Much was written and discussed about the motorized Segway scooters when they first became available for order. While the Segway is no longer really the "hot item", the scooter has been put to use in a lot of other places, such as by police officers and for tour groups (Segway tours are popular in major cities.)
Josh Caldwell and Hunter Weeks, two 20-somethings stuck in mindless cubicle jobs in a software company, found themselves wanting something new. The two were making good money, living a good life and yet, were missing something in their routine lives. The two had the money to do something and their friend had just the idea: take a cross-country trip on a Segway.
Shockingly, sponsors are few-and-far-between, and even Segway does not want to sponsor the trip, which means that the two have to shell out the over $4,000 for the scooter themselves. They eventually get Chipotle as a sponsor (picking up more sponsors as they go) and really, if Chipotle is listening, I'm looking for a sponsor for my reviewing. Actually, I'm just looking for free Chipotle.
Caldwell will be the rider, while Weeks will serve as the director. With only a month to go, we see the group hasn't exactly mastered the art of riding a Segway yet. When Caldwell and the crew actually get underway out of Seattle, the Segway only needs a battery change, but the crew car needs repair. As the DVD notes, the crew cars had a couple of flat tires throughout the trip. However, the Segway tires never went flat.
The trip sees the crew winding Washington, Wyoming and Colorado before heading into Kansas, with sponsors starting to take notice around the time the group hits Denver. It's not long after the filmmakers leave the Seattle area that the documentary reveals itself to be an exceptional portrait of the beauty that exists in America, both in terms of nature (while filmed using a basic camera, gorgeous landscapes are gorgeous landscapes, no matter what kind of camera you're using) and in terms of the people, as the filmmakers meet some wonderful people, who open up their homes to the filmmakers and share their stories. As one person in Kansas notes, it's all about being in the moment, which is another element of what the film is all about.
The film winds through the Midwest, as the farmers start their harvest and cows look on, puzzled at the human gliding along the backroads. The filmmakers were warned not to go through the rough East St. Louis, but only find welcome from the people they pass. Things get financially tough after the halfway point and the group of filmmakers struggle to decide whether or not to call it a day, but even after a producer and business partner quits, they still keep pushing on towards Boston at 10MPH, at one point even paying tribute to Morgan Spurlock's documentary, "Super Size Me". At the end, they are greeted by Segway, who hosts a little reception for the group, which also includes a speech from the Segway's creator.
Overall, "10MPH" is a sweet, charming little documentary that provides a lovely look at many parts (the trip crossed 16 states and 4,065 miles, lasting 100 days) of America. It's a fun, entertaining film and while Weeks was not a filmmaker previously, I'm hoping that he'll decide to do a follow-up.
VIDEO: "10 MPH" was shot with a low-budget camera, but the 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen by Spinning Blue is pretty good, especially considering the low-budget filmmaking. Sharpness and detail aren't outstanding, but the picture at least did remain at least mildly crisp and clear throughout most of the show, aside from a few moments here-and-there. Some minor shimmering and slight artifacting is spotted during a few moments, but the picture was otherwise clean and clear. Colors remained natural and accurate, with no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The film's stereo soundtrack offers up the score (and the film does use an awesome selection of music throughout) and dialogue crisply and clearly.
EXTRAS: Weeks and Caldwell offer up an audio commentary for the film, and we also get a pretty funny blooper reel, some deleted footage (about 20 minutes worth), more of producer j.fred, the full NECN interview in Boston and finally, text facts about the journey.
Final Thoughts: Overall, "10MPH: From Seattle to Boston" is a sweet, charming little documentary that provides a lovely look at many parts (the trip crossed 16 states and 4,065 miles, lasting 100 days) of America. It's a fun, entertaining film and while Weeks was not a filmmaker previously, I'm hoping that he'll decide to do a follow-up. The DVD offers fine audio/video quality and some very nice bonus features. Recommended.