened version. The fact that some corporate suit at The Weinstein Company, the US distributor, decided the movie needed to be "dumbed down' for US audiences just sickens me, and it has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I wouldn't be surprised if for the DVD release they'll include the "extended" (meaning, the original) version to entice you to spend yet more money.

The fact that we see a drastically shorter version of the original movie has tainted my overall judgment of "Kon-Tiki", which has all the makings of an excellent "old school"-style adventure movie, with gorgeous photography and engaging performances. At this point you may wish to wait for the DVD release, rather than seeing it in the theatre, even though by all means a movie like this just begs to be seen on the big screen. A shame.
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on April 22, 2013
I just saw the latest Kon Tiki film that debuted in 2012
at the Nashville Film Festival. It was an inspiring film
that brought out raw emotion for the six men that made the
101 day journey together. Thor was a calm leader that kept
his wits about him even under the toughest of conditions.
And it was incredible that he could not swim! I am not sure
if all of the facts are true in this film, but it was
extremely well done. The actors are fantastic and engaging.
Truly one of our modern day adventurers, Thor Heyedahl had
a vision that he shared with the world. This is a must see
movie. Even if you doubt his theory that South Americans
crossed the Pacific to land in Polynesia, the story is one
that you will enjoy and keep you on the edge of your seat!
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on February 18, 2013
A Norwegian-filmed dramatization of Thor Heyerdahl's legendary expedition across the Pacific Ocean on a flimsy wooden raft. Lovingly constructed and beautifully filmed with a sharp eye for the grandiose, it's eye candy on the same level as Planet Earth, if to a slightly more reasonable scale. The plot is a gentle balance between nature-watching and temper-managing, as the crew of six men and a parrot get to know a bit too much about one another over the course of their hundred-day adventure. Several of the journey's more dramatic moments feel manufactured (and, upon review, actually are) but I'd hardly call that unexpected and it may have been necessary to give the story a bit of punch. After all, where's the excitement in watching two hours of smooth sailing against a tropical horizon? It's an uplifting tale, if not an especially challenging one, and excellent fuel for escapist daydreams. Definitely worth catching on Blu-Ray if you're as big on our planet's sights and sounds as I am.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon August 23, 2013
I know there are already a number of reviews of the FILM posted, and I'll refer you to those for the story line and acting. I'll use this space to discuss the DVD and BD versions. This is another instance of the Weinstein Company and Anchor Bay going the extra distance to put a lot into the home video release of a film that only received limited theatrical release.

As you will learn from my fellow Amazon reviewer Paul Allaer, the US theatrical version was edited down from 119 minutes to 96 minutes. It was the longer version - in Norwegian with English Subtitles - that was nominated for the Academy Award as Best Foreign Feature Film. What you get on both the DVD and the BD version are BOTH that original as well as the English language version - which will give the film greater exposure. Whichever version you choose, it is the visual images that will grab you the most. The BD version looked great on my new flat screen TV. There were a few sound issues however with the volume dropping off in a few places. I'm not sure it this was in the transfer or not. (This was in the English version.). The special effects (mostly CGI created) are quite heavy, but very realistic. (One of the two "bonus features" is a nine-minute "Visual Effects Featurette" which shows the images before and after the CGI effects, with no narration; just a musical soundtrack.)

The other bonus is a 25 minute "program" on the expedition that Thor Heyerdahl made in 1947 and subsequent book and film versions. It appears to have been made for a television show.

Having recently returned from a vacation in Norway, I was anxious to see this film (which seemed to have passed through Philadelphia quickly on its theatrical run.). I found it both historically interesting and well-acted, especially when there were no identifiable "stars" to distract me from the story.

UPDATE 8/28/13: I just checked my combo pack and noted that the DVD included has only the English language version. The BD in the combo has both. I do not know if the stand alone DVD set has the Norwegian version but I doubt it, because a single DVD can not hold that much info.

