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Trips Money Can't Buy (2001)

TV documentary in which film star Ewan McGregor spends 10 days trekking through virgin jungle in the Honduras, Central America, with survival expert Ray Mears and Dr Chris Begley.

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TV documentary in which film star Ewan McGregor spends 10 days trekking through virgin jungle in the Honduras, Central America, with survival expert Ray Mears and Dr Chris Begley.

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2001 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Pleasant but slightly disjointed celebumentary
23 January 2010 | by See all my reviews

Take two immensely talented and personable characters, Mears and McGregor, and film them in a gorgeous and dynamic environment: what could possibly go wrong? Well, nothing specific, but the whole feels slightly less than the sum of its parts. Mears and McGregor have both starred in thematically similar productions, and are utterly engrossing in them. However, crammed together like this in a single show, there's an uncertainty of focus.

Is it a Ray Mears documentary? A Ewan McGregor voyage of self discovery? It seems to swither between the two from scene to scene. Throw in a token and sketchy side-quest to find hidden rainforest cities, and it's just too busy, and ultimately slightly unsatisfying.

One problem is that Mears and McGregor don't appear to gel perfectly. They get on, but rather than being peers, it's a teacher-student relationship which suppresses the ebullient personality that shines out in McGregor's Long Way... productions. And the focus on McGregor's narrative means that Mears pops up occasionally to install a pearl of wisdom but then fades into the background again, without being able to build a strong narrative of his own.

For all that, it's still enjoyable watching, but there was probably enough material in the can to give both stars a more satisfying amount of screen time if it hadn't been crammed into a single hour. A missed opportunity, perhaps.


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