There are stories I’ve never gotten my greedy little hands on simply because I figured they were “Dude books”. Call of the Wild. Treasure Island. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Anything by Ernest Hemingway (okay, that’s because I’m not a fan of his writing style. And also, dudebook.) Kon-Tiki was in there too, because I couldn’t see how a voyage across the ocean in a little raft could possibly appeal to me. But if the book is as exciting as the movie Kon-Tiki, I owe that book a huge apology. Huge. This dramatic retelling of the story of one man’s quest to prove his theories makes me want to not only read the book, but see the original (Academy Award winning ) 1951 documentary. Yeah, Kon-Tiki is that good.
It’s just after World War II. Naturalist, anthropologist and all-around adventure guy Thor Heyerdahl (Pål Sverre Hagen, in all his retro/40s-era matinee idol glory) is in Polynesia studying life, the universe and everything. The natives tell Thor that they arrived in Polynesia from the West. But all the great Western minds had decided these natives arrived from the East. I mean really; who could sail across that wide expanse of sea in only a lashed-together log raft? Thor sees that as a gauntlet thrown, and decides to do just that. With a small group of friends, he takes off from Peru to try to reach Polynesia as Tiki, the native god that islanders believe populated their islands, did.
But will he make it? Considering this movie is based on the book written by Heyerdahl after his expedition, and that I’ve already referenced his documentary of said expedition? You can pretty much guess that answer. Still, as other great docudramas have done before (like Titanic, All The President’s Men, Schindler’s List, and Argo), Kon-Tiki keeps viewers invested in the characters/individuals by weaving together expert storytelling and stunning visuals.