Apromotional ESPN film designed to help further their burgeoning “action sports” brand, X Games 3D: The Movie does little more than offer stunning three-dimensional views of the titular annual competition. Narrated with overblown rhetoric by Emile Hirsch, Steve Lawrence’s feature-length commercial only feigns interest in the backstories and motivations of its chosen subjects, including motocross studs Travis Pastrana and Ricky Carmichael, snow- and skateboard phenom Shaun White, and skateboarding pals and rivals Danny Way and Bob Burnquist. Behind-the-scenes peeks at these athletic daredevils’ event preps are cursory while, in first-person interviews, they briefly discuss a shared compulsion to constantly reinvent their sports by pushing themselves and their stunts to ever-crazier heights. As evidenced by the footage on display, which alternates between material shot on 3D and traditional cameras, those boundaries are constantly being redefined, and the predictable thrill of X Games 3D is the up-close-and-personal vantage point on athletes flipping, twisting, and hurtling through the air and, as is frequently the case, crashing hard to the ground. When director Lawrence shifts to slow motion at the moment of his subjects’ midair soars, the film visually captures Pastrana’s description of time slowing to a virtual standstill during those precious few seconds in flight. Primarily, though, there’s no marriage of form and content to be found here, since the brunt of the action is culled from live coverage of the events, replete with increasingly monotonous “dude!” and “whoa!” color commentary and devoid of any mention of the year(s) in which these exploits actually took place. Still, even if woefully short on context with regard to the X Games contests or the profiled athletes, the sights of Way barreling down the Megaramp on a broken foot and after an apparent concussion, and of Carmichael clearing high jump bars on a motorbike, nonetheless serve as thrilling visions of men attempting to gauge, and then surpass, their own physical and psychological limits.
- ESPN Films
- 92 min
- Steve Lawrence
- Greg Jennings, Steve Lawrence
- Shaun White, Travis Pastrana, Ricky Carmichael, Danny Way, Bob Burnquist, Kyle Loza, Emile Hirsch
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