“Dodo’s Delight” is pure, unrelenting fun. Directed by Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll, It is is a lighthearted romp filled with sea shanties, campy situations, harrowing mountain ascents and non-stop laughter.
The film follows O’Driscoll and his group on a trip from Greenland to Baffin Island aboard the sailboat Dodo’s Delight in a quest for untouched rock faces to climb. The group is a rowdy bunch, consisting of brothers Olivier and Nicolas Favresse, “lone yank” Ben Ditto, O’Driscoll himself and their endlessly sleepy captain, Reverend Bob Shepton. Together, they travel the seas in search of new challenges with grins on their faces, instruments in hand and plenty of wine.
This isn’t a documentary in the typical sense. There are rarely, if any, interviews, an almost complete lack of explanation and constant comic situations. “Dodo’s Delight” is more of an observational look at endearing adventurers out in their natural habitat. Viewpoints are split equally among the crew, making sure not to let any one person’s views take over. While O’Driscoll is the narrator, the star of the film is the group itself.
When focusing a film on a team, it’s imperative for there to be a sense of individuality from the players fused with ongoing camaraderie. The crew of Dodo’s Delight is exactly that: A tightly knit group of individuals with their own characters and traits. While much of the work they do is harrowing and dangerous, they never fail to crack a joke to lighten the mood.
If anything, “Dodo’s Delight” is a film for and by the filmmakers. Nothing is quite perfect in the film, with shots occasionally looking slightly off or subpar and a barebones story, but that’s aside from the point. They’re not trying to prove a point or inform audiences of a topic, but instead just having some laughs and showing what they do for a living.
O’Driscoll and his crew are all characters, and the dynamic between them elevates the film and keeps it interesting and entertaining. It’s not just an entertaining flick for the viewers, but you can tell that the group was having an absolute blast putting everything together. It’s complete and utter fun, through and through.
That’s not to say the film isn’t interesting as an adventure film, either. Free climbing is a terrifying and exciting sport, and the members of the Dodo’s Delight crew are professionals. The sheer cliff faces they ascend are part of some of the most breathtaking scenery you will ever see, and their camerawork is precise and well framed.
Surprisingly, though, the adventure part of the film takes a heavy backseat to the real life characters on the Dodo’s Delight. Watching their interactions and playful banter lets the film shine on its own. By not falling back on constant action footage and instead focusing on the situations and people, “Dodo’s Delight” is campy documentary fun that sets itself apart from the crowd. To put it simply, the film is an utter delight for audiences of all ages.