003768Reviews & Counting
Long Way Round
DVD disk
12.14.2005 By: Jason Coleman
Long Way Round order
David Alexanian/Russ Malkin

Ewan McGregor
Charley Boorman


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Fellow actors and friends Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman decide to go on a motorcycle trip. However, this one spans the globe, as they go 20,000 miles from London to New York. It proves to be a long and arduous journey that tests their will and determination.
With reality television at its peak, it has become almost common place to film everything and anything. Bravo, who did this series, has done some great ones in the past; including the new season of PROJECT GREENLIGHT. For those unfamiliar, it takes a struggling filmmaker, with no connections or way in hell to break into the business and gives them a chance to direct a real film. I only bring this one up because its premise is what makes this kind of show work. It’s geared towards the average viewer with a universal theme; the underdog gets a shot. But in LONG WAY ROUND, there is no one to root for or identify with, as the two leads are just two successful actors (McGregor more so) who decide to go on vacation and film it. (Why not make a little money and get free equipment on the side, right?) So when they’re complaining at one point about not having “enough stuff” (meaning free items, even though BMW donated two bikes!), it’s very hard for the average Joe to relate. After all, these are guys who could just buy what they wanted anyway. (Where’s the conflict?!)

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!)
Trip Preparation (6:51): More glimpses into the prep before the big trip. This one actually uses some of the same damn footage that was in the episodes! (How is that extra?!) Most of this is just guys talking and bullshitting, so why should we watch this? My advice – don’t.

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.
LONG WAY ROUND is made to look like it’s a series whose sole purpose is to enlighten and educate. But it’s yet another tedious reality show that was created as an afterthought by two famous guys who thought it would be cool to have a professional video made of their vacation. Hey guys, here’s a thought - if you don’t want to be bugged on vacation or just want to save people from watching drivel like this, stay off TV and just bring a home video camera like everyone else.
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