- In this report I will refer to Tell It On the Mountain interchangeably as a film and documentary.
- All of the photos in this report are screen captures from the film.
am a big fan of documentaries and educational films. From science, to
biographies, to history, I watch them all; I have even been known to
watch documentaries about making documentaries. So having the
opportunity to review a film on the PCT? Wow, what a chance…that is if
it is good. But what if it is bad? After all it is over 2 hrs. plus
another 55 minutes of extras (extras and bios)! This could be a very
pleasant or rather painful 3 hours of my life. With that in mind I put the
disk in my DVD player, got comfortable on the couch, and started
watching the film (sans popcorn).
The opening graphics were
nice. They list the options and the selection is indicated by a pair of
boot prints; nice touch. Being familiar with documentaries and related
films, I was prepared for low quality title graphics and/or overuse of
a bunch of “really cool effects” that the filmmakers just could not
help but use. What I was not prepared for was very attractive, simple,
professional, and extremely appropriate title scenes and graphics. And
by giving “Mother Nature” billing for providing the scenery, showed the
film was not going to be taking its self too seriously. A really good
mentioned, the film starts out with some very nice title graphics and
opening scenes, then goes on to provide some information about the PCT,
the people involved, and especially the few folks who for the lack of
another term star in this film. The rest of
the film is a series of clips, of various length, showing the trail
experience from the point of view of the participants as well as some
clips from interviews and what is probably video taken by the
filmmakers. The film roughly progresses in the same sequence as the
hikers traveling the PCT from its southern California starting point to
its terminus at the US/Canadian border. The film concludes with a chapter titled epilogues that wraps up the
stories of the various people involved very nicely. The ending graphics
and credits are as well done as in the opening with another nod to the
light hearted way this was made by crediting “Mother Nature as
herself.” A few days after watching the
film I loaded the disk into my laptop and started watching the extras.
What can I say about the sound track? I loved the
music and it was well suited to complement the film. The title song has
been stuck in my head since I first watched this, and I mean that in a
good way. It is quite pleasant to be at work and realize I am humming
the title song and thinking either about some part of the film, or
reminded of my own trail adventures.
of my favorite parts of the film was the wedding. It reminded me of my
first Mt. Adams climb where we stopped at a scenic section of the trail
and a couple that was with us was married. We continued on and the
couple returned to the trailhead to go on their honeymoon. It was kind
Any attempt I could make to
describe the characters in this film, their adventures, or the PCT
itself would simply not do the film justice and so I will refrain from
trying. I will however go as far as saying that my personal experiences
with PCT through-hikers and what interesting characters they are was
supported by this film, but my experiences pale to the people the
filmmakers focused on. I will also say that the scenery captured for
this film is fantastic to the point that I have found myself pausing it
in various parts as I re-watch it just to extend the experience and
envision myself there. I have also been unable to refrain from pausing
various scenes trying to see if it is a location that I recognize.
While some of the shots seem very familiar, the only one that I am
entirely sure of is the shot of someone passing through the tunnel
(drilled in the rock to pass behind a waterfall) on a section that is
locally called Eagle Creek.
One thing of note about this film
beyond what is in it, and what is in it is very good, is what was left
out. Information about the PCT itself, covering its conception,
construction, features, maintenance and future I’m sure could fill a
documentary all by itself. This could easily become a major portion of a
film like Tell It On The Mountain. The filmmakers did a wonderful
job in my opinion of including enough information about the trail to
provide the needed backdrop and framework for the people that the film
focuses on. Something else left out, as far as I can tell, is any
reference to, or appearance of the filmmakers. Given my previous
statement about how the focus was on the people I can understand the
intent of this. However I find that having some knowledge about who the
filmmakers are helps put a film like this into better prospective. So I
would love if the film included something on the filmmakers themselves.
Maybe short interviews, or since it is clear they were having fun with
this and have a sense of humor, I suspect there may be some very
entertaining outtakes that might do the trick.
If it is not
obvious from the above I really enjoyed this film. So far I have
watched it at least twice in its entirety, including all the extras,
and have re-watched various sections a few more times. Some of this was
for my report, but most of it was simply for my own enjoyment. I expect
I will end up watching this film many more times in the future.