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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Sports > Snowboarding > First Descent (Snowboarding)

First Descent (Snowboarding)

 

Picture: C+†††† Sound: B-†††† Extras: B-†††† Film: B

 

 

Like skateboarding, snowboarding is a sport that is still considered very new and not totally in the mainstream, but it is in motion pictures enough.This includes the Kevin Harrison/Kemp Curley documentary First Descent, released late in 2005 before the latest Winter Olympics made the sportís stars Shaun White and Hannah Teter Gold Medallists.He was already as popular as any of the five stars of the film, Teter is gaining new exposure and the equally skilled and groundbreaking fellow talents joining the two are Terje Haakonsen, Shawn Farmer and Nick Perata.All five are invited to go boarding in very untouched parts of Alaska and it will not be easy, which is the whole point of doing it.They themselves are also very interesting and engaging, but we meet most of the key figures in the sportís young history.

 

Henry Rollins narrates the nearly two-hours of this very smart and well-edited (by Curley) showcase for what amounts to a tribute to the sport that shows the Alaska trip while doing a chronological flashback throughout the history of the sport.There is much heart and soul here all the way, tracing the rowdy early days to the crazy road exploits that fans and participants constantly filmed and taped (which helps this flashback history very much) for posterity.The title is a clever one too, telling us that even for the best in the world, hitting a new mountain or slope is the equivalent to being ďlike a virginĒ all over again.No wonder the love of this sport grows and is a worldwide phenomenon.

 

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is a mix of new Super 35mm footage and plenty of other formats going back to analog NTSC video.The result is the usual mix you get for documentaries, with Scott Duncanís cinematography exciting enough despite the generic format it is being shot in.The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is not bad, with healthy surrounds often, including some Rock music throughout.Extras include the trailer, extended boarding clips, deleted scenes and a couple of featurettes on the making of the film and its star athletes.All are good and enhance the film, but there was room for more and I wish we had more here.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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