(directed by Joachim Rønning
and Espen Sandberg, 2012)
****+ (out of 5)
* * *
> As a young teen, I read Thor Heyerdahl’s gripping true adventure book and saw his original film in the theatres. I remember loving the true-life adventure of it all- but I sure don’t remember being half-so bowled over as I was by this breathtaking remake!
. It’s the story of a great Danish adventurer who set out to prove the scientific community wrong in their conviction that Polynesia was originally populated from Asia, by placing his life on the line to do something that popular wisdom said could not be done: to build an exact replica of an ancient balsa wood raft and drift from the shore of Peru to the Polynesian islands on wind and water currents alone. Had I any inkling that this current dramatization of the story was more exciting and gripping than either the book or the 1950 documentary, I’d have scraped my pennies together and rushed out to see it on the big screen! Man was this a great flick!
. High production values are evident in every frame, strong acting, subtle scripting, effective music, taut editing and skilled storytelling combine to thrilling effect. The shark scenes were about as edge-of-your-seat nailbitingly tense as any I have ever seen. Sweat beading on your forehead, you squirm in your seat and grip the armrests and grit your teeth! For me, there are just not close to enough modern adventure films like this. Now, they’re mostly overblown fantasies- completely divorced from real world context, full of impossible heroes and supernatural powers, time travel, high-tech gadgetry and similar silliness, expressed in loud flash and bang. Where are the great films of my youth about explorers, discoveries, bold expeditions into the unknown, the conquering of the natural world? Nowadays, they are few and far between.
. This incarnation of KON-TIKI was just masterful entertainment down to the insanely gripping final sequence. Put it in your Netflix queue today, take some Dramamine and lash yourself to the armchair!!
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