Film originally released 1972.
At last, on DVD, comes this
classic surf movie. American surfer-cameraman George Greenhough rides
the waves from California to Byron Bay, using ground-breaking
photography to take us inside the tube on his flexible, high-tech
'spoon' kneeboard. At the time of the 'shortboard' revolution,
Greenhough ignited the imagination of the surfing world and expressed a
passion that had lain dormant in the hearts of generations of surfers.
And legendary in Floyd circles for including Echoes in full at the
culmination of the movie!
is a cult figure in the surfing community, having practiced his art for
many years. This seventy five minutes film is a document of his efforts
to reach normally inaccessable surfing areas, building his boards,
preparing special cameras to film it, and the boat to get there!
Well put together and with an
interesting narration by George himself, there are plenty of fantastic
images throughout. The music complements the often fairly abstract,
onscreen action well, although little attempt was made to match
crashing waves with the music.
This is no bad thing - the visuals are given the chance to flow, without being cut to pieces to fit a drum beat!
The Echoes segment takes up the final twenty three minutes of the film, and is a magical combination of sound and vision.
shot from the viewpoint of a dolphin, the view is of life just under
the waves, and starts with an "Echoes" title floating to the surface of
the water, away from the camera. It's long been thought that this is a
slightly different mix of Echoes, than the one which appears on the
album "Meddle". Whether or not this is the case, on this DVD the
clarity of this track, and especially the vocal, is impressive.
For people who enjoy the film,
there are some interesting extras included on the disc. A nice touch is
the "Echoes" 'ping' that rings out when you select either the bonus
features or scene index screens! The picture gallery gives a set of
images - cover shots of past releases, posters, and then a collection
of posters and stills from the production.
also a couple of interviews, firstly with George Greenough (pictured
left, from the start of the film), who wrote and shot it, providing an
interesting and wide ranging twelve minute chat about pretty much
everything, followed by an interview with David Elfick, the director
His fascinating nine minute
interview discusses "selling" the idea of using Echoes with the surfing
footage, to Floyd's manager Steve O'Rourke and the band themselves at
their London office (and includes an appalling impersonation of one of
There is also an "interesting"
six minute animation - a classic "stoner" movie that seems pretty dated
to these eyes, and biographies of the main creators of Crystal Voyager.
The biog of David Elfick shows the incredible range of films he has
worked on over the years.
the new digital transfer, the main feature's picture is sadly
non-anamorphic - although the menu's and some of the bonus features
ARE. Most peculiar... (For those not sure about this terminology, an
anamorphic picture properly fills widescreen TV screens, dispensing
with black bars at the top and bottom of the image).
The sound is presented in Dolby
Digital Stereo and provides a crisp and clear soundtrack - as my
comments above about Echoes bear out. The picture is pretty good
throughout Crystal Voyager; the occasional negative scratch or blemish
is evident throughout, but thankfully the digital transfer shows no
sign of artifacts at all.
Apart from the obvious track, the
other music found on the soundtrack is pretty good, too. Performed by G
Wayne Thomas, I particularly enjoyed his music to accompany the first
main wakeboard shots of George.
Overall, then, a great film for
relaxing to - one of the great chill-out movies - and a nice transfer
(even if it is missing a proper anamorphic picture!). The story behind
the use of Echoes is an interesting one and as far as we know, has not
been told before. So even if surfing doesn't interest, some of the
other content might.