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The Most Interesting Place in the World

by Andrew Green

You ever heard of Pitcairn Island? It's one of the most remote locations on Earth, situated WAAAAY out there in the Pacific Ocean about midway between Nowhere and Emptytown. The tiny island was discovered by white folk in the late 1700s, although it's believed that Polynesians lived there a few hundred years before. Made of volcanic rock, Pitcairn Island has a bowl shape, making it extremely difficult to access, and as of 2008, there were only about 50 people living there. These folks are all direct descendants of the HMS Bounty mutineers. That's right -- they have their origins in British maritime folklore. You can read a full account of the famous mutiny here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutiny_on_the_Bounty

To summarize, the crew of this one trading ship was apparently upset about returning to normal sailor duties after having been granted an extended holiday in Tahiti, and just took control of the ship, casting their captain off in a lifeboat, or something. 

The mutineers sailed around for some time before finally kidnapping several women from Tahiti and setting out to look for a new home. Apparently, they wanted to settle in a place where the British would never find them, so they went to Pitcairn Island. The fascinating story of their early struggles there can be found in the same linked article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutiny_on_the_Bounty#Mutineers_on_Pitcairn_Island .

Today, there is still a settlement on the island, although its population is substantially lower than its 1937 peak of 233. New Zealand provides the islanders with material support, including educational services for the children and occasional supply deliveries. This incredibly remote culture speaks English and practices Seventh Day Adventism.

I first read about Pitcairn Island when I was about 16, and immediately filed it away in my brain as the place to be when mankind's inevitable nuclear holocaust goes down. Now, admittedly, I don't know anything about prevailing winds or any of that crap, but it seems to me as though I'll wish I was in Pitcairn when this failed experiment known as Humanity finally wipes itself out. The Pitcairners appear to have the ability to sustain themselves indefinitely, even if the government-provided petrol deliveries taper off. Heck, the original HMS Bounty mutineers made no contact with anyone on the outside world for some 18 years after first landing there.
And what an interesting group of folk! I wonder what it's like for them living in a place far removed from other civilizations. No phones, no televisions...a VCR here and there...maybe old Pastor Smitty over at the church does a short wave radio Sunday morning music broadcast, but that's about it for entertainment. Just hanging out and soaking up the pleasantly moderate weather is what's in store for the average Pitcairn resident each day, I imagine. Of course, the real excitement is when a ship stops by, which, according to most accounts of life on Pitcairn, happens every few months. Something tells me that the islanders are fundamentally suspicious of outsiders, but they do welcome short-term visitors. I found the travel blog of one woman who tells an excellent story of her trip to Pitcairn Island:


In summary, she says the place is incredible.

Of course, I assume there's a darker side to this utopia. I mean, half of the island's residents seem to have the last name Christian (descendants of the guy who led the original mutiny), which can't be a good sign. However, according to the above traveler's blog, marriages closer than second cousins are forbidden there. Still, I wonder if that amounts to inbreeding. I'll bet everyone there is secretly insane.

Eh, anyway. Wwho am I kidding? I would probably hate life on Pitcairn Island. There is nothing to do there except pick breadfruit and wait around for a ship to come. I once spent four years living in a small town just a few hours away from Detroit, and was a shell of a man by the end of THAT ordeal. I can only speculate on what my mental state would be after a few months in Pitcairn. Still, I'll keep it in my mind as a place to visit if I ever come across enough money to do any kind of traveling. Perhaps I'll go there if things don't work out in Gay.... You know -- occupy one of the nearby islands that are currently uninhabited; read a lot. "Don't mind me, Pitcairners. I'm just the guy who called you in-bred in his blog a few years back!"


Anyway, here's a movie that also takes place in a Pacific paradise. See? There IS a point to all of this! 

A Perfect Getaway (2009)


Two couples meet in Hawaii. Soon, it becomes apparent that one of them is trying to kill the other. But WHO???

So, A Perfect Getaway is noteworthy in that it marked the return to the big screen of Hollywood's perfect woman, Milla Jovovich. Milla'd been taking a break for a couple years there to have a daughter and do other private stuff, but now she's back. I hadn't even heard of A Perfect Getaway until the day after it opened. Someone sent me a message asking if I had seen the new Milla J movie. "NEW MILLA J MOVIE?! Well, I'm busy tonight, after all!" I said to myself.  

A Perfect Getaway is about a recently-married couple that is apparently being stalked by homicidal maniacs while on their honeymoon. They hike across an island in Hawaii, encountering other newlyweds along the way, and each new acquaintance provides reasons to be suspicious. Are any of these colorful folk the KILLERS that newspapers back in Honolulu are warning people about? WILL our heroes get off this island alive??? 

Now, I've heard that A Perfect Getaway was actually promoted in the mainstream media as having a shocking twist at the very end, and I'm here to report that, in fact, it does. However, I personally was able to figure out what this twist was about 20 minutes into the picture. I wonder if others, who actually had an inkling of what to expect, could have figured out the surprise even sooner. That's not to say that this film DEPENDS on its shocking ending, however. 

If you sit down to A Perfect Getaway with the mindset that this is strictly a lightweight, enjoy-the-pretty-vistas, look-at-the-attractive-people, munch-some-popcorn, B-movie sort of affair, then you'll have a reasonably good time. Interesting characters make the experience fresh, and at a modest 90 minutes, the film doesn't overstay its welcome. Milla J, although not quite back to her best fighting form, looks darn good, and a portion of the films' hot chick duties are handed off to the competent Kiele Sanchez. It's also nice to see Steve Zhan in a non-moron role because I like him, too. 

Disappointing twists aside, A Perfect Getaway offers a fair amount of wit, laughs, and suspense to easily pass a good hour and half.  

3 out of 5.