Three adventurous titles from the Janson Media catalog were highly recommended in recent reviews by Video Librarian. The travel-friendly programs Travel with Kids: Bahamas (1 x 57′) , Discoveries… Vietnam: A 21st Century Awakening (1 x 60′) and Richard Bangs’ Adventures with Purpose: Greece (1 x 60′) are all taken from popular series’ that feature entertaining & informative hosts sharing bold excursions across the globe. As recognized in the glowing reviews, these programs are sure to inspire everyone from armchair travelers to the most ambitious world explorers.
Travel with Kids: Bahamas
In this edition of the acclaimed Travel with Kids series, the Roberts family visits the crystal blue waters and white sand beaches of the Bahamas—an easy 30-minute flight from Fort Lauderdale, FL. First stop is the gateway island of New Providence, where the capital city of Nassau is located. Mom, dad, and their two boys learn a bit of exciting local history during a visit to a pirate museum, explore crafts markets and duty-free shops, and go to a huge aquarium, where they meet friendly dolphins, and see a giant manta ray (the kids get to go “backstage” to see what it takes to feed the critter every day). A snorkeling adventure at Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas resort includes a brief dip in the water (with sharks nearby!). The family also enjoy quiet times on the nearly deserted shores of Cat Island, and on Grand Bahama Island, where they explore the natural environment via a kayak tour through Lucayan National Park. Split into two half-hour episodes, the program provides additional information via intermittent “pop up” facts. DVD extras include a “Trip Planner” with segments on family-friendly accommodations, travel tips and resources; a “Bahamas at Home” featurette with recipes and crafts; and a bloopers reel. Highly recommended.
Discoveries…Vietnam: A 21st Century Awakening
As with other editions in Jim and Kelly Watt’s high-def filmed Discoveries… series, a combination of stunning visuals and an easy, laidback pace make this entry an almost perfect armchair tour of Vietnam, with a structure that emulates a visitor’s likely itinerary instead of sounding like a “gee whiz” travelogue. Discoveries…Vietnam: A 21st Century Awakening illustrates how the country has rebooted its struggling economy—from the Mekong Delta in the south to the Chinese border in the north—by capitalizing on the tourist trade (4 million visited last year, and tourism is growing by 7 percent annually); government leasing of prime real estate for private development (which, among other things, supports world-class surfing at China Beach and Da Nang); and generally embracing free enterprise. Places visited here include spectacular Halong Bay (with ancient caves and limestone karst formations); the many attractions of Hanoi (including its Water Puppet Theatre and the Vietnam National Academy of Music); and the metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), where millions of “motos” (we’d call them “scooters”) serve as the primary form of transportation. Added to the mix is information about rice production and the ao dai (the traditional form of women’s dress), as well as interviews with students who talk about their plans for the future. A 21st Century Awakening is one of three new titles in the Discoveries…Vietnam series; the others are Rice Baskets to World Heritage and Historic Treasures. Informative and enjoyable, this is highly recommended.
Richard Bangs Adventures with Purpose: Greece
Bangs, a leading figure in modern adventure travel, adds to his large output of books and films with this document of a journey to sites in Greece. Captured in luminous HD photography—sparkling on Blu-ray—Bangs’ itinerary is tied to Greek mythology, with the locales chosen in reference to various Hellenic deities, and he is joined along the way by Agapi Stassinopoulos, a writer who sees the spirit of the gods still very much alive in the Greek people. Bangs begins at the Parthenon in Athens, dedicated to Athena, before proceeding to the temple of Poseidon at Sounion; the island of Ithaca, supposedly the home of the Homeric hero Odysseus; the site of the original Olympic games; the shrine of Apollo at Delphi; and finally Mount Olympus, where Zeus was said to rule. The underlying argument presented here is that the Greek gods were exemplars reflecting various facets of humankind, while also serving as forerunners of humanism. While this idea does indeed have some merit from a historical perspective, it’s presented in a somewhat simple fashion by Bangs and Stassinopoulos. Still, the locations are lovely, the cinematography superb, and the country of perennial interest to travelers. Recommended. [Note: also newly available on Blu-ray is Adventures with Purpose: Hong Kong.
Video Librarian is the video review magazine for public, school, academic, and special libraries, as well as video fans who are interested in a wider variety of titles than what’s found in the average video store. Written by staff, librarians, teachers, and film critics, Video Librarian offers over 225 critical reviews per issue, alerting readers to upcoming new releases of special-interest, documentary, and video movie titles.