Long Way Round-Complete TV Series: Special Edition (2004)
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Trip Preparation (6:49)
Featurette-The First Five Days (17:49)
Featurette-"I Just Can't Do It!" (2:43)
Featurette-Glacier Plane Ride (4:08)
Featurette-Wrong Way Round! (6:02)
Interviews-Crew-Thoughts After The Trip (8:25)
Featurette-The Dusty Road & Charley's Puncture (2:10)
Featurette-Claudio's Story (4:44)
Featurette-Jimmy's Story (1:31)
Featurette-Ewan talks about The Stereophonics (1:06)
Featurette-UNICEF Information (0:30)
|Year Of Production||2004|
|Running Time||554:13 (Case: 600)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (3)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
Claudio von Planta
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Long Way Round is a fantastic travelogue adventure series for television, charting the preparation, challenges and distance involved in mounting an enormous motorcycle trek from London to New York via Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Canada and the U.S.A.
In April of 2004, actor-mates Ewan McGregor (Big Fish, Star Wars Episodes I-III) and Charley Boorman (Serpent's Kiss) climbed aboard a pair of BMW motorcycles in London for a trek that would take them over three months. The ten episodes of the series show in detail the intense preparation that was involved for the trip, the fun the guys share together, the generous, sometimes odd characters they meet along the way, and the hardships they endure as a result of the unforgiving environment and terrain. Both the scenery and photography is stunning, but the series is as much about the friendship shared by these two mates as the journey itself.
One of the pre-requisites of the trip was to have some kind of charity involvement, and that came in the form of UNICEF. The pair make a number of stops along the way to visit UNICEF centers, highlighting the plight of many unfortunate children and the good work carried out by their volunteers. The importance of donations is mentioned, but not drummed into the viewer distastefully. The pair appear genuinely moved by their experiences in these cases and it certainly adds to the enjoyment of the series considerably.
My original intention was to compile a detailed episode-by-episode summary of the journey, but I now feel that would betray anyone who is yet to view the series; there are just too many potentials for spoilers. I'll just recommend that you make an effort to see this entertaining, enlightening, addictive series for yourself.
Charley and Ewan have reunited for another new series this year (2008), titled Long Way Down. This series sees the two gents travel from Scotland to the bottom of South Africa, and promises to be equally enticing viewing. Charley also filmed a diversion of sorts in 2006 about his experiences in the Dakar rally, which is also excellent.
The Long Way Round Special Edition package contains three dual-layered discs, with the first eight episodes spread across discs one and two, and the final two episodes bundled together with the extras on disc three. My only criticism of this set is the repetition of the opening and closing credits after every episode, and also the same intro montage each time explaining the trip and the cameras. Thankfully, the Long Way Down package does not suffer from these issues.
This video transfer is consistent with a standard definition television broadcast and is presented in 1.78:1 complete with 16x9 enhancement.
An assortment of cameras were used to capture the trip, from your stock standard HD cameras to miniature helmet-cams which were worn by Ewan and Charley. The helmet cameras appear slightly grainy next to the other footage, but they do add a valuable first-hand view of the trip, particularly during phases where there was no cameraman present.
The bulk of the footage is sharp and clear, as you would expect from such a recent production. Colours are fantastic and some of the scenery is absolutely spectacular, leaping off the screen.
I didn't note any MPEG compression issues at all. Obviously there are no film artefacts to be concerned about.
There are no subtitle streams provided.
All three discs in this set are dual-layered.I didn't notice any interruptions resembling a layer break, so I presume the transitions are between episodes.
There's only one soundtrack; the original 2-channel English encoded at 256Kb/s. The dialogue quality varies due to issues such as microphone placement, but I never had any major problems understanding what was being said. I often found that the muffled helmet microphones were the worst culprits for distortion and noise in the dialogue, but these occurrences were few. Audio sync appears to be spot on.
There's obviously no surround or subwoofer activity. Pro Logic II processing didn't yield any particularly exciting results.
Some incidental music has been added for dramatic effect and it is barely noticeable, but effective. The show's theme is a little on the dreary side, but suits the sentiment of the series well.
|Surround Channel Use|
All of the extras are contained on disc three, along with the final two episodes of the series.
A selection of 25 photos covering a cross section of the trip.
Many of these serve as scene extensions with some familiar material, but they are certainly worth a look. This is a much longer look at the trip preparations, their gear and Ewan and Charley larking about in the office.
This piece covers a number of diversions the pair made during the first few days that weren't included in the final cut of the show.
A sad moment, as an exhausted Ewan discusses the Road of Bones and tries in vain to commit some time to his diary camera, while Charley pitches his tent.
A slightly longer cut of Ewan & Charley's flight over the glacier, as seen in the show.
A reel of amusing moments from the trip, some old and some new.
The two mates discuss their intentions regarding the series, their friendship and how it has affected them personally. Unlike the rest of the content, this piece is presented in 1.33:1 full frame.
Producers Russ and David reflect on the series and the conditions they endured. Cameraman Claudio speaks about his relationship working and traveling alongside Charley & Ewan on the trip.
The title says it all; this was a rare confrontation between Ewan and Claudio.
A look at Claudio's mishap and the events that led to him resting for a week in Mongolia.
Jimmy recounts a drunken, vodka-fuelled evening which saw him having to use a camera the next day, while terribly hung over.
Charley and Ewan praise the series' theme song and explain a little about how it was written.
A short piece on the good work done by the organisation and their reliance on donations.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The transfer is great.
The extras are substantial.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-3806 (7.1 Channels)|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora III floor-standing Mains and Surrounds. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Center. Mirage 10 inch powered sub.|