Journey (Warren Miller Entertainment 2003)

“Journey” is a classic Warren Miller film in the sense that all the requisite Miller components are here: it’s got the globe-trotting adventure to some weird place that turns out to have cool ski action (this time North Africa);  it’s got Alaskan spines and Chamonix steeps; and it’s got Miller’s low-key, off-centre sense of humour in his narration.  Even if it comes across as formulaic, well, that’s his formula, he developed it and you don’t mess with a good thing.   But formulaic or not, there’s always a huge thrill in watching Micah Black ski ridiculously steep lines or some wisdom to be gleaned from hearing pioneer Doug Coombs give insight into the mindset required to ski 50 degree pitches.   “Journey” has loads of other cool moments too: Glen Plake hitting the moguls with Toby Dawson (years before his Olympic medal), the US’s most decorated skier Bode Miller on fat skis for the first time and a great tribute to snowboard legend Craig Kelly who was killed in an avalanche the year “Journey” was made.    Perhaps reviewing this