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Morning Light

Genre: , ,

Cast: Chris Branning, Kate Theisen, Chris Schubert, and Graham Brant-Zawadzki

Director: Mark Monroe

Rated: PG

Review By:
Tom Herrmann

School:
Suny Purchase '11

Quote:
"When life gives you lemons, you clone those lemons and make super-lemons." -Clone High

Release Date: June 16th, 2009
Click to Buy on DVD or Bluray!
Overall Grade: B-

Morning Light

Review By: Tom Herrmann
TomHerrmann@TheCinemaSource.com

Morning Light

Movie Grade: C

DVD Features Grade: A-

Overall Grade: B-

Documentaries took an odd turn sometime around the early 2000's from the bland sort where it is comprised mostly of interviews and pre-shot footage to the more commercial style. These new documentaries are much more interactive with their audience and attempt to create new footage in the style of documenters like Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock. The great thing about this new approach is that it still manages to educate the viewer while also bringing in a less intellectual audience, thus furthering its message.

Disney has started to dip their feet into the documentary pool recently and has grown to have a respectable assortment of documentaries; mostly having animal and nature themes. Morning Light is one of their more recent documentaries which follows a group of sailors who want to compete in the Transpacific Yacht Race. The Transpac is an open-water race that begins in California and ends in Honolulu. We watch the original fifteen contestants for the race be tested until the final eleven of them take their first and possibly only shot to race in the Transpac.

From that description, the film might sound like an attempt to appeal to the shallow audience of trashy reality TV shows; well it does. Everything about the first half of the documentary and a lot of the second half was very reminiscent of something you could catch on VH1's Celebreality block. The shots were all edited together the same way and the same style of music overlaying was used among other thing. It makes sense to try and reach a new target audience, but this kind of thing could wind up turning documentary fans away from this one.

Aside from the reality show vibe of the entire movie, the idea of having a documentary about a boat race isn't something that jumps off of the screen and into the interested part of my brain. It's hard to really care about anything that's going on in the movie and I am usually pretty easily entertained with documentaries. From the most intense scenes, to funny scenes, all the way to sad scenes, nothing in this movie gave me any kind of emotional reaction. I just didn't care about any of the participants. They were all very uninteresting people and the monologs that they overdubbed during certain scenes of the movie all came off as very scripted.

Stories from the Sea started off with a very cheesy introduction but actually proves to be much more interesting than the entire film. It is a set of interviews with sailors who talk bout the worst possible things that could happen to them whiteout at sea and some specific stories that have happened to them. It would have been a better idea to have the entire documentary be a longer version of this feature because it was

better in just about every way. The only problem with it was that as a special feature, it was far too long. They actually wouldn't have had to make it too much longer for it to have its own DVD.

Morning Light – Making the Cut was an ESPN special that also seemed to trump the actual movie in most ways. Given that it was made for ESPN it would only make sense that it would have a better idea of how to draw an audience to sports than Disney, but it is a little shocking how much better these special features are than the movie they are supposed to support. Even though it had interviews with some of the same people on both features, neither one of them comes off as better than the other when comparing the two.

Disney has made some of the best movies ever. It is easy to say that considering how long films like Pinocchio and Peter Pan have been around and how entertaining they still remain. I remember as a child enjoying the same movie my parents had at the same age and there is something special about knowing that my children will have the same thing. But for every 101 Dalmatians type classic there is always the live action 101 Dalmatians to bring their name down. Morning Light definitely falls into the latter category, unless you are a sailing enthusiast and then your opinion may be different. Movies like this almost make me feel bad for Disney studios, then I remember how much money they make and I go back to considering a mass robbery.

Movie Grade: C

DVD Features Grade: A-

Overall Grade: B-

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