'American Experience: Into the Amazon'
(DVD / PG-13 / 2018 / PBS)
Overview: 'Into the Amazon' tells the remarkable story of the journey taken by President Theodore Roosevelt and legendary Brazilian explorer Candido Rondon into the heart of the South American rainforest to chart an unexplored tributary of the Amazon.
DVD Verdict: Two of the most celebrated men from their respective nations, Roosevelt and Rondon set out up the Amazon with twenty other adventurers in 1914.
Over eight eventful weeks in one of the most remote places on earth, the ill-equipped expedition navigated deadly rapids in crude dugout canoes.
Hunger and exhaustion were compounded by the rainforest's unforgiving topography, which forced the men to carry heavy canoes long distances. What was anticipated to be a relatively tranquil journey turned out to be a brutal test of courage and character.
Before it was all over, one member of the expedition had drowned and another had committed murder. Roosevelt would badly injure his leg and beg to be left behind to die.
More than a dramatic adventure story, 'American Experience: Into the Amazon' shines a light on two of the western hemisphere's most formidable men, and the culture and politics of their two nations.
Personally, I really enjoyed hearing the perspectives from the various different narrators as they commented on aspects of this journey. I thought they did an admirable job of telling the story in the limited time that film allows.
However, I would strongly suggest to anyone who is interested in learning more about this story, or just jungle exploration in general, to read the book that this film is based on - RIVER OF DOUBT. as it's a really fantastic book; equal parts adventure story and jungle manual. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.