"This is Palin's best geo-travel documentary, starting in Alaska and traveling counterclockwise around the Pacific to the starting point, taking in Russia, Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, Philippines, Borneo, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and north. It's better than the newer ones in that it's less scripted and has more spontaneous "finds" and situations. In it, the road is just as important as the destinations, although the transport is occasionally skipped on big airplane jumps.
The DVD contains deleted scenes and a recent interview of Palin as he reminisces on the trip (on the 3rd DVD). Some of the deleted scenes are a plus such as when he first confronts a high tech toilet in the ryokan on Sadogashima.
However, some of the deleted scenes remind you that the scenes they were deleted from were also deleted (Pythonesque?) in this DVD version. One such is the matsuri in Nagasaki, which starts with a close up of dragon heads and ends where men are pulling the mikoshi around the shrine grounds. This is totally left out of the DVD version and the only traces are in the deleted scenes. However, the deleted scenes don't contain the original. If you want to see this missing section, don't sell or toss out your old VHS copies. They are on that release. I don't know what else is missing, but the VHS tapes supposedly add up to 600 minutes and the 3 DVDs add up to 488. There must be further editing that cut out sections of the original program. It's too long to specifically look for more just for this review, but if you're familiar with both, you many find yourself asking "What happened to that part?"
If you're not familiar with the original program this is still the best of Palin's many travels (Ireland, 80 Days, Pole to Pole, Sahara, Himalaya, New Europe & Hemingway). Although there have been many changes since along his route, it is still surprisingly pertinent. How could bunjee jumping in New Zealand go out of date?"
"This trip is just so long and unusual that you can't help being intrigued and fascinated by it all. Ten months and 50,000 miles traveling through 17 countries all the way around the Pacific Ocean!
Specifically, these countries were visited: USA (Alaska), Russia (Siberia), Japan, S. Korea (entry to N. Korea was denied), China, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, USA (California and Washington), Canada (British Columbia) and back to Alaska again.
What makes Michael Palin's trips so special is the enthusiasm, wit and charm he brings to the endeavor. Plus the ability of the crew to find extremely interesting people for Michael to talk to and very interesting activities for him to sample. And the whole thing is beautifully photographed, making you want to visit the various places yourself.
Among some of the most interesting points on the trip are a wedding ceremony in South Korea, the Russian Gulag in Siberia, the CaoDai religion in Vietnam, Philippine women learning how to be foreign workers, lassoing camels in Australia, a French shaman in the Amazon valley, narcotics problems in Bogotá, and illegal immigrants from Mexico to the USA.
My only criticism is that the west coast of the USA and Canada got glossed over. I'm guessing that Michael Palin, after nine months of traveling, just wanted to get home.
The DVD version of this TV program consists of three discs. These discs contain the ten 50-minute episodes (8 1/2 hours) plus some extra material:
- a very interesting interview with Michael Palin (28 minutes) - some scenes that didn't make it into the TV program (almost 50 minutes) - a funny meeting with Eric Idle, with lots of inside jokes for Monty Python fans (8 minutes)
Even without the extra material I'd give these DVDs a "highly recommended" rating. The extra material, especially the interview with Michael Palin, makes it even more wonderful.
Note that there are also two books available about this trip, one by Michael Palin and one by Basil Pao (photographs only). Both highly recommended.
This was fantastic
R Quay | Missouri | 07/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK, I know it's not out yet, but I recorded this on DVD when it ran on Bravo several years ago and I remembered watching it on PBS way before then. This was when I first heard of Michael Palin's travels. This is probably my favorite of all of them. Even so, I still plan to buy this when it comes out.
In this travel, Palin begins on Little Diomede Island in the Bering Strait and travels, counterclockwise, around the Pacific Ocean visiting Russia, South Korea, Japan, China, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, the US, and Canada, but due to weather is unable to return to his starting point about one year later."
Full Circle is amazing!
L. belden | 08/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Full circle is an incredible 10,000 plus mile journey around the entire pacific rim. My favorite parts are the geo-reserve in kamchatka, the trip up the yangzte (pre dam), the jet boat in new zealand, and the amazon river boat trip. It's great that Palin documents China like this just before the technology explosion."
Michael Palin opens the world.
B. Bisbey | Los Angeles, CA | 03/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The adventure continues with Michael doing the Pacific Rim. A timeless travel adventure taking in countries and their peoples as they are. His travel adventures show that people are just people, different yet not really. Presenting and encountering different languages and cultures with all their wonders and taking all difficulties with a smile, 'If it can go wrong, it will go wrong'. Taking and making each delay and encounter as a new adventure. If you have never traveled internationally, Mr. Palin's travel series is a great way to start your own adventure. Safe journeys."