First Descent

"OK"

First Descent Review


Someone sitting near me during a First Descent screening leaned over after the film and asked, in mock seriousness, if we can expect a bowling documentary sometime in the near future.

I laughed, but in hindsight they aren't too far off. [In fact, at least one bowling doc has already been produced. -Ed.] A feature-length film detailing the history and cultural significance of snowboarding - a popular yet still evolving sport - seems premature at this point. Even co-directors Kemp Curly and Kevin Harrison, who cut their teeth as producers for MTV, are hard-pressed for enlightening material. What's worse, the two even skimp on the requisite hard-hitting soundtrack of rap/rock, which usually is half the fun of watching these extreme-sports excursions.

Curly and Harrison want their slickly produced Descent to pay tribute to snowboarding in much the same way that the similar - but superior - sport docs Dogtown and Z-Boys and Riding Giants did for skateboarding and surfing, respectively. They conduct sit-downs with industry pioneers and gather archival footage of early boarders knocking down barriers at posh resorts previously reserved for the ski community. Yet despite its current status as an Olympic event, snowboarding lacks the rich history and colorful characters that contributed to the timelines of its fellow board sports, which helped make made Dogtown and Giants such enjoyable rides.

The bulk of Descent follows five professional snowboarders ranging in age from 18 to 40 as they embark on a two-week trip to Alaska's backcountry to find unconquered terrain. It's a healthy mix of grizzled veterans and the sport's next generation of superstars. Shawn Farmer, 40, and Nick Peralta, 39, could be considered the founding fathers of snowboarding. They're joined by 18-year-old Shaun White, who is described by colleagues as the LeBron James of snowboarding, and the movie certainly shows why.

In between interviews with these likable athletes, Descent mentions milestones in snowboarding history without elaborating on what could have been very interesting topics. We learn that snowboarding is huge in Japan (events look like sold out U2 concerts in the States), but the film doesn't ask what triggered the sport's explosion. We hear about a drug scandal that rocked the first Olympic gold medalist for snowboarding, but the story sputters out in favor of more shots of Farmer and friends trekking down Alaska's treacherous mountains. The photography is breathtaking, but there are only so many times you can show a freestyle snowboarder spinning in the air and waxing philosophic before both get old.

You're doing it the wrong way.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 2nd December 2005

Box Office USA: $0.7M

Box Office Worldwide: $739.7 thousand

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
Fresh: 33 Rotten: 30

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Himself, Hannah Teter as Herself, Shawn Farmer as Himself, Terje Haakonsen as Himself, Travis Rice as Himself, Nick Perata as Himself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.