Cold Fusion (Warren Miller Entertainment 2001)

Over the last decade the hallmark of the Warren Miller ski movie brand has seemingly been to be all things to all people.  A little skiing, a little snowboarding, the odd extreme thrill segment (say, BASE jumping or snowmobiling), the public party sequence (you know, shots of spring break in the ski village with everybody getting wet) and the lifestyle footage of mountain living.  It’s a formula that is worked mercilessly in pretty well all the Warren Miller films of the 2000s but that’s to be expected because that’s their thing and you build brands by being consistent.  “Cold Fusion” is no exception but it’s interesting to note what they try to improve here.  Miller’s film from the prior year, “Ride”, was devoid of a few of the elements that were grabbing hold in freeskiing like urban rails and the progression of park tricks into big mountain settings.   To their credit the producers try to fix this and have the film reflect more of what was then current in the freeski movement but it is also where they fall down a little.  To bring “Cold Fusion” up to date for 2001 the crew at Warren Miller Entertainment took a few steps, one being a call to Seth Morrison to huck some cliffs new millennium style (his 1st appearance for Warren Miller since 1993’s “Black Diamond Rush”) and another which was to feature some new school talent (JP Auclair and CR Johnson included) working out on a slope-style course and shredding rails.  Scored with Jurassic 5’s “The Game” the whole thing comes across like a Poor Boyz Productions segment which are always cool but then you see the credits role and you see that Poor Boyz’ John Decesare was actually behind the segment.  WTF?  I guess it’s good that Decesare makes some bank licensing out his work out so he can carry on and grow his own brand (as he has done nicely) but it seems like a cop-out on the part of Warren Miller Entertainment.  Couldn’t the producers shoot their own footage of young guns stompin’ it?  Same goes for the snowboard sequence licensed from Standard Films.  Clocking in at 95 Minutes “Cold Fusion” is about 20 minutes too long.  A more disciplined hand in the editing room would have helped to prune some of the lifestyle sequences (the beginning of the Mount Waddington, BC segment and the time spent in the travelogue sequences to Kenya and Iran, for example) and get down to the core of what a ski film should be:  skiing and lots of it.  If that wasn’t enough, the product placement elements have all the subtlety of a hand grenade in a nest of baby birds (Hi Nissan Pathfinder).  The Copper Mountain and Yellowstone Club, Montana segments run like straight up infomercials for those resorts.  There’s a lot right with “Cold Fusion” but there’s a lot wrong with it too.  Dropped balls like this make it a whole lot easier for the ski movie competition to successfully present more cohesive visions of skiing.  And that’s exactly what happened in the rest of the first decade of this new millennium.    By Mark “The Attorney General” Quail – 6/10

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