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First Descent (Widescreen Edition) (2005)

Kemp Curly , Kevin Harrison  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

List Price: $22.98
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Product Details

  • Directors: Kemp Curly, Kevin Harrison
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: February 21, 2006
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E0WJKK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,084 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "First Descent (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • AK and Beyond
  • Top of the World: Wescam Featurette
  • A Thousand Words
  • Big-Mountain Riding
  • Extended Snowboarding Action
  • Deleted Scenes

  • Editorial Reviews

    Product Description

    Follow five snowboarding icons (Shaun White, Hannah Teter, Terje Haakonsen, Shawn Farmer and Nick Perata) on this epic Alaskan journey as they ride the most challenging and dangerous mountains on the planet. Featuring some of the most jaw-dropping snowboard footage ever caught on film, this incredible motion picture tracks the rebellious, inspiring and sometimes controversial evolution of snowboarding from an underground American movement to a full-fledged global phenomenon.

    Talk about good timing (and shrewd marketing): the release of First Descent, a thrilling documentary about the snowboarding phenomenon, exactly coincided with the 2006 Winter Olympics, where some of the very same athletes featured in the film mined gold and glory on the slopes near Turin, Italy. But while Shaun White and Hannah Teeter both won gold medals in the halfpipe as the U.S. dominated the Olympic competition, those two young stars (along with three other snowboarding "legends") are seen in a far different environment in producer-directors Kevin Harrison and Kemp Curley's 111-minute film, tackling some dauntingly long, steep runs in the mountains of Valdez, Alaska, where avalanches, crevasses, and other hazards await as they search for "first descents" (i.e., places no snowboarder has been before) in that pristine, forbidding environment. As advertised, the footage is, well, awesome, as all five riders catch huge air on some of the gnarliest runs in the world; Norwegian Terje Haakonsen's final plunge from a 7,000 foot peak with a 60 degree drop must be seen to be believed. Elsewhere, First Descent chronicles the evolution of the snowboarding phenomenon, from its humble emergence in the 1970s, when the sport was derided by traditional skiers, to its extraordinary popularity in the '90s and beyond, when the X Games and Olympics telecasts brought it into living rooms across America, Europe, and Japan. Profiles of the individual athletes are included as well, but it's the Alaska footage--where, in the words of 'boarder Shawn Farmer, they "pinned it to the wall and threw down"--that's the principal attraction here. Nearly an hour's worth of extra features will add to the appeal of the film, which features narration by former Black Flag-bearer Henry Rollins and music by Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh. --Sam Graham

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
    After "Dogtown and Z-Boys" and "Riding Giants" -- documentaries that cover the similar sports / culture territory, "First Descent" arrived at the theatre. As you know, the film is about snowboarding which is getting more and more popular, and as it title suggests, "First Descent" includes the exciting footages about six riders snowboarding in the mountains of Alaska -- Shawn Farmer, Terje Haakonsen, Nick Perata, Travis Rice, Hannah Teter and Shaun White.

    The film's topic is interesting even if you're not a snowboarder or a fan of these six athletes interviewed here, but I feel someone else could have made a better film with the same material.

    The feature film runs almost 110 minutes and spends its time mostly on two topics: history of snowboarding as sports, and the six athletes' rides in Alaskan mountains. Some part of the former section is fresh and informative; I didn't know snowboarding is so popular in Japan where you can see the riders jumping in packed stadium of Tokyo Dome. The excitement of the place is like the Rolling Stones concert, proving the riders' popularity.

    But the film gives me an impression that the treatment is a bit cursory. You hear words like `big' or `huge' many times, but we are not allowed to know how big or huge the snowboarding business has become. We are told that snowboarding progressed with time, but seldom is the film incisive as to how. I am not saying the film should be erudite as textbook; I am only saying that we need more original approach to it, something humorous or human that made "Dowgtown and the Z-Boys" a joyful watch.

    The same can be said about the section that follows the six riders in Alaska. They are all likable persons, quite frank about themselves and their snowboard riding is amazing.
    Read more ›
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    9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a solid feature film about snowboarding March 11, 2006
    In terms of story and content, this is probably the strongest film ever made about snowboarding. Gorgeous photography and a really solid storyboard made this film a real motion picture rather than a collection of montages like you see so many other boarding films. Unfortunately this film lacks the real jaw-dropping moments you really need in a film of this caliber. This film has one or two, but needs more to really sustain the interest level. Terje Haakonsen was spectacular as always, though, and any film blessed with his participation is almost always sublime.

    On a side note, I was a little disappointed in Shaun White's performance in this film. It seemed as though his heart was not really in the big back-country experience and that he would have rather stayed at home in the park. As a big fan of his riding, I was hoping to see more of his awesome freestyle ability translate to the open terrain. I was surprised to see him board with his freestyle binding setup (wide centered stance) rather than something more conducive to powder riding. I think the film crew noticed the lack on enthusiasm and actually showed him the least of all the five riders in the actual boarding scenes (they showed plenty of his interviews).

