New to VOD this week: 14 MINUTES FROM EARTH
Jerry Kolber, Adam “Tex” Davis, Trey Nelson, and Erich Sturm’s look at a stratospheric sky dive debuted at Tribeca this year. It also screened at the San Francisco Doc Fest. Gunpowder & Sky now releases the doc to VOD platforms including Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, Microsoft Movies & TV, Sony PlayStation, and Vudu.
Alan Eustace, Google’s Senior Vice-President of Knowledge, comes up with what seems like an impossible plan: traveling up to the stratosphere without a rocketship – using a balloon instead – and then free-falling back to Earth. The film chronicles his daring mission, which includes designing and manufacturing a custom spacesuit, developing the balloon, conducting tests, and ultimately making the jump. It’s not an uninteresting idea for a doc, but the execution here is so utterly non-cinematic that it sinks the project. Instead, the four credited directors take an approach that mimics an overproduced television science program, and is chiefly marred by incessant, unnecessary expository narration and manipulative music and sound design, not to mention very surface-level talking head comments from participants.