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Long Way Down
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Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman return for another unforgettable adventure this time riding the Long Way Down. Facing a brand new set of challenges the intrepid pair discover spectacular but unforgiving terrain, rich cultures and unforgettable local characters. They travel From John O Groats to Cape Town descending through Western Europe and Africa before arriving at the southern most tip of the continent. On their incredible journey their endurance, biking skills and friendship are tested to the limit. They are partnered along the way by friends and producer/directors David Alexanian and Russ Malkin who were responsible for organizing the expedition and filming the documentary. This three disc special edition contains the entire extended 10 part TV series of Long Way Down with an additional two hours of episode footage. It also features new extras, including unseen and extended footage.
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I would have given this five stars except I cannot recommend it to be viewed by young children or people who are sensitive to profanity. These guys are real. And so is their language.
It's a bit less long (at least than the full length LWR), and so feels really about right for length. There are several events they experience where they are genuinely having fun, and that makes watching the video fun, too. Having Ewan's wife along for part of it adds a new dimension not found in the original series.
The quality of the video is as good or better than the original. Africa actually seems to have more variety than the LWR trek. And there is a lot more events that involve meeting people it seems than in LWR, which I think is part of why it's at least as enjoyable.
Ewan and Charley are both very approachable and likable. And they are very different, too. They play off of each other very well, and you can see how much they like and respect each other. Their friendship, and their genuineness, add immensely to the enjoyment. Sometimes they can each be a bit melodramatic, but in the end, this is simply who they are and it is genuine. They are both "real" people, and I respect that.
Having watched each series once or twice, if I was going to pick one up again, it would I think be this one. This set is a bargain for what you get. There is also a complete set that has the original (full length), this set, and also the Race to Dakar issue, all in one set. Race to Dakar is getting hard to find otherwise. I would get that except I have 2 of the 3 already. You can't go wrong with this DVD.
Much of the dialog and visuals are recorded conversations and comments from helmet mounted cameras and microphones and so are at times muffled, but the gist of what they are saying and the accompanying images are more than explanatory. Their well recorded encounters with Rawandan holocaust survivors and other nationals as they travel are moving and powerful in many cases.
I recommend this series if you love travel, especially motocycle travel, as well as their Long Way Around Series(even better!). WARNING - there is a fair amount of coarse language and so this is probably not appropriate for younger children.
The cultural shifts from one country to another were significant, and the poverty as well as the ravages of war crossed many international borders. As UNICEF representatives, I think Charlie and Ewan's presence at several orphanages along their route told stories about the country and the kids we'd never have known about otherwise. The deprivations were astounding, and should all make us feel especially blessed to live in the relative safety and abundance in the free countries we're in. Both my wife and I vicariously enjoyed the lengthy and demanding travels our friends were on, and more than once I wished to be able to join these fellas on their amazing trips. Bravo to Charlie and Ewan for sharing their journeys with us!
Criticism- the EXTRAs have no explanation where they fall on the trip. A couple I guessed, others could have been anywhere.