The term "representing" is often tossed around in certain circles to remind people that their actions and behavior affect more than just themselves. Bill Pinkney is a virtual poster child for what "representing" really should be--for Pinkney represents not only his African-American heritage, but humanity's potential at large. Pinkney, a makeup artist by trade, became the first African-American to sail solo around the world, a feat that took him almost two years to accomplish.
This inspiring story is told in this short (too short, actually) and sweet, mostly first-person documentary with occasional voiceover by Bill Cosby. Following Pinkney's route from Boston, across the Atlantic, round the Cape of Good Hope, then on to Australia, New Zealand and up the east coast of South America back to Boston, the documentary captures not only Pinkney's indomitable spirit, but also brief histories of several of his stopping points.
The only real problem with this piece, which otherwise should be a boon to teachers and motivational speakers everywhere, is its brevity. The voyage, which took 22 months, is covered in about 45 minutes, and therefore we are getting what often seems like the Reader's Digest version of events. A more leisurely pace would have allowed deeper background into both Pinkney and the many incredible places he visited.
Even so, the documentary should be a wonderful teaching aid for those interested in motivating students and letting them know their dreams can become reality with a little hard work.
The 1.33:1 image is of average quality--much of it shot by handheld or on-board video cameras.
A standard stereo track is perfectly adequate and captures all of Pinkney's spontaneous comments with good clarity.
A brief (again, too brief) featurette about Pinkney's work with a rebuilt replica of the Amistad is interesting but too rushed. There is also a promo gallery from MPI.
Bill Pinkney is an inspirational figure, no doubt about it. This is an extremely worthwhile rental to anyone wanting to spend 45 minutes seeing the human spirit triumph over incredible odds. For those with a special interest in African-American history and/or sailing, this is recommended.
"G-d made stars galore" & "Hey, what kind of a crappy fortune is this?" ZMK, modern prophet