GFF video/DVD review
EquilibriumThe last frontier
Instructor, narrator, producer etc.: Grant Wiswell
Reviewed by Martin Joergensen A fishing film in the form of a classic documentary - and a good one of the kind. A close to perfect mix of environmental consciousness and fishing action, but all too short.
In line with the tradition from documentaries and TV-features the video sets the historic perspective using old photos from back when Dad was a small girl and fish were plentiful and always dead on a stringer. This is mixed it with areal footage and fantastic shots of fish in clear water and bears in the breathtaking landscapes, which has been artificially aged with scratches, vignetting and the flicker of the shutter in old, mechanical cameras. I don't particularly fancy such effects and certainly would prefer to see the original quality in which these passages were most likely shot.
But after the intro we luckily get the full quality. Because this is Alaska and Bristol Bay. Although the message is a serious one, and some sequences are grim and ugly, showing the large oil plants and refineries, closed industry, traffic and smoke, most of the shots show pristine nature, fantastic wildlife and some very nice fishing. And that certainly deserves the best possible video quality.
The video is a very well argumented and documented ode to the Bristol Bay area, a place where you will find some of the largest salmon runs on the planet and a place that is severely in danger of being destroyed because of development and exploitation of the natural resources.
The video features interviews with influential, knowledgeable and experienced people, lots of beautiful fishing sequences and shots of the breathtaking Alaskan nature. You will want to take a standpoint and maybe even act after seeing it.
With a running time of less than 20 minutes this DVD joins the row of very short DVD's that I have been watching recently, and even though I appreciate short and concise and certainly prefer it over longwinded and unfocused, I do think that a commercial DVD needs to be longer. The marketing calls it "a cinematic journey, two years in the making", and that just underscores that there must have been so much raw material that it's a shame so little has found its way to the finished product. And a "cinematic journey" it's not in spite of its destination and the beauty of the place.
If you pay 20 USD for a DVD you expect to get more than you can find on Vimeo and YouTube, and these days where HD and feature length online videos are common, I would personally hesitate paying good money for something almost identical in quality and form. Of course the content might not be the same, but the entertainment value is. And the value for money is of course much higher on the free online video.
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