FURTHER UPDATE - 8/29/13 - A commenter (see comments) confirmed that the DVD version is also a TWO_disc set and does contain both Emnglish and Norwegian version. (I only had the BD Combo pack when I posted my review)

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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on November 12, 2013
I loved this movie, it was beautifully filmed and acted. I had the honor of working with Thor Heyerdahl later in his life, so this was very interesting to see a dramatization of his most famous expedition. While his theories may not have had significant support in the arcaheological world, his determination to test his hypothesis by going out on a raft with five brave companians showed spirit and devotion to examing possibilities. This dramatization took a number of liberties with the story, for instance refrigerator salesman Herman was a very dedicated scientist and not as doubtful as the movie suggests but I guess they needed some tension. The actors are all wonderful, brilliant in their roles (and not hard to look at either, not that this should matter!). Definitely a great introduction to the life and times of Thor Heyerdahl!
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on January 5, 2014
I'm casually familiar with the Kon Tiki story, and have not read the book. I had seen something on TV about his movie while traveling and it piqued my interest. I finally purchased and watched the blu-ray version this week.

Because I haven't read the book, I can't say if the movie followed the true story or not. I can say that I enjoyed the pace of the movie and appreciated how it sounded on my home theater with a recently upgraded subwoofer. The english version is short, about an hour and a half, but is a good adventure story.

My 10 year-old daughter watched the entire movie with me (though we fast-forwarded through a bloody scene at the 1 hour mark). Because we got a late start and her bedtime came to soon after we began, we watched in two sittings -- the first 30 minutes (when financing and crew were being secured) followed by the rest. I was surprised that she came back since the first half hour was mainly dialogue; but, I had told her the basic plot so I think that helped keep her interest. After it was over she said that she really liked it.

My 6 1/2 year-old son did't stick around too long during the first 30 minutes (dialogue); but, he did sit still for the entire second sitting. The fact that he sat still says a lot and I was quite surprised.

Over all, a great adventure story and good family movie. I recommend skipping a few minutes at the 1-hour mark (english version) if younger children are watching. There is also *some* mild profanity but nothing too concerning.
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on December 25, 2014
"Kon-Tiki", by Thor Heyerdahl, is one of my all-time favorite books, but this movie, alas, did not live up to the book's standards. Part of the problem was the lead, Pal Sverre Hagen; while he wasn't necessarily bad, he didn't come close to embodying Heyerdahl's impressive zeal, good humor, and leadership qualities. This isn't entirely his fault; the script didn't help, choosing to focus on a made-up bit of drama (was Heyerdahl right in theorizing that the current and trade winds would carry the Kon-Tiki to the South Pacific, or was the raft destined just to drift out to sea?) and then parlaying this into a conflict amid the crew. The film would have done better just to focus on the sheer adventure of the Kon-Tiki's voyage; there is enough of that to fill two reels, if they're shot well. And that was the other problem: much of this film looked as if it was shot in a bathtub. I'd recommend the actual black-and-white footage of the real Kon-Tiki epic over this reproduction. You get to see Heyerdahl and his crew in action, and even the lack of color doesn't take away from the wonders they encounter as they drift from South America to the South Pacific under the billowing sail with ancestor-god Kon-Tiki's red-bearded face painted on it.
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on September 29, 2013
I read the book and saw the original documentary. This film is pretty good but does not spend enough time on the building of the raft and puts too much emphasis on sharks. Yes the expedition did encounter some sharks but these were mostly pelagic blue sharks. Not viscous ones as portrayed in the movie. Watching this movie you would think the crew were constantly fearful of being eaten by sharks. The movie does show one of the more fascinating parts of the journey briefly. These were the encounters with bioluminescent sea animals at night. These were mostly large squid, not the gossamer creatures of fantasy shown in the movie.

In spite of these inaccuracies the moves does a good job of giving the feel for the voyage and is entertaining.
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on February 14, 2014
As an American who is obsessed with Norway, I have to say this is one of the best films I've seen.
My boyfriend and I watched this movie before travelling to Norway last December, and we both absolutely loved it!
We even visited the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo during our stay and were basically like kids in a candy shop.
I love this story so much, and the movie was very visually pleasing as well.
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on January 11, 2014
I bought this thinking it would be a composite of the filming done by Heyerdahl, having read the book. But it's not. This is a new production which may as well have been a stage play. The acting is good but it's all about the characters and dialog, not the actual adventure on the water. When it is on the water it's not at all realistic. ALL of the (computer-generated) sharks are large great whites for some cinematic reason, but in real life GW's travel at great depth when crossing large stretches of open ocean. In reality oceanic whitecaps and blue sharks would predominate near the surface but guess what (?), this clearly wasn't filmed in open ocean. Most likely the filming was conducted just offshore -- there are no ocean swells, just CGI. I am pretty sure the storm scene was filmed in a studio with people throwing buckets of water.
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