Legendary explorer Thor Heyerdal's epic 4,300-mile crossing of the Pacific on a balsawood raft in 1947, in an effort to prove that it was possible for South Americans to settle in Polynesia in pre-Columbian times.
The Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl crossed the Pacific Ocean in a balsawood raft in 1947, together with five men, to prove that South Americans back in pre-Columbian times could have crossed the ocean and settled on Polynesian islands. After financing the trips with loans and donations, they set off on an epic 101-day-long trip across 8000 kilometers, while the world was waiting for the result of the trip. The film tells about the origin of the idea, the preparations, and the events on the trip. The "Kon-Tiki" was named after the Inca sun god, Viracocha, and "Kon-Tiki" is an old name for this god. Heyerdahl filmed the expedition, which later became the Academy Award winning documentary in 1951, and he wrote a book about the expedition that was translated into 70 languages and sold more than 50 millions copies around the world. Heyerdahl believed that people from South America could have settled Polynesia in pre-Columbian times, although most anthropologists now believe they did not... Written by
The filmmakers decided to shoot the ocean scenes on open water, rather than on a set. See more »
One of the characters uses the counting method introduced in 1951 (1st July) when reporting Kon-Tiki's position. He uses the word 'femtifem' (English: fifty-five). In 1947, when this film is set, he would have used 'fem-og-femti' (English: five-and-fifty).
As this old-fashioned counting method is used by many (younger) people today, the new counting format is still debated in Norway and the film-makers may be expected to be aware of this. See more »
[Talking with three National Geographic's members]
Gentlemen. Your magazine will be with me on a raft. At the mercy of the winds, all the way to Polynesia. It is further than from Chicago to Moscow. Here to here.
[pointing it in a map behind him]
You'll have some sort of engine in case of emergency?
No. Absolutely not. We will surrender to the current and the wind... like Tiki did.
And by undertaking this extraordinary voyage, you are proving?
That the oceans were not barriers, but roads...
[...] See more »
Before the closing credits, short clips are shown in which original footage shot by Heyerdahl was reenacted by the "Kon-Tiki" actors: urinating overboard in the open sea, dancing with natives under palms, portraits, and the like. Along with this, brief notes concerning each crew member's path of life after the trip are given. See more »
I'm not saying this just because I'm Norwegian and extremely proud that my country managed to produce this amazing adventure. Kon-Tiki is definitely one of the most original, well- written and fun films I've seen this year.
It's the 1940s. Without spoiling the story (which is real by the way), we are invited to follow Thor Heyerdahl as he gathers a crew of overly confident Scandinavians attempting to cross the Pacific on a balsa wood raft. All in the name of science and a boyish thirst for adventure! This attitude is understandable; after enduring the misery of WW2, little seemed more tempting than escaping to faraway exotic lands. Bravery or stupidity? In either case, viewers can look forward to one hell of a boat ride.
What I adore about Kon-Tiki is the presentation of the raft's surroundings. The Pacific Ocean is just as magnificent and beautiful as it is dangerous and merciless, and this dynamic is perfectly balanced. Peaceful waters and clear skies suddenly give way for dangerous sea- creatures and storms mighty enough to tear the old-fashioned raft apart. Kon-Tiki is simply grand. At times my adrenaline rose, my heart started pumping, and I started lusting for adventure myself - just by watching.
Another strong point is the cast. The actors do a brilliant job at depicting the slightly eccentric yet adventurous Scandinavians far away from their Nordic comfort zone. Thor Heyerdahl is particularly well portrayed with his dreamer-like attitude and awkward English skills. Although I would prefer more emphasis on character development, Kon-Tiki make them just interesting enough for viewers to care for them.
Kon-Tiki is such a delight to watch, because it's original, different and not your typical Hollywood adventure flick. No, the plot is not complex. It has no twists or turns, and Kon-Tiki certainly doesn't contain the amount of drama you'd expect. And this is what makes it good - the film is all about the sheer excitement of the adventure. Of course it isn't perfect, but for a Norwegian film, I'd say it holds its ground rather strongly.
I honestly haven't had this much fun with a film for a long while. If you're lucky, Kon-Tiki might show up on a festival or international cinema near you. In that case, do watch it.
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