Written by Hombre Divertido
This documentary from Walt Disney Pictures chronicles the story of the high-tech sloop Morning Light and the fifteen young people (19 to 22 years old) vying for the opportunity to be one of the eleven crewmembers chosen to race against professionals in the 2225-mile Transpac Yacht Race from California to Hawaii.
The brain child of Roy Disney, a thirty-year fan and participant in the Transpac, has a reality television feel to it, but the editing forces the 98 minutes to play out with the shakiness of a land lubber trying to get his sea legs. The direction simply seems unclear as we jump far too rapidly from each of the fifteen participants and their various activities prior to the start of the race. Once the race begins, the focus is certainly more clear, unfortunately it is too centered on the race itself and the aspect of sailing that will only appeal to those with experience, and not enough time is spent on the people, which is where the real story is.
Morning Light does manage to create some excitement related to whether our intrepid crew will win the race, and the customary family reception will yield an emotional response from the majority of most audiences.
Luckily, this new release that hit shelves on June 16th contains enough bonus material to make the entire product worth owning. “Stories from the Sea” with host Jason Earles is mildly informative, and Earles certainly displays talent and demeanor beyond his years.
The key piece of bonus material is “Morning Light: Making the Cut” as aired on ESPN. This special contains everything that the feature documentary is lacking as it delves deeper into our story, picking up the plight of the initial thirty people chosen to compete for the eleven spots. We are introduced to the competitors, and are flies on the wall as they are put through their paces and eventually whittled down to the fifteen found in the movie. The producers, editors, and director, behind “Making the Cut” display a far superior knowledge of what makes such an endeavor successful, by focusing on the people and the dynamic that goes with such an intensely competitive situation.
Recommendation: Though you will see some repetitive footage, watching “Morning Light: Making the Cut” prior to the feature will make for a complete story that is enjoyable for both experienced sailor and novice alike. All the material found in the release make up a complete story that will be enjoyable for the whole family.