Review of Jupiter’s travels DVD

For some reason I just bought this film originally made in 2001 (and its the ancient Macs that give the date away – Ted uses one of those Batman-ish black Mac G3 laptops that I have stashed away somewhere). The film follows veteran motorcycle traveler Ted Simon on part of his second round the world on two wheels trip made when he was 70 years old. These kinds of films face a couple of challenges. One is that Long Way Round and its sequel have set the tone for these biking travel pics with a kind of fast paced (annoying) reality TV style. Filmaker Manfred Waffender’s approach is very different. This is a more slow paced introspective take on life on the road. Lets be up front. I wanted to enjoy this but found it awful mostly. Ted, despite being a legend can be a miserable old git and talks endlessly about being old. His mission, following the tracks of a journey made in 1974 to ‘see how the world has changed’ was destined to be disappointing and possibly mawkish and misguided. Its a low budget film – nothing wrong with that at all – but part of its low budget is that it ends abruptly with the juorney 1/3 way through, with a voice over of Ted on the phone telling someone where he will go next. In my view, this is a poor ending. But Waffender and his team have a sensitive eye to their surroundings and there are one or two beautifully lingering shots, almost frozen frames, of people and buildings in Africa. here’s an aesthetic sense that you get nowhere in the Way Round documentaries. But once the film ended (abruptly) I found myself recalling that the experience of watching this had set me back €25. Hmm. You can get the film from post@waffender.de if you still want to. Or email me and I will give you my copy for free.