    Overall though, I'd strongly recommend this film to any snowboarder who is truly interested in the sport.
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    10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Thrill & Chill February 15, 2006
    By Jen Hop
    This is a great documentary and thrilling movie. Being able to see two Olympic gold medalists and snowboarding pioneers at the same time is a treat. The cast is a diverse group that has one thing in common, the love of snowboarding. It is a must see for winter sports fans of all ages.
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    4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Too much White March 12, 2006
    By J. Higa
    It's refreshing to finally see a snowboard movie on the big screen. However, I was hoping it would be more like the Dogtown and Z Boyz Documentary. Someone who reviewed this film thought that Shawn White got very little footage, are you kidding me? This film was one big advertisment for Shawn White. I don't deny his ability or his domination of the contest circuit but personally, I'm sick of all the hype surrounding this kid. You could have cut out over half the interview with him and replaced it with actual riding or possibly more footage on Nick Perata. His presence was virtually non-existent. And while we're at it, why not include a big mountain rider such as Victoria Jealouse? She's one of the best out there, but as usual women rarely get any coverage. I did enjoy the vintage footage from the days of yore and the trip to Alaska but would have been happier with strictly veteran riders on this trip. The footage on Terje was excellent, and there should have been more. Snowboarders out there old enough to remember classics such as "Snowboarders in Exile" may be a little disappointed with this film. But, it far excels the last 7 or 8 years of crappy Snowboarding flicks that feature nothing but rail riding and gap jumps. In this one, big mountain riding finally gets the attention it deserves. It's nice to see Farmer out there again. We've missed him. I'd like to see a film with the reunion of the fall line film crew. Dave Seone, Steve Graham, Damien Sanders, etc. Overall, the fim was pretty good and I would recommend it for anyone looking for big mountain riding and a little history.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars The Generations of Snowboarding May 22, 2011
    Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
    Take my words with a grain of salt as I have no snowboarding experience what-so-ever, but think it looks cool on television. First Decent shows some pretty intense action shot up in the Alaskan back country featuring future Olympic gold medalists Shawn White and Hannah Teter along with snowboarding veterans Shawn Farmer, Nick Perata, and Terje Haakonsen. It's a decent documentary mixed with the snowboarding footage that provides a solid introduction to the world of snowboarding, but there wasn't a lot of depth I felt for someone like me who doesn't have a deep snowboard background, I would've loved to have heard more about how the sport has grown. The presentation hinted on these things much like other reviewers have indicated, increased money, television exposure, more difficult tricks, etc. but lacked the depth I would've wanted. Also the mix of action and documentary kind of took away from the actual documentary portion because they'd go 20-25 minutes of snowboard stuff and then a chuck of documentary. Liked it, but could've been executed better.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    3.0 out of 5 stars ok
    If you get this movie to see raw mountains get shredded, you'll be disappointed - only one new mountain. Read more
    Published 7 months ago by deuce883
    5.0 out of 5 stars great
    My son is a snowboarding nut and this is perfect for him. This is an interesting film and has all the jaw-dropping boarding that you want to see
    Published 8 months ago by Anne
    1.0 out of 5 stars just didn't like it
    My husband really didn't like this movie. We will never get a other movie like this one. Was very disappointed with it
    Published 8 months ago by vera corhn
    5.0 out of 5 stars great documentary
    This is a great documentary about backcountry (particularly shaun white and his early backcountry experience). Read more
    Published 8 months ago by Taylor Carter
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
    Awesome movie, makes me want to snowboard more. I am excited to one day go back to those places or something similar.
    Published 20 months ago by crusadeforchrist
    4.0 out of 5 stars Gift recipients loved it!
    Never saw it myself; gave as gift to my snow-boarding grandkids. They loved it. Guess I'll have to take a look!
    Published 20 months ago by Dan Dippery
    5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic show!!
    I love this!! It really captures a lot of reality from the riders' points of view. The music is great, the narration is perfect, and the cast was genius! Well done, Mr. Read more
    Published 21 months ago by Pax River Princess
    3.0 out of 5 stars Not horrible, not the best.
    This movie was recommended when I purchased the Art of Flight.. It's not at all what I had expected. It is interesting at times, but pretty lame at others.
    Published 21 months ago by Austin winkle
    5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks!
    I'm giving this as a gift so thanks for sending so quickly. I'm sure they will love it!

    Published 22 months ago by Bryan Whiteman
    5.0 out of 5 stars Evolution of snowboarding
    it was a sweet movie it really showed how snowboarding evolved through the years and kinda showed where snowboarding is now
    Published on December 5, 2011 by B. Jeffrey
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