Once in a Blue Moon
Instructor, narrator, producer etc.: Carl McNeil
Reviewed by Martin Joergensen I find it hard say anything bad about this DVD. It has always been a golden rule of mine when I review something - even something really good - to find just a tiny bit to criticize, but it took me quite a while in this case.
But here goes: There are no scene entries in this DVD's menu.
There you have it!
That's about the worst thing I can say about Once in a Blue Moon.
So either you see the whole thing, or you skip or fast forward.
Not that I can find any reason at all to skip or fast forward, not to mention not seeing the whole film. I have seen it in its full length many times already, and know that I will do so again, because this is undoubtedly the most beautiful fishing DVD's I have seen.
These days every second DVD you see is HD, widescreen, crystal clear and on the cutting edge. Modern gear allows layman to shoot video in a technical quality, which was impossible just a few years back. So everybody shoots HD.
But the step from shooting in HD to producing something like this is a big one. This has much more than technical quality.
This film is well paced, images are well composed, it's very well edited and first of all just so well filmed that it makes me yearn for trout fishing, clear water and New Zealand more than ever before. And that's a lot!
The film is made by Carl McNiel and Jeanie Ackley, and tells the story about the NZ "mouse year" phenomenon and what that does to the fish and the fishing on New Zealand's south island. Through a combination of great ambiance shots, fishing scenes and people telling about the biological factors leading up to such a year and their repercussions on fish and fishing, a great story is unraveled to the viewer.
The way these well built up scenes illustrate the behavior of the mice and the fish, how it's explained and how - time and time again - fish are caught, which support the narrative... well, it's just amazing.
After having seen and loved the latest year's large crop of "grunge" movies with rock music, hand held scenes, grainy footage and a lot of anarchy involved, it's a blessing to see something, which holds the flag of visual aesthetics high, and uses both editing, sound and commentary to keep you glued to the seat, not because you're afraid to fall off the fast paced train, but because you're spellbound.
As much as I love the rough style, I must say that it's great to see a film like this.
Of course New Zealand isn't the worst place to gather material for such an adventure. Anybody who has been there can attest to that, and the rest of us who have seen Lord of the Rings will know that the nature out there must be fantastic.
A bunch of aerial shots establish that fact beautifully in this film. But it is equally well made in the much smaller perspective: the mouse on the floor that jumps and skips when the door slams, the wet mouse drying and cleaning itself after a swim and the tight underwater shot of a swimming mouse.
And in all this I haven't even mentioned that the fishing is well executed too. Nice and precise casts, shots of cruising fish and floating flies, lots of scenes with takes and misses, and fights in water so clear and quarters so tight that it makes you hold back your breath.
I have yet to show this film to someone who has not been ooh'ing and ahh'ing all the way through, and just confirmed my assessment of this as pure bred Global Class.
Go to the web site and see the trailers and rest assured that they aren't just a concentrate of the best scenes of the DVD, but indeed very representative of almost all 45 minutes.
Sample from the video/DVD