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The Endless Summer(1966)
They call it The Endless Summer, the ultimate surfing adventure, crossing the globe in search of the perfect wave. From the uncharted waters of West Africa, to the shark-filled seas of Australia, to the tropical paradise of Tahiti and beyond, two California surfers, Robert August and Mike Hynson, accomplish in a few months what most people never get to do in a lifetime... they live their dream.
For more about The Endless Summer and the The Endless Summer Blu-ray release, see the The Endless Summer Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on October 20, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Michael Hynson, Robert August, Bruce Brown, Terence Bullen, Wayne Miyata
Director: Bruce Brown
» See full cast & crew
The Endless Summer Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, October 20, 2011
Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, Bruce Brown's documentary film "The Endless Summer" (1966) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Monterey Video. Unfortunately, there are no supplemental features included on this disc. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
The Endless Summer is a classic documentary film about surfing directed by American filmmaker Bruce Brown. It was released in theaters across America in 1966, at a time when few people outside of California had seen real surfers.
The film follows Robert August and Mike Hynson, two young men from California, who come up with the brilliant idea to follow summer around the globe. As the Pacific Ocean begins to cool off, they pack up their bags and head to West Africa, a place they have never visited before.
Robert and Mike's first stop is Dakar, Senegal, a beautiful country with friendly people and expensive hotels. The first beach the two surfers visit is exactly what they have been hoping to discover –a quiet and safe place with great waves. They quickly "wire the place" (learn the waves and then get used to them) and begin surfing. A couple of days later, however, the outrageously expensive coffee and food force them to leave.
In Accra, Ghana, Robert and Mike once again find great waves and plenty of people who have never before seen surfers. Before they leave, they inspire a local chief to learn how to surf.
In Nigeria, Robert and Mike surf some of the hottest waves ever – at least according to Bruce, who swears that when he was filming the water temperature was 91 degrees. There are few Nigerians around, however, to see the boys ride the waves.
South Africa proves to be paradise on Earth, a place with perfect waves, perfect weather, and great people. This is also the first place where Robert and Mike meet other surfers just like them, passionate and willing to explore. According to Bruce, some of the best waves ever can be seen, and enjoyed, about 300 miles north of Cape Town on the Indian Ocean. Around Durban, however, surfers should be extra careful as the warm waters are full of not so friendly sharks. South of Durban is Cape St. Francis, the place with some of the longest waves Robert and Mike would surf during their trip.
Next stop is Australia, a country with plenty of deserted beaches full of "men in gray suits" (sharks) and a good number of local surfers. There are great waves in Australia, but according to Bruce serious surfers are guaranteed to have a very difficult time getting used to the place because there are too many distractions, such as beautiful female surfers with provocative bathing suits.
In New Zealand Robert and Mike are shocked to discover that there are more sheep than people there. Surfing conditions, however, are poor, even on the East Coast, known for its waves. But trout-fishing in these parts of the country is great.
Tahiti, the final stop in Robert and Mike's journey, is apparently known as a place with very poor surfing conditions (because a giant barrier reef cuts up all the surf coming into the beach). Nevertheless, the two friends eventually find a couple of good waves to enjoy before heading back to Hawaii.
According to Bruce, good old Hawaii is a great place to surf but it is often overpopulated by enthusiasts. Bruce also casually warns that a lot could go wrong there because the waves are so strong that they could easily kill a man if he isn't careful. "You ride this place with a different attitude", he says. "You don't want to fool around. You want to make that wave more than anything in the world".
Note: In 2002, The Endless Summer was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
The Endless Summer Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Bruce Brown's The Endless Summer arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Monterey Video.
The film looks as I expected - not overly sharp or well detailed (the film was shot with a 16mm camera). Contrast levels are mostly stable, and clarity during close-ups rather pleasing. Colors are also stable and natural. Though soft and fuzzy at times, the image is free of serious compression artifacts. There are no macroblocking patterns either. A few damage marks still pop up here and there, but overall the film has been cleaned up and stabilized very well. All in all, I feel confident stating that more than likely this Blu-ray release of The Endless Summer will be the film's definitive release for years to come. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
The Endless Summer Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. For the record, Monterey Video have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The difference between the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and the English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is fairly small. There are a couple of songs by The Sandals that are slightly better exposed on the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, but not much else. However, this is not to say that there are any serious compromises with the audio. The overwhelming majority of the documentary footage is pretty basic and simply does not benefit too much from the loseless audio. For the record, Bruce Brown's narration is always clear and stable.
The Endless Summer Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Unfortunately, there are no supplemental features to be found on this Blu-ray disc.
The Endless Summer Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Bruce Brown's The Endless Summer is a casual, colorful, truly entertaining escapist film. It is also the ultimate surfing film, one that inspired generations of surfers to look for the perfect wave. If you wonder whether it is worth seeing, or owning, your answer is at the top of this page - The Endless Summer was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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