FILM RATING: 3 stars
My friend Gabe turned me onto this movie a few weeks ago and I’ve had the Netflix DVD sitting on my coffee table since then. I finally watched it late last night…and it was very good! It’s definately a more classic style movie story, reminding me of the “wholesome” Disney movies I watched as a kid. As an underdog tale, this movie reminds you to dream big and take risks. Just read that tagline at the top of the poster above…I love it!
Director Roger Donaldson is a Kiwi, i.e. he’s from New Zealand, and he’s been wanting to tell this story about fellow Kiwi motorcycle enthusiast Burt Munro for over 20 years. I’ve enjoyed previous Donaldson movies I’ve seen, including Thirteen Days (2000), The Recruit (2003), Cocktail (1988) and No Way Out (1987). Thirteen Days being my favorite of Donaldson’s collection. I think what was lacking from The World’s Fastest Indian was a more “cinematic” story…unfortunately, Burt Munro’s life story just isn’t as exciting as maybe it needed to be in order to make a truly great movie. To me that is one of the most difficult challenges for a screenwriter or a filmmaker is to make a great story into a great movie…not just a great read or a great book. One reason I think people always say “the book was better than the movie” is because the story in the book was great in that format, but it takes something more than just turning that story into a film in order to make it a great movie. There are certain dynamics that we look for in movies that are different than books simply because of the medium. In books, we use our imagination more than we do with movies. Because movies use more of our senses, they automatically have to give us more. Whereas books require us to bring more to the table.
I’m definately not choosing books or movies as one being better than the other. What I’m saying is that they are different mediums and they don’t always translate well into the other. As a movie buff, I want great movies to stand alone within the motion picture medium as a great story with awesome acting, inspiring music, superb visuals, etc. If there is also a great book about the same story…cool!