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Dust 2 Glory
The first few minutes of Dust 2 Glory are intriguing and set up in its way why people go to the Baja California Peninsula to attend an off-road racing event called the Baja 1000. Hours after the 2015 race ended, a man named Lyndon Jones completed the race. Volunteers and racers were the ones left to give him a welcome and interview. Why do you ask? The 51-year-old Jones decided to get on his motorcycle, make his way down and do the race, with no replacement equipment, no support team to help him if he broke down, and a minimum of communications. He just wanted to do the race, and completed it before dying the following spring.
With that setup in mind, Dana Brown (Made), son of Bruce (of Endless Summer fame) has his movie. He interviews participants in the 2016 Baja, who vary in individual skills. They discuss their reasons for going to race and provide backstories for them as much as can be expected. Along with their stories, you get a peak why former Indy and NASCAR drivers go to it, much as actors who fancied themselves as good drivers did like Paul Newman (who completed the race at age 80!), James Garner and Steve McQueen. And you see why folks who aren't as skilled do as well. Brown shows the toll on cars and people over the course of a chaotic couple of days in the desert.
I spent some time in Hawaii a million years ago, where the Ironman triathlon (swim, marathon and biking) occurs every October, and you see the human spirit and human condition play itself out on the heat and roads. And a few years ago, NBC started taking over the broadcast rights for the event from ABC. When they did that (narrated by John Tesh), they started using the formula that Dust 2 Glory appears to borrow from; in interviewing the main players and more narratively favorable amateurs, it brings you into the spectacle of the event a little more and the result when these guys hit the finish line, you feel the relief.
In Step Into Liquid, Brown modernizes the surfing experience for those unfamiliar to the…sport? Profession? Lifestyle? It makes for a more resonant experience and you can see why people get involved with it. You get that same thing to a degree in Dust 2 Glory, but because the event is a little close-ended, (searching for the perfect wave vs. completing a race) it tends to take Brown away from focusing on things that would perhaps more appeal to those outsiders wondering why they're watching a story on a hundreds of miles long off-road race. Less of a knock and more of an observation.
Overall Dust 2 Glory is a good movie, even enjoyable at times, but in the Brown surfing movies you leave the movie wanting to get out and try riding a wave five minutes later, the passion is that palpable. The end of the movie talks about it being hard to explain until you actually do the race, and I think that that's true, sadly, of the movie that covers it.The Blu-ray:
In 1.78:1, a lot of the work in Dust 2 Glory is mobile. Whether done via GoPros on tripods in the car or helmets on the motorcycle, or with drones on overhead shots on the road, color is natural and not over saturated, and image detail is loyal to the original image. The interviews are sit down affairs and also look nice, and finish line shots include stubble and caked in dirt and are as real as you'd want them to. A fairly straightforward project from Magnet.The Sound:
Dolby Atmos which replicates the race as much as one could expect, in addition to with a score of music cues and songs to help hit the right emotional tones. Dialogue and narration is consistent in the center channel and requires little adjustment, directional effects are minimal and channel panning is a little more present and is convincing. All in all the film gets good justice on Blu-ray.The Extras:
There are a couple of 20-ish minute interviews with the Browns, Bruce's last and Dana's on this film, as Bruce recalls his career and legacy, and Dana on his father's impact and Dana's work on this film.Final Thoughts:
Dust 2 Glory is an entertaining watch and even provides a poignant moment or two, but doesn't elevate itself into something that a lot of people would advocate watching, particularly difficult for a reviewer, I know. Technically it's a fine presentation and the interviews are good, though a commentary would have been fun to accompany for this. If you're super curious I'd give it a watch, but as you watch it you'll feel it's a familiar experience you've had for other films.