First Ascent is an epic rock climbing movie. It really feels like a cut above the rest in terms of content and quality. There are various locations including Thailand and India. A lot of the action focuses on a Swiss climber called Didier Berthod and his quest to be the first up the Cobra Crack. There are plenty of spoken parts with some interesting characters. Its great to get a quick insight into these guy’s heads.
The climbing is pretty thrilling. It is all based around first ascents of course, which means very challenging routes that nobody else has climbed. Some of the crack climbing looks like a nightmare, but at the same time we get to see how rewarding it is when successfully climbed. There is a good variety including deepwater soloing and big walls.
There are two segments featuring a guy doing comedy sketches. The first is him as a teacher in a primary school while he gives the kids a lesson on the history of climbing. It is excellent and a really welcome change. The guy is very funny. The second bit he does is him pitching to Hollywood producers about him starring in an urban climbing show. It is also pretty amusing.
First Ascent is the first climbing film where I wrote down the name of the directors at the end. As soon as I have done this review I will be searching for anything else they have done and getting it. There was just something enjoyable about this one which will keep me coming back to anything else these guys do. It looks like they might have something do do with Reel Rock too which I loved and will review soon. There is also a First Ascent TV series to check out (pretty sure I caught an episode once where a climber dies in somewhere like China).
First Ascent is not my favorite climbing movie, as it perhaps jumps around too much. It has the best soundtrack I’ve heard on a climbing film, mostly sort of easy listening modern rock (or indie?) which fits very well. Also there are times when music is used to great effect to convey emotions like a success. This will be a DVD that gets more repeat watches than most and I highly recommend it.
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