David Alexanian/Russ Malkin
The other problem with this series is that it’s one big walking contradiction. Both McGregor and Boorman constantly complain that crossing the borders shouldn’t take so long, yet do eventually get across because McGregor is so famous. Then they have the gall to complain that they don’t want to be seen as celebrities and complain that being followed and escorted by police is not “what we wanted”. So let me get this straight. Fame is a huge roadblock in they way of two guys who just want to be left alone, right? Don’t they realize that the only reason they got into certain countries, got treated so nice, and got invited into strangers’ houses with open arms, is because one of them is friggin Obi-Wan Kenobi?! (Talk about living in denial!) McGregor is the only reason this show was given the go in the first place, having all the charisma and clout, while Boorman is merely the tag along, coming off like the typical fat, funny friend that made Artie Lange famous. Despite all the hardships, trials and tribulations of the two weary riders, this seems like a trip that (like they’re doing!) needs to be experienced first hand to be appreciated. People may love reality TV, but it’s mostly for the unhappy factor, people love seeing that someone’s life is worse than theirs. When the worse thing that happens here is that McGregor gets sprayed in the eye with gasoline by sidekick Boorman, you know the guys at Bravo are earning their pay. A show like this has to have something for the viewer. Just riding alongside two guys on vacation, may have seemed like a great idea; someone just forgot to tell them the audience has to enjoy it too.
Note: This is a review of the seven episode, two disc version - not the ten episode, three disc version. (Thank god!)
First Five Days (17:50): Again, what’s with using footage already seen? But here, in footage from the first five days, they manage to show stuff that’s more boring then what was on the show, a definite feat.
”I Just Can’t Do It.” (2:46): Here, McGregor addresses his video diary directly, constantly fumbling his words. If this was supposed to be telling or poignant, I didn’t get it. Then Boorman, in, yes, footage we have already seen, yucks it up for the camera. I ain’t laughing.
Glacier Plane Ride (4:11): What should have been just great visual photography from a small plane, is instead mostly a joke fest for McGregor and Boorman to act like children. This is why you should experience this for yourself, so you can leave the kids at home.
Wrong Way Round (6:05): Never really got the theme of this one, but it’s mostly more stupid footage that was probably deemed to boring, crude, or jerky to air. If so, why show it here? (The shots of the animals are nice though!)
Post Trip Interview (5:07): This is an afterthought by the guys. Smells like a pitch to sell the soundtrack and book. Though love it when McGregor says the show was merely supposed to be “an account of the trip and nothing more”. Your video is ready to take home, Mr. McGregor.
There is also UNICEF Information (a great and honorable charity, but a shameful subplot to the show – aka think photo op!), plus a Photo Gallery, but keep your button finger ready, as this one requires work from you.