Compass, The (DVD Review)11 Jul, 2009 By: John Latchem
Prebook 7/14/09; Street 8/11/09
In the vein of The Secret and countless other similar self-improvement books and DVD programs comes The Compass. Its creator, John Spencer Ellis, bases his methodology on his observations about how people achieve success.
“There is one essential tool to ensure your travels through life are filled with excitement, adventure and contentment,” Ellis says in a special message on the DVD. “It’s having a strong internal guidance system. Your compass, and no one else’s.”
The format consists of interviews with a bunch of self-help gurus spouting lessons through the screen to the viewer. They tell stories of adversity and inspiration, and a lot of the advice seems like common sense. These are basic lessons about seeking positive reinforcement and thinking through actions with clarity.
The concept is reinforced visually by a side storyline about a man called The Traveler who wanders through a lonely landscape trying to find meaning in his life. The metaphors about finding direction and staying on the right path through life’s journey are obvious.
Ellis’ stated goal was to “combine media, entertainment and education in a way that inspires people, creates change for themselves and the world,” and judging by the high-quality of the disc’s production values, he seems off to a good start.
Ultimately, the video aims to help people get to know themselves better and thus understand how to pursue a satisfactory life.
A second disc includes a 10-minute program designed to help parents deal with teenagers, plus other supplements about achieving the goals discussed in the main program, and additional topics with the experts featured in the film. There’s also a behind-the-scenes featurette and a blooper reel.
The release of The Compass DVD coincides with a companion novel by Tammy Kling and Ellis that has been available since June from Vanguard Press at $23.95.