The best documentaries are the ones that transport you to a certain place or time, and make you feel like you are a vicarious observer on the scene. 'Endless Summer' does this in spades. Despite some obvious flaws with which one could nitpick (some amateur shots and atmosphere), this film is both a time capsule and a timeless film trek. Shot in the mid-sixties, California surfers, Mike and Robert, join up with filmmaker, Bruce Brown, to go globe trekking for an 'Endless Summer' by flying to the coasts of Africa and Australia in search of summer weather down under during the winter months found in the Northern Hemisphere. The waves they meet, the people they encounter, and the terrain they see on and off the shores are interesting enough in every frame of the movie, so there's never a wasted scene. The dangers are clearly presented as well, giving the whole event more substance. There are a few moments when Brown's focus is not unlike the best amateur "home movie" footage people knew in the day, but these are few and far between. Sometimes, Brown's narration is both humorous and corny--not unlike a Disney nature film, and the "...in the meantime" interruptions going back to Hawaii could have been integrated better--like into one whole section--but the results are quite satisfying. Never do they try to gloss over times when the surf was less than perfect or the snafus of any travel experience. At its best, the camera shots are expert (even at times, propped on a surf board), making surfing accessible to those who love surfing, those who are merely interested, and to everyone who loves summer. This is a terrific little film and a solid slice of life that is robustly presented.
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