During the fallout from the disappointing Fourth Phase premiere, discussion at WLHQ turned to what makes a good snowboard movie (and conversely, what doesn’t).
It struck yours truly that the longer film crews churn out movies together, the greater the temptation becomes to wax lyrical on the process of making snowboard movies. You know the drill: clichéd voiceovers about chasing the snow and stacking footy. Even the fabled Robot Food trilogy was not immune – the final installment (Afterlame) began with a grumpy Charlie Morace moaning about that “four-second clip that comes from like, a day of work” and included much soul searching from the crew about what drives them and whether it was still fun.
“This might just be the final word in snowboarding documentaries”
The Fourth Phase fell into a similar trap – mistaking the routine challenge of gathering next level material for an engaging narrative in its own right. The thing is: how snowboard films are made is often not that interesting. What the punters usually want to see is either mental, balls-to-the-wall action or creative tricks and high-fives they can at least identify with. In fact these days, in the age of internet micro-clips, just one sharable moment can cut through the noise more powerfully than an entire film. Po-faced chat about getting shut down by the 5-0 numerous times before Johnny finally landed it? That’s what DVD extras were invented for back in the day.