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Kon Tiki (2013)Kon Tiki (2013)

           This dramatization of a true story isn't good cinema, but it's great history. Back in 1947, the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdal and five crew members drifted 4,300 miles from Peru to Polynesia on a balsa wood raft that was built from the materials and methods of 1500 years ago, and that provided virtually no steerage or sails. The voyage took 101 days, and all six crew members arrived safely. Heyerdal wanted to prove that the Pacific islands had been settled by South Americans to the east and not Asians from the west. Yes, there are sharks, storms, boredom, swaying women in grass skirts, and melodramatic music. The real history is told in Heyerdal's book (1948) that's been translated into 70 languages, sold 50 million copies, and made into a previous movie (1951) that won the Academy Award. For the record, several explorers repeated Heyerdal's feat in the following decades, with the longest-known raft voyage drifting 9,000 miles in 179 days.

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