Jane’s Journey, awe-inspiring! … Jane Goodall Live, a dismal failure

Last night, Tina and I attended an event at Regal Webster 11 Theater in Chicago called, Jane Goodall Live.

Tina’s a huge fan of Jane Goodall. She’s read her books and follows her stories when they appear on TV. When tickets were offered for this event, she called to me from her office and said, “Can we go?”

We bought tickets. We thought the event was going to be a live, interactive broadcast with Jane Goodall in one location in which we could ask her questions (possibly). As well as a showing of a new documentary about Jane called, “Jane’s Journey.”

Tina was a child at Christmas in anticipation.

First let me say, the documentary was awe-inspiring. I teared up several times at Jane’s amazing ability to inspire, to move a crowd to their feet in applause. She is a woman who deserves accolade, and we would do well to give it to her.

At age 77, Jane travels 300 days a year. She’s a self described activist, and she tirelessly is moving to change the world for the better. She works to tell the world about global warming. She shows us glaciers in Greenland that are disappearing. She shows us a sacred place in Tanzania where the hippos and humans live in beautiful harmony. She shows why we need to take care of this beautiful planet … so when all the believers are raptured, the rest of us have a place to stay.

Honk.

Let’s review the documentary itself

The production of the documentary was great at times and poorly done as well. A lot of the visuals were amazing. The photography was top notch, and if it were in HD, it would have been beyond great.

The director/writer Lorenz Knauer should be proud of much of it, but he needs to throw it back in the editing suite for some touch ups.

There were beautiful voyeuristic moments mixed with great interviews. There were times when you thought you were a fly on the wall watching Jane interact with her son and grandchildren.

It angered me that there weren’t title cards (chyrons) for different interviews or people on screen. For example, there was a scene with Angelina Jolie. We “know” Jolie, so there was no title card. But there was a third person at the table who the producers cut to several times, but there was never an indication of who the hell it was.

Throughout the movie, there were interviews with individuals whom we will never know their name.

Also, if events like that are ever going to compete with TV, they MUST be broadcast in HD. “Jane’s Journey” appeared in standard definition. The fonts that showed up on screen were jagged, blurry, hard to read.

I can’t be more specific that if the movie industry wants to survive, it must wow us greater than the TVs that most people have in their homes.

Let me tell you about Jane Goodall Live, the broadcast that bookended the documentary. 

When the theater darkened, there was a three minute slideshow of animals from around the world with a ticker at the bottom that said, “Show starts in …”

When the show started, no one told the two men sitting on a set somewhere in Hollywood that the cameras were on. For a few (LONG) moments, they sat there at a table with a bowl of popcorn in front of them. Finally, one of the guys with the voice box of a thirty-year veteran smoker started his script … only he was looking into the wrong camera. We never cut to his camera until about 3 minutes into the broadcast.

I don’t remember the host’s name, but he may as well been one of the two guys who have a wild morning radio show on a station in Branson Missouri that features prank calls and fart jokes. You could imagine it now. “I’m Bill Johnson,” says the first guy. And the second guy says in a smoker’s voice: “And I’m the Weasel … and you’re listening to 101.1, the ROCK!!! Are you ready for the MONDAY MORNING FART SONG!!!”

The other host was a guy from Animal Planet who apparently can capture snakes and remove their venom into a beaker.

They were awful hosts.

They showed clips from Jane Goodall’s visit to Courtney Cox lush home in Los Angeles where a bunch of primates were sipping fine wine listening to Jane speak. And then we cut back to the two douchebags in Hollywood before they introduced the movie.

We watched the documentary, and then the Live broadcast went to hell. Jane Goodall was on the set finally. And Tina and I were excited to see her and hear what she had to say. But we became deflated.

The broadcast made Access TV look like the Daily Show’s production values. There was a visit from the woman who plays Bart Simpson’s voice. She was awful. There was a moment between Jane Goodall and Charlize Theron. I started checking my watch.

The LIVE portion of the event ruined the documentary.

Someone obviously had not thought the LIVE event through

People were leaving the theater in droves as more of the LIVE event continued. The tickets were about $15, so I assume about $5 went to that.

I am disappointed, and won’t fall for that con artistry again. The production company for the LIVE event was from Fathom Entertainment. I hope they improve their game, because they will be out of business in two shakes of a lamb’s tail if they don’t shape the hell up.

But if you get a chance to see Jane’s Journey … go. Or rent it. It’s worth it.

You will finish it wondering what you can do to make a difference in the world.

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