This trip is just so long and unusual that you can't help being intrigued and fascinated by it all. Ten months and 50,000 miles traveling through 18 countries all the way around the Pacific Ocean! What makes Michael Palin's trips so special is the enthusiasm, wit and charm he brings to the endeavor. Plus the ability of the crew to find extremely interesting people for Michael to talk to and very interesting activities for him to sample. And the whole thing is beautifully photographed, making you want to visit the various places yourself. Among some of the most interesting points on the trip are a wedding ceremony in South Korea, the Russian Gulag in Siberia, the CaoDai religion in Vietnam, Philippine women learning how to be foreign workers, lassoing camels in Australia, a French shaman in the Amazon valley, narcotics problems in Bogotá, and illegal immigrants from Mexico to the USA. My only criticism is that the west coast of the USA and Canada got glossed over. I'm guessing that Michael Palin, after nine months of traveling, just wanted to get home. The DVD version of this TV program consists of three discs. These discs contain the ten 45-minute episodes (7 1/2 hours) plus some extra material: - a very interesting interview with Michael Palin (28 minutes) - some scenes that didn't make it into the TV program (almost 50 minutes) - a funny meeting with Eric Idle, with lots of inside jokes for Monty Python fans (8 minutes) Even without the extra material I'd give these DVDs a "highly recommended" rating. The extra material, especially the interview with Michael Palin, makes it even more wonderful. Note that there is also a beautiful and well-written book available that covers this trip - also highly recommended. Rennie Petersen
Michael Palin embarks on a truly epic journey around the Pacific rim. His travels begin in Canada and end, a year later, back where he began. Inbetween he takes you through such places as China, Vietnam, Australia, South and North America to name but a few. His gentle approach and off the cuff humour make this compulsive viewing and you feel as if you're with him every step of the way.
OK, you've been around the world in 80 days, and you've travelled from the North Pole to the South Pole. Is there anything else that you can do? Well, yes if your Michael Palin, you can go on a monumental journey around the largest ocean in the world visiting Russian goulags, Cow racing competitions and hidden Inca cities on the way. This really is travel on a grand scale, 18 countries, over 50,000 miles and still the mans spirits never seem to flag; how does he do it? His wit and enthusiasm are truely infectious and everytime, you wish you could see more. Here in lies the problem and the reason why I haven't given it 5 stars. It's so big an undertaking that some things, especially near the end just seem to be skimmed over which is a great shame. For instance at the end of episode 5 we see him having to abandon the boat he's on in Borneo as the weather conditions aren't right to take them to Australia, however at the start of the next episode, he's on a road train in Adelaide! It would have been nice to see or even hear some kind of explanation on how he did it. Also, his journey across the East Coast of America and Canada is barely touched on which seems a great shame. I know there is only so much footage you can fit into a ten part series but I think some things could have been explained a little clearer. Having said that, the footage that is in, from the stunning beauty of North Eastern Russia, the towering gauges of the Yangtze river which by now thanks to the damming will be under water, to the breathtaking scenery of the Amazon rainforest, is fantastic! Palins enthusiasm for everything that he see's and all the people he meets is wonderful; he's at ease with every situation that the journey throws at him although by the end, you can tell he's beginning to flag, but who can blame him after almost a year away from home. On the whole, this is my favourite Palin adventure just because it's so damn big! You get to see so many different customs and traditions and some truley humbleing moments; I defy anyone not to feel moved when Michael visits a former Russian goulag death camp with one of it's survivors. The DVD itself is great, 3 discs, deleted scenes, out takes and an interview with the great man himself, what more could you ask for? This is a must for anyone who's interested in travel even if it just from your own armchair, but it's a fantastic show in it's own right. Long may this man go on travelling and making brilliant television! Top Class
If I were off globetrotting, this is how I would do it! The third in the epic travel series undertaken by Michael Plain. Michael is off travelling through the countries along the Pacific Rim (18 countries and 50000 miles of it!). Starting from Diomede Island in the Bering straits making his way through Alaska, Russia, Asia Pacific, Australasia, South America, North America and back round to where he started. The difference between this series and the first two is there is no real sense of urgency or time factor involved, they simply set out to complete the whole journey in about a year, so that element of tension/pressure is missing. As ever Michael and his excellent team make for a very colourful journey turning up many delights and surprises along the way. The series is filmed in similar fashion to the first two series in that we get to see the triumphs/tribulations of the journey, giving a much more authentic feel to it. Michael's usual demeanour prevails throughout making very avid viewing. Some of his interactions with bemused locals who don't understand English are almost like something out of a python sketch. The series gives tantalising if somewhat brief glimpses into amazing cultures and places throughout the Pacific Rim countries, that few of us are ever likely to see. The wealth of cultures encountered are quite bewildering, again Michael goes out of his way in order to sample something of the local tradition, quite often attempting a little of the local language. The natural beauty of some of the places he goes to such as the Kamchatka national park which until recently was completely off limits to any foreigners is simply awe inspiring. The sheer diversity of South America from the southern glaciers through dry arid deserts up to the hot humid jungles of the north, each with their own unique landscapes and of course highlights such as Machu Pichu, Lake Titicaca etc.
The sheer scale of this series offers 10 x 50-minute programmes, which makes for over 8 hours of very entertaining viewing. The bonus features are a half-hour interview with Michael as well as about half an hour of additional deleted scenes. The picture and sound quality are both very good with the picture being presented in 4:3 format only. The pack is well presented containing 3 DVD discs with four episodes per disc, with interactive menus to aid programme/scene selection. I must note that the inside sleeve contents are somewhat inaccurately labelled, as it lists each DVD as having only three episodes per disc, which can lead to slight confusion as to which episode is on which disc. Overall the package is excellent value for money with very entertaining/informative BBC series once more. This series it must be said is not quite up to the very high standards set by Around the world and Pole to Pole, but still an excellent endeavour and streets ahead of many travel series out there!
this is the most densly packed box set from palin's travels. he visits a plethora of fascinating places on the other side of the world. it's not quite got the storyline and charm of 'around the world', but it has so much more infromation about more countries and cultures, and this makes it just as good, and in many ways superior to the original series. essential for anyone who loves to travel, or indeed anyone who finds the world a fascinating place.
An excellant series, which lacks the frantic pace of "Around the World in Eighty Days". Palin takes the time to savour the delights of the Pacific Rim. I enjoyed "Around the World" more as an adventure story, but for lovers of good travel programs, this is one of the best!
This is fantastic. I remember watching Pole To Pole in the 90's. Remembered vague bits, then the chance to buy this boxset came up. I can honestly say i haven't enjoyed watching anything as much as this lately. I was compelled to buy his first outing 'Around The World In 80 Days' as a result. I promise you won't be disappointed. It also has subtitles, outakes, deleted scenes and an interview with the man himself. Some engrossing armchair travel for a Sunday afternoon. Enjoy!
I love Michael Palin and all his work - but while all his work is a must have for me, only for rating purpose, The Full Circle comes at a second place to Around the World and Pole to Pole. Oh I just loved it...the songs in Russia, the morning jog in Japan, the train journey in Vietnam - but I had a feeling that this series had two halves - one where Palin was journeying in Asia - and the rest of it. Till the time he gets to the end in Philippines, the journey had a smooth and wonderful pace about it. After that it is a bit hurried - a bit like a wonderful dish asked to be eaten in a hurry. He slows down a bit in Chile - but overall momentum is a bit fast and unrelenting. But...other than actually taking this trip, this series provides the best joy you can get for a twenty quid.