DVD REVIEW: Long Way Down: Complete TV Series
The sequel to their successfully popular 2004 due East voyage from London to New York City, The Long Way Round, sees Ewan MacGregor and Charlie Boorman, along with a half dozen producers and cameramen, traveling from the Northern most point of the United Kingdom to the Southern most tip of Africa on motorbikes. Spanning three months, the impressive journey takes the group through 18 countries, all manner of climates and ten 45-minute episodes; the majority spent traversing the sometimes-wild roads of the African continent.
A documentary of the simple life of traveling, experiencing new lands and people, the journey is beautifully captured as the group tackles the trials and joys of the road. The landscape, animal life, and representations of African’s every day life from Ethiopia to Kenya or Botswana are striking and delightful. Its apparent Charlie and Ewan are good friends who relish the out of doors, camping in odd spots along the way, and following adventurous paths that are opened up to them.
The series does not disappoint in terms of content, to say nothing of all the extras that come along with the 3 DVDs of the actual episodes. Though it takes the story a bit to actually get to Africa (not until the 3rd episode), the sheer variety of counties and people represented is the show’s greatest strength; taking important time out to visit UNICEF run orphanages, schools, and historical locations. Still, the pair is always rushing off to the next destination, the time constraints of the project calling for successive days of 250 mile or more travel schedules. The end of the series is somewhat anticlimactic; the actual arrival in Cape Town almost nonexistent in the narrative. Even so, the series is not about arriving, but the wonderful time they had getting there and the beauty of Africa that’s translated.