The Art of Flight

Note: this review is part of the Winter Sports blogathon hosted by the author of these lines Michaël Parent of Le Mot du Cinephiliaque

The Art of Flight (Curt Morgan, 2011)

The most anticipated snowboard movie of the year 2011, The Art of Flight meets the high expectations that its producers created with the tremendous teasers spread since the winter of 2010. Made with the colossal budgets of RedBull, the new BrainFarm release is a great follow up to the amazing precedent of That’s It That’s All released in 2008. While the earlier offering put the table for the latest, the formula is now exploited at its full potential.

First they introduce the star of the film, Travis Rice and his walk-in fantasy mancave of Lib-Tech pro-models, waxing station. Then the film takes us on a trip across the world at the craziest place on earth to snowboard: Alaska, Chili, Aspen, Patagonia, British Columbia, etc. Without forgetting to go where Rice calls home: Jackson Hole a superb mountain full of fresh powder and huge kickers.

Some moments are just really taking us at the edge of our seat. While other humbling moments of avalanches are delivering genuine feelings of the risk they are taking to do their living even if it a dream life of chasing snow and winter just like the surfers in the masterpiece The Endless Summer. There's also an awareness of the climate change that many pro snowboarders are sharing. Especially freeriding legend Jeremy Jones and his many great causes.

As many have probably noticed, there is more freeriding and big mountains riding in The Art of Flight than in That’s It That’s All. However, it is far from being dull or repetitive, the skills of the riders are so strong that it could have been only descents in powder that the movie would have been as good. The super slow-motion is also something worth the look, it blends with the High Definition shootings that should be watched on a 1080p television with the proper DVD or BluRay player. While That’s It That’s All was an evolution in snowboarding movies, The Art of Flight is another step forward in the direction of artistic films shot with the qualities of a documentary. The visuals are blissful and the quality of the editing is more than admirable.

Plus, the soundtrack is amazing, the chosen songs give the appropriate emotion to the many effects expected and the current hits of The Naked and Famous, Deadmau5, Apparat, Blockhead, The Album Leaf, The Black Angels, M83, Sigur Ros, and many others. It delivers a solid pairings with the different parts and it demonstrates how the makers of the film are aware of the current underground bands of today and what it is listened in the moment.

All in all it is the ultimate snowboard movie and even if you’re into rails, jibs, and street, you should watch the movie because it reminds to every rider out there what the sport really is and what made it what it is today. The Art of Flight is like a love letter to snowboarding and it tells you that sky is the limit within this discipline. It is presenting snowboarding as now a thing of its own and not the child of skateboarding and surfing.

Running Time: 80 minutes

Riders: Travis Rice, John Jackson, Mark Landvik, Scotty Lago, Jake Blauvelt, Nicolas Müller, Gigi Rüf, DCP, Pat Moore, Jeremy Jones, and Bjorn Leines.

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