Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Art of Flight: Portland Premiere


Let's face it, if you haven't seen this movie yet, you might not be the sort of person who reads Bored Yak. But if that's you, find a premiere near you - say within a 5-hour drive - and go to it. Watching it on a giant screen with all of the fancy Dolby technology in full effect is really the only way to go. Regardless of your home setup, it doesn't compare. The Art of Flight isn't as much better than That's It, That's All than TITA was better than the rest of the field, but it is better and that should tell you something.
Gratuitous tour vehicles
Let's talk about the premiere itself for a second. Remember all that fancy Dolby technology? Well it turns out, that stuff takes some time to set up. The ticket said showtime was 8, I figured doors at 7. When the doors finally opened at damn near 9, the bar was out of beer and my friends never wanted to let me plan anything again. It wasn't my fault. I would have been there at 9am helping them out had they only asked. I would have brought more beer, too.
Riders (and filmer) representing

One of the consequences of all that alcohol consumption was, of course, rampant drunkenness. Combine that with ushers who were clearly more used to the performing arts that the theatre was accustomed to hosting and the second-level balcony was a generational clash fit for a sitcom. Paper airplanes were launched en masse. Ushers were threatening paper airplane pilots with expulsion.  People were way over-stoked and yelling at their friends across the balcony. The only thing that saved us was the dimming of the lights. On with the show.

Ah, the show. Travis Rice delivers some passionate, if over-the-top narration. Same for his riding. He truly is on another level. He's one of those guys who makes you wonder, "What does the mountain look like through his eyes?" Every undulation and sharp corner on a line is game for high-stakes trickery.

John Jackson also occupies rare air in big mountain freestyle. He sends a couple that just... keep... going. And you know his style is always locked on.

Speaking of style, how about Mark Landvik? It's been so intriguing watching him progress through the years. Not many people progress into throwing more methods, but that seems to be the case with Lando. His shifties and late spins in TAOF add a fun, super-stylish dimension.

I could watch Nicolas Müller ride all day every day. He's another guy who just sees things differently. You might think you know what he's going to do, but the only even-money guess is 'slash.' I'll never forget Air & Style Munich 2007. The lower section had an air option and a rail setup. Ever see Nico hit a rail? Me neither. He'll air it, right? Nope, he cuts it wide and handplants. That's what you can expect from a Müller.

One section that branded itself in my brain was the Darwin Range section. The Darwin Range is about as far south as you can get in Chile. Tierra del Fuego, the land of fire, which makes this next quote seem more appropriate. The Art of Flight crew asks if they can go ride there, the guide says, "Absolutely not... that's where the devil lives." I felt a lump rise in my throat. What do you say to that!? This guy, your local guide, believes the creator of all things evil resides in this place. They're going to ride there, aren't they? Yup. Some mini-pinner of a chute that could have been called 'The Devil's Skidmark' for the ratio of rocks to snow. Alternating ass hauling with unstrapping and hopping through rocks while the chopper is waiting, burning fuel which they are preciously low on. Still with an hour flight home. Not where you want to be stuck... That's just how this crew rolls. Dancing with the devil is just part of the game.
Photos in the lobby. Check out the limited edition book, too.

Negatives? Yeah, all the gratuitous heli shots and insano-slo-mo. If you forget who foots the bill for this one, you will see their logo again. I guess that's the price you pay for letting them pay your way. If that's what I have to deal with, I can handle it. Also, I'm not sure if you know, but there are no handrail shots in this one. They don't even use them while walking down stairs. Not extreme enough.

I was expecting this movie to be more spectacle than 'make you want to ride' and it was. But you know what? It worked on both fronts. The spectacle is undeniable, but the stoke factor came through for me. Like Travis says, "Adventure is what you make it." Get out there and enjoy the shred. Find your own progression and push it. Rededicate yourself to snowboarding.

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