Big question: Based on what we can gather from X Games and Mountain Dew commercials, snowboarding is, like, totally ragin'. Do we need a documentary to assert the sport's popularity and show us how it takes skateboarding to the extreme?!
Catch it: Thanks to gorgeous shots of snow-covered Alaskan scenery, "First Descent" sends you on a trip to a winter wonderland without having to freeze your ass off. Top boarders such as Shaun White pull off some gnarly, fluid moves down pretty intimidating mountains, giving a gliding beauty to their strokes like an icy cool calligrapher.
Skip it if: You want to learn what it feels like to soar and just what makes snowboarding so fun--aside from busting totally radical "lines" thousands of feet up. These experts aren't much more articulate than their boards.
Bottom line: This male-dominated, regular-dudes sport is a frozen pleasure to watch, but "First Descent" does little to differentiate snowboarding from skateboarding or identify what it takes to master the mountain. And while snowboarding sure has leapt off the slopes of late, saying that it has "changed the face of sports as we know it today" is akin to saying that Andres Nocioni has altered the world of basketball.
Bonus: A sport must be bitchin' when the device used to carve out half-pipes is called a "pipe dragon," right?
Directed and produced by Kevin Harrison, Kemp Curley; written by Harrison; photographed by Scott Duncan; edited by Curley; music by Mark Mothersbaugh; co-produced by John Kaplan and Mark Joubert. An MD Films release; opens Friday. Running Time: 1:50. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for brief strong language and a momentary drug reference).
Narrator - Henry Rollins
Shawn Farmer - himself
Terje Haakonsen - himself
Nick Peralta - himself
Hannah Teter - herself
Shaun White - himselfCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times