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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars *BEWARE* US release is cut by almost 30 minutes
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...
Published 14 months ago by Paul Allaer

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars About as wooden as the balsa used to make the boat
This is a missed opportunity to tell the story of the Norwegian explorer who set sail on a balsa wood raft in 1947 from the west coast of Latin America, trying to prove that ancient men could have traveled this way to Polynesia in the middle of the Pacific. It starts off well with Thor Heyerdahl and his wife on the Polynesian islands before World War Two, increasingly...
Published 2 months ago by David Ljunggren


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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars *BEWARE* US release is cut by almost 30 minutes, June 1, 2013
This review is from: Kon-Tiki (DVD)
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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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Visually Stunning and Inspirational, the Sailing Sometimes Seems Too Smooth, February 18, 2013
By 
drqshadow (Bradenton, FL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kon-Tiki (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
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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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power of Faith, April 22, 2013
This review is from: Kon-Tiki (DVD)
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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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BD Combo Pack has the best of both worlds - English and Academy Award Nominated versions, August 23, 2013
This review is from: Kon-Tiki (DVD)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and gripping tale on the seas!, November 12, 2013
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This review is from: Kon-Tiki (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars About as wooden as the balsa used to make the boat, May 29, 2014
By 
David Ljunggren (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kon-Tiki (DVD)
This is a missed opportunity to tell the story of the Norwegian explorer who set sail on a balsa wood raft in 1947 from the west coast of Latin America, trying to prove that ancient men could have traveled this way to Polynesia in the middle of the Pacific. It starts off well with Thor Heyerdahl and his wife on the Polynesian islands before World War Two, increasingly curious about how they were initially colonised. His wife falls sick and when they hear the sound of the steamer coming in, Heyerdahl grabs his wife and runs through the rain, not caring that her biological work is ruined. Sub-text: he is a selfish man. After the war he breaks a promise to return to Norway from New York (remember: he's selfish) and instead grabs a crew in haphazard fashion and ends up in Peru with a bunch of balsa wood logs he has to lash together. This is where the problems in the script start: we know the raft made it, so there's no suspense there. We therefore need a great group dynamic and we don't get it. There are seven men on board and they all have flimsy back stories and they all look alike. So when tensions rise it's hard to figure out who is upset with whom, especially as the beards grow longer, and even harder to raise much enthusiasm. There should be a couple of great back stories and psychological traumas and we suffer from their absence. The tale drags and drags and it's a relief when they finally make shore. Heyerdahl receives a letter from his wife saying she is leaving him because he is so selfish. There is no subtlety in this film at all.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars (BLU RAY REVIEW) A well-made, near perfect adventure in perfect Blu ray, September 4, 2013
By 
This review is from: Kon-Tiki (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
After Norwegian adventurer/scientist Thor Heyerdahl spent years in Polynesia, he became convinced that the islands were originally founded and inhabited by people from South America, specifically Peru. This was contrary to the belief at the time that settlers came from Asia.

In 1947, Heyerdahl and his 5 man crew set out to prove that the 5000 mile trip could be made on a raft supported by balsa wood. He was successful, wrote a book and made an Oscar winning documentary (in 1950) about the trip. This dramatic film uses both mediums and some interviews with Heyerdahl's son to recreate the adventure. This film co-directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg and produced by Aage Aaberge had financial support from over 20 entities and became the largest budgeted film to ever come from Norway. It was rightly nominated for Best Foreign Language Film based on the longer 119 minute Norwegian language version.

Harvey Weinstein agreed to release the film in the U. S. but only with an English language version with a shorter running time. So the filmmakers shot two versions of the film at the same time. The actors spoke both Norwegian and English, so they would shoot scenes twice. Both versions are available on this disc and both include subtitles in English, Spanish and English SDH using unique display methodology.

I only watched the longer Norwegian version and while it is primarily in Norwegian, there are also extended scenes in English when Heyerdahl is in New York trying to get financing and in Peru as he communicates in the only common language. I don't know what was excised in the English language version. Even if I watched it, it would likely have to be done side-by-side to catch the differences. I didn't have the time, equipment or resources to do it. Evidently nobody else did either. I spent some time surfing the web to see if anyone had ascertained what 23 minutes got cut, but could find no one who had gone to the trouble either.

With a film as beautiful as this one, there is no reason not to watch the original Norwegian version. The filmmakers used a combination of "at sea" shooting and digital CGI. The CGI scenes range from just OK (shots of the NYC skyline) to remarkable (the whale shark...and other sharks). The Blu ray comes in the original 2.39:1 aspect ratio and a 1080p resolution. It is stunning. Colors are vibrant. Contrast and clarity are exemplary. This similarly themed film compares favorably to the visuals of "The Life of Pi."

The Norwegian language version comes in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and it is as good as it comes. There is one scene I remember when the raft is being turned around as sea and the sound circles the room as the raft moves. Very effective. As good as it is, boy this would have been even better in 7.1. If you watch the English language version you will get a lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track. Extras include a 26 minute featurette called Kon-Tiki: The Incredible True Story and a 10 minute music only featurette called Visual Effects showing some of the photography tricks used in filming.

I haven't said much about the story. Pal Sverre Hagen stars as Heyerdahl and does a remarkable job. He even looks like Thor. Even with a wife and children at home in Norway, Heyerdahl is focused on the man vs. nature element as well as proving that his theory is correct. The only other performances of consequence are the 5 shipmates and they are credible in their performances. The direction, photography and editing are likewise superb. The film has enough tension and suspense to keep audiences awake. There are sharks of course. There is the raft coming apart. There is bickering at sea in the 101 day trip. There are violent storms. And did I mention...sharks! This is a well-made, near perfect adventure. Highly recommended on Blu ray.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heroes on a heroic expedition, May 20, 2013
By 
Wulfstan "wulfstan" (San Jose, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Kon-Tiki (DVD)
Neither the book, nor the amateur first film mentions it much, and this new film only briefly touches on it, but several of the Kon-Tiki crew were heroes of the first order, not even counting this marvelous expedition. Knut Haugland (the "radio operator") was one of Norway's greatest WWII heroes, leading the fight against the Nazi's and also sabotaging their early work with Atomic energy. Knut was given a number of Knighthoods and orders. They don't make men like this anymore. Torstein Raaby (the other radio guy) helped sink the Tirpitz and was a noted arctic explorer.

Now, the original film is a fantastic feat and won the Academy Award for best Documentary in 1951. Well deserved. But it's all in hand-held B&W, rather grainy.

However, this new film is in glorious color, and the blue of the sea has to be seen and appreciated. This new film has fantastic cinematography , and the actors are (more or less) dead ringers for the real crew members. Using all local actors the Norwegians lent a great deal of verisimilitude to this breathtakingly beautiful film. It was also nominated for a Oscar.

Even tho the dangers here are mostly staged, rather than real, the film was shot on the open ocean, and it shows.

Just beautiful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable viewing., November 15, 2013
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This review is from: Kon-Tiki (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
I enjoyed the style of the movie-- part documentary, part inside story telling. It holds my attention without wavering. Great!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous and riveting foreign film. A Must watch., November 4, 2013
By 
This review is from: Kon-Tiki (Amazon Instant Video)
Kon-Tiki is an old-school epic like they don’t make ‘em anymore.

It tells the incredible true story of explorer Thor Heyerdahl, who drifted from Peru to Oceania on nothing but a balsa-wood raft. Visually, the film is absolutely stunning. The cinematography is grand and sweeping, with vibrant colors, deep blues, and rich greens. The period detail is rich and polished, though the language switch between English and Swedish may be slightly jarring for some. At it’s heart, Kon-Tiki is an adventure story – one without much special effects, one with a human story at heart, filmed on the open sea, with a few amazing set pieces, great acting, and a star turn from Pĺl Sverre Hagen (6’5 of pure Norway!) as Thor Heyerdahl.

While it may be slightly formulaic, and more than a little predictable, Kon-Tiki is a rousing, blood-pumping, visually stunning adventure film, crafted with style. What more can be said? If you're looking for more easy-to-watch, but smart foreign films, rather than arthouse drama...grab a copy of Kon-Tiki as soon as you can! My rating? 8.5/10 – a must watch.
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Kon-Tiki
Kon-Tiki by Pal Sverre Hagen (DVD - 2013)
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