This sunny documentary about a sailboat race across the Pacific Ocean is a bit of a throwback to the days when a night at the movies included some cartoons, a newsreel, and a travelogue. It has a lot of postcard-pretty pictures of glorious sunsets and fresh-faced kids. But for a movie about a lot of hard work leading up to an attempt to beat the world champs, it is rather laid back.
Roy Disney, nephew of Walt Disney, is the man behind the documentary and its title ship and at times it feels like a reality-show version of “The Mickey Mouse Club Goes to Sea.” Fifteen young sailors are selected from a range of competitors and they are brought to Hawaii for sailing boot camp. Then eleven are selected for the team and they choose a captain and assign positions for the race from California to Hawaii.
The kids, all in late teens or early twenties, are all high-spirited and wholesome. But despite a few “up close and personal” tidbits, it is hard to keep them all straight, in part because while they have a range of accents, they don’t have much variety of vocabulary. If you eat a handful of popcorn every time one of them says “awesome” or “rad,” you’ll be at the bottom of the bucket long before they reach Hawaii. The training scenes do not tell us enough about what skills they will need onboard and the racing scenes lack momentum because we — like the crew — go for days without knowing where they are in relation to the competition. Like the ship, the movie gets becalmed.