Thursday, April 28, 2016

14 Minutes from Earth (2016) Tribeca 2016

14 MINUTES FROM EARTH the story of Google executive Alan Eustace's record breaking free fall from 25 miles up. We watch as how Eustace assembles his team, builds the equipment needed to do the jump and the executes the feat.

This is a great tale of human research and adventure. Its one that will get your blood pumping and and your pulse racing once it all goes down.

The trouble is that the film is hurt by a cinematic style that makes it look like any one of the testosterone fueled History Channel or Discovery Channel shows that have lousy narration and pump everything up with effects and booming music. You know the ones that create false suspense by showing you a weirdly edited moment where something goes wrong just before you go to commercial and then when you go back the suspenseful thing is found to be a non starter? Its that sort of thing that happens a couple of times in 14 MINUTES and it wrecks the genuine suspense of the event. Of course it's not entirely surprising since the directors work for the National Geographic Channel which itself is full of shows that do the same thing.

The other problem is that the whole thing seems  much too slick. Put part of the blame on the narration which can be so purple, and condescending, especially at the start, that the film seems like a sales reel or a 15 minute TV segment bumped up to 85 minutes.

Don't get me wrong, I like the film a great deal, but I wanted something that doesn't feel like so much stuff that's on TV.

A Q&A followed the Tribeca screening with Eustace and directors Jerry Kolber, Adam “Tex” Davis and it was funny charming and more akin to what the film should have been. The talk went into how things were filmed (go pros, and the reduction of the film crew from 7or 8 down to two or three-the film crew was bigger than the tech crew at the start),  changes that were made to the suit (the placement of switches and such changed), did Google fund the jump (no but they gave Eustace all the time he needed to do it) and did Eustace's wife make good on her threat to beat him up (no). There was lots of joviality as every one joked and kibitzed bringing out details the film left out.

I like the film but I loved the Q&A

(Serious Question- was I the only one in the theater who bought his own ticket and didn't know someone connected to the film or the jump?)

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