April 26, 2005

If you only watch one extreme–sports film, watch this one

Writing about web page http://www.thecollectivefilm.com

Most MTB DVDs (of which there are many) follow a pretty much identical format:
1) Thrash-metal soundtrack
2) clip of rider hucking off a 50-foot drop
(repeat for 60 mins)
To be honest, if you've watched one you've pretty much watched them all, and unless you're a keen rider even that one is probably overkill.

'The collective' is different, though. For starters, it's beautifully shot. The opener in Utah (see below), the section in Hawaii, and the misty north-shore at the end are fantastic bits of scenery, shot in a kind of Amelie -style oversaturated way. I could quite happily watch those bits even without the bikes. There's a fantastic section somewhere in the middle where, having been tracking riders hooning through a forest trail, the camera suddenly pans up away from the action and focuses on a view through the treetops to a luminous-green hillside some way off – just like those moments you get out riding when you have to stop and take in the scenery for a moment.

Second, the soundtrack is varied and cool, with only a trace of metal interrupting the laid-back likes of Slackstring, Quantic, and John Butler Trio.

Third, the kind of riding that's captured is totally different to the traditional DH-racing-and-huge-drops format that's quite hard to relate to.

Watching really smooth riders riding singletrack at warp factor 8 gives you a real feeling of being there, and a sense of 'I could do that – maybe not as fast, but I could do it'. It's hard not watch the helmet-cam sections and not find yourself leaning into the corners on the sofa.

Of course, there are the few obligatory jaw-droppers, like Ryan Leach riding along a metal chain suspended between two posts, Matt Hunter nailing a massive road gap, or Steve Romaiuk pulling a rolling nose-wheelie for about 100 yards down a rubble-filled chute. But really they're just incidental to the main theme of the film, which is just about how, at whatever level you're riding, what matters is not how fast you're going, or how far you're jumping, but how wide you're grinning at the end.

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Steven Carpenter

    I second all of that; after borrowing Chris' copy, I ordered my own, which I've watched several times since (and which is now out on loan to another rider, who doesn't want to give it back). The soundtrack is fantastic (and is now available via the web site); Slackstring's Sunday Jen and Sweatshop Union's The Thing About It are now amongst my favourite tracks of all time; this combination of mellow sounds and the quality of the filiming (you will never see tracking shots done better) is a welcome change to the norm. It's rumoured that filming of 'The Collective 2' may happen this year, for release in 2006.

    27 Apr 2005, 21:23

  2. alen

    hey kids

    15 Sep 2005, 17:39

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