DVD Review Theme Jonathan Hawkins Coasting 2K4
By: Alan Martin
Excellent roller coaster and theme-park related video collections continue to roll out in early 2005 and Jonathan Hawkins Coasting 2K4 collection is no exception. With its mix of great music, artful footage, variety of rides/parks and classy presentation, its a must have in your coaster video library.
The collection opens with a beautiful title-page picture from Dorney Park shot at night. Unlike most other DVD collections, the title page is clean and uncluttered. The menu options allow you to choose from a complete list of videos included with additional options for Scene Selection and Bonus Features all from the title page. A few Easter Eggs are also hidden throughout the disc.
The videos are sequenced in the order they occurred throughout 2004. Several east coast parks and events are featured including Six Flags Over Georgia (Spring Fling), Carowinds (Carolina Coaster Classic), Kings Dominion, Myrtle Beachs Pavilion and Family Kingdom parks. Antics and absurdity provide humorous moments throughout each video with the Myrtle Beach section coming in with two videos (Parts 1 and 2). The opening segment is appropriately culled from the footage of Carowinds opening day. Carowinds being Jonathans Home Park. Both the SFOG Spring Fling video and Carowinds Opening Day videos were honorable mentions in Theme Park Review.Coms first annual video contest.
The real gem of the disc is a set of nine videos that collectively make up the day-by-day video diary of Rideworld.coms 2004 East Coast Trek event. Spread over 8 days during June, the trip included visits to 10 parks, 8 from the trek and 2 from the 2nd Annual Coaster Conclave event. Williams Grove in Mechanicsburg, Virginia, a park very rarely included in any video, is covered in a sequence with great footage and lots of fun. The other parks shown include Six Flags Great Escape, Six Flags New England, Hershey, Lake Compounce, Knoebels, Dorney, Six Flags Great America and Great Adventure.
Succinct comments are scattered among the clips as well as hilarious moments with individual members. The opening to the Quassy/Lake Compounce video finds David Coasterdave Drake squeezing himself onto a quarter-activated miniature carousel. The footage is one of the funniest moments of the entire trip and captures Daves sense of humor perfectly. The Six Flags New England video is, almost exclusively, a four minute homage to the Superman: Ride of Steel mega coaster. Shot after shot of the coaster are interspersed with everyones comments of admiration for the great machine. Storm Runner and Lightning Racer are featured in the Hershey Park sequence. Some of the best footage sequences of the disc are found in this group with well framed shots and thoughtfully applied scene transitions.
The sequences that make up the trek would have benefited from a more collective treatment by giving them their own separate area on the DVD menu. There is no indication that these videos are part of a related group until you come to the first one in the sequence and it presents a days left countdown title. Opening and ending introduction segments would have helped to frame and highlight the section specifically. Moreover, it would clarify those mysterious trophies that are handed out to everyone near the end of the Knoebels video.
The music choices for each video are varied by artist but all ride comfortably within the progressive/alternative genre. These songs make sense for both the subject and feel of the videos and are complementary to the footage used. The balance of footage sound vs. TMBGs Dont Lets Start on the SFGA video is slightly overbalanced on the footage side though the mix and sound quality on this collection is excellent overall. ELOs Mr. Blue Sky is blended beautifully with the Hershey Park segment and the use of They Might Be Giants End of the Tour is a most appropriate choice for the last sequence in the trek videos.
The DVD closes with videos covering the North and South Carolina State Fairs, a catchy Dollywood video and the closing credits sequence. The choice of Let it Be for the closing sets a heartfelt backdrop for Jonathan to thank all that participated. The Bonus section includes the collections trailer, an alternate Dollywood video, a bizarre but amusing alternate C3 video and an additional non-coaster video of the NC State Zoo in Asheboro. The Easter Eggs contain Top Secret extras that I am not cleared to reveal without you sending me a special code and three box tops from your favorite cereal. Sadly, the infamous Pie footage has been omitted from this collection. Perhaps that is being saved for the Jonathan Hawkins Coasting 2K4 SPECIAL EDITION?
At just over 70 minutes running time, this disc is more than worth the $7.00 asking price. Like most collections offered by individuals, this is only to cover the cost of materials and shipping. Believe me, its well worth it. This collection rivals the best ones out there and these are the finest videos Jonathan has created to date. Its a great way to shake off the closed park blues while waiting for the new season to begin.
Whootah Rating: 4 out of 5 Whoots!