Resolution has lots of snowboarding in it and makes me want to go ride, what else should we expect from Snowboarder?
To start, holy balls does the intro feel long. It stands at a strong 8 minutes which isn’t bad but it lacks any good teases to the movie itself. The shots are definitely on the b-roll side as well as some quality crashes here and there but I tend to shift my attention elsewhere when this movie starts up.
Finally we see a lottery of names and the first to pop up is Jake Blauvelt, to the backcountry we go! This part is shared with Forest Bailey as we get to see some high quality big mountain power. Turns and twists, steep lines, powder flying through the air, and do we ever get tired of watching hand drags over rocks? No, we do not! I only ask that the helicopter shots stop circling the rider as they charge down a steep face. Most films only allow the camera shot to shift left to right or right to left from a safe distance but things get a little dizzying once the heli is over top of the rider. The mountain tends to lose its, “Holy shit! That’s crazy steep!” feel when we are above or behind the rider.
Next up in the lottery is Chris Grenier, 12 minutes into the movie and we already have a big mountain spot followed by a street spot. Chris killed his part, in the good way. There are a couple frontboards that are just fantastic and so proper I simply smile cheek to cheek and replay them 10 times over. His style, his look, his rep for New England, it all fits a proper street edit (I don’t know how I know this, but it feels right.) And that wall ride to backside 270 was filthy. There were a couple quick big mountain shots which didn’t quite fit the part but it is fun to see these guys take their unique style to a different element of snowboarding. Unfortunately, the music choice killed his part, in the bad way. If this part was strictly raw audio, or no audio, I would have been happier with it. Rap has its place in snowboarding but sometimes it is too much, Waka Flocka tends to be too much. Music can make or break a part and the riding defeated the music but not by much.
The next segment starring Danny Davis and Scott Blum could be best described as, “Handplant the World.” Seriously, I counted 11 hand maneuvers within the entire part which is nearly half the trick shots. I do love handplants though and if I could name all the different variations they pull I would have. One of these plants takes place on a very edgy looking rock and I imagined it hurt a lot to do that. I don’t think there is a glove in the world that would have survived that move without ripping open. The segment even ends with a little backside melon plant down over a giant wall, I dig it. Overall the part was solid and guided by some funky music that played well into Danny and Scott’s style. Why was there a random 10 second segment for like 3 riders though?
Moving along the lottery wheel we have Mikkel Bang with another big mountain segment. For some reason when I watch parts with Mikkel I imagine hes the guy who just likes to go fast downhill essentially racing everyone around him. His part is full of awesome big mountain lines and a couple booters to get sendy on. It’s a great part but repetition is beginning to set in with the film as a whole. We’ve already seen a big mountain part and this segment doesn’t feel entirely different from the first segment with Jake and Forest. The surfy vibes of the music help but not enough to make Mikkel’s part stick out. No question this guy charges hard but my attention span was on and off.
Frank “The Tank” April’s part is 3 minutes of street beauty. Between his beard and his line of heavy tricks, it makes for pure street riding poetry. And can we just take a moment to recognize how proper Frank’s 2-7s are. I see good riders all the time, I live in a location that breeds some of the best riders in the country, and yet I don’t see anyone doing a 2-7 or cab 2-7 the way Frank does. Damn, his segment in this movie is a must see!
Once again we arrive at another big mountain part, specifically labeled as Baldface. I am therefore allowed to assume all the shots from this point on will take place at Baldface. Why is there a random title slate for that though? Who knows. This part stars Jamie Lynn, Terje, and Bryan Iguchi. This is another part that somehow, even with big names, can not separate itself from the other backcountry segments. The inclusion of Nico Mueller and Ben Ferguson helps and yet I still feel nothing, I stare blankly at snowboarders snowboarding. Maybe the problem with shooting big mountain riding is that it has to feel like we are there, or at least too scared to be there. Maybe it’s a part of snowboarding best handled by actually doing it. The Art of Flight proved you can make big mountain riding into more than just turns but The Fourth Phase proved it’s not easy to repeat. Much like the repeating segments in Resolution, after seeing a couple turns, lines, and jumps I find it hard to come back to it again and again without something feeling or looking different. These guys deserve all the respect in the world for what they do on their snowboards while sliding down a giant mountain but the producers and directors need to find a new way for us to interact with it.
Also please stop using random event footage in the middle of a segment, just stop, never do it again. Please and thanks.
Next up we have Lucas Magoon and Harrison Gordon and, how should I say this, Lucas needed his own part here. Harrison Gordon is a great snowboarder but Lucas outshines him strictly on creativity and thought process alone. Harrison’s shots would have complimented Frank April’s portion of this film. Next to Lucas, his tricks were standard and basically buried into the subconscious of my brain. I’ve watched his part more than 20 times alone and I only seem to remember Gooner’s tricks and forget Harrison is even part of it. Lucas’ thought process and style stands on its own, easily one of the most unique riders ever. Jake OE sneaks a quick section in which fits well with it’s silliness and abstract style of seeing a feature. Honestly for 3 straight shots he just lobs himself on to the top of a fence and I still don’t know what he was trying to do but I wanted him to do it. The music is very complimentary to this part, you can’t spell funky without the fun and this all looked fun to me. Lucas’ riding was everything I wanted it to be for a part, Harrison’s just gets lost in a place where we don’t want any translation.
Big mountain strikes again with Mikey Rencz but something happens a little differently this time. 45 minutes into Resolution and my tolerance for more turn and burn is dwindling. Mikey’s part feels refreshing and maybe its a slightly bigger bag of tricks. Maybe its the music that brings me back to life. I would never think to place any hip hop over big mountain but it seems to wake me up for his part. Without music I would have fallen into another lapse of staring at a part without taking anything in but now its waking me up. I would still say the music doesn’t exactly hit the right tone but at least I am paying attention. The shots are tighter and the tricks are riskier so my excitement for snowboarding is up again.
Finally we arrive at the ender with Louif Paradis and his part is a perfect coda to the film. Thank god Mikey Rencz woke me up because I would have been nearly asleep by this segment. Louif’s tricks are impressive and proper (seriously what is with the French-Canadians and their 270s?) It starts off with a back 270 pretzel 270 down a rail, a trick that would piss off 99% of chiropractors. The combination of technical, big, and clean tricks makes his part about as flawless as it gets. The music is eerily solemn and somehow fits the part. The editing and music choice reminiscent of the Deja Vu films. As an ender I approve and I believe Louif has had like 4 other ender parts already in the last few years so he seems to be doing something right. It’s a great final segment to an otherwise lack luster film to this point. Like a cowboy riding off into the sunset only with a few bullet wounds to deal with.
The Snowboarder Movie all in all was good. Not great, not bad, just good. It had a little something for everyone when it comes to snowboarding but no walls were broken down and no stylistic choices that changed the face of shooting snowboarding. Resolution is a movie for the snowboarder who wants to see some snowboarding and no bullshit in between. As a film student it lacks that certain “something” to keep me from examining this movie anything beyond the depth of a shred flick. As a snowboarder, I’ll be coming back for specific parts looking for inspiration and hope.
Rating: 3.5 magazine subscriptions out of 5