October 8, 2013

Review: Sherpas Cinema’s “Into the Mind”

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Two years ago, Sherpas Cinema blew everyone else out of the water with their movie All. I. Can.  As a result, expectations were unfairly high going into the premiere of this year’s feature, Into the Mind.  Overall, the movie is definitely worth seeing.  The skiing is absolutely phenomenal.  It features the best skiers in the world in the best locations on the planet.  The editing and cinematography are stunning.  It contains originality that could only come from Sherpas Cinema.  However, a lot of the movie is over produced.  The skiing, which there wasn’t enough of, was at times overshadowed by additional effects that simply did not need to be there.

To try and go into the plot would be a futile effort.  Basically, Into the Mind attempts to take you into the psyche and decision-making of your modern skier, through a twelve-chapter journey that requires your full concentration.  As they did in All. I. Can., Sherpas starts the movie out with a duo of skiers out to tackle lines in the Morrison Hotel(?).  At the start of every chapter, Into the Mind flashes back to the progression of that journey.  This time however, the skier drops half way through the movie.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.

The first three segments of the movie are phenomenal.  After a ten minute introduction (long, but still holds your attention), the skiing kicks off in Snowwater, BC, where Ingrid Backstrom, Johnny Collinson, and Hoji among others ski DEEP powder alongside a bald eagle.  It’s ridiculously cool, except the post production done has you questioning whether the eagle is real, when in fact, it was.  The next segment, filmed in Bella Coola, was the best of the movie.  Callum Pettit, J.P. Auclair, and Kye Peterson ski line after line of jaw dropping skiing set to stunningly beautiful cinematography.  It is not to be missed.  The Bella Coola segment is followed up by a very strong Whistler segment that is highlighted by Julian Carr’s ridiculous front flip over the entirety of the famed Air Jordan.

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Benji Farrow’s segment may have been overwhelming.

The next chapter of Into the Mind epitomizes where Sherpas goes too far with the entire movie.  Benji Farrow, the talented American halfpipe rider, starts to drop in to a pipe, when he is cut off by another version of himself.  Before long, there are dozens of Benjis, and the original Benji is overwhelmed.  The audience was overwhelmed as well.  The following segment seeks to continue off J.P. Auclair’s All. I. Can. segment.  It features amazing street riding in a very urban environment, where J.P. is joined by jib legend Tom Wallisch.  However, we lose perspective of how sweet some of the jibs are as we try to keep up in the spotlighted Batman-esque scene.

Don’t get me wrong.  It is still a good movie. The film gets back on track with a Huayna Potosi segment, followed by a very good segment that shows some of the cinematographic greatness of Sherpas Cinema.  The segment starts out with snowboarder DCP, who is shown shredding pillows in Rettallack. The snow sprays turn into DCP surfing waves, and then transfers back to snowboarding.  It is then mixed in with humans in the outdoor sports world and coorelates them with animals in their natural world, such as a mob of skiers that turn into herds of animals, and a mountain goat with ice climber Conrad Anker.  The rest of the movie is pretty good too.  Segments featuring Abma and Hoji at Eagle Pass and Ian McIntosh and a crew in Denali are pretty awesome.  And like in All. I. Can., we get to watch the intro come full circle, as the skier confronts his demons. The final segment where we watch Callum Pettit grow up, old (yes he grows a fake beard) and raise a kid is pretty cheesy, but it’s ok.

I know this review spends some time disliking the Inception-like qualities of this movie.  Yes, there is not enough skiing, and yes the postproduction is unnecessarily intense.  Overall, however, I liked it.  It made some very real points on the effort needed and the risks taken while pursuing life in the mountains. Though it does lose you sometimes, the visuals in this movie are very cool.  That combined with some of the best big mountain skiing in the world, make for a very respectable movie that deserves your time.

About the Author

1. Ed Dujardin
After moving out west for college, Ed took summer school so he could spend winters in Crested Butte. These days, he coaches the Western State Colorado University Freeride Team, and spends as much time as he can fishing the incredible rivers of the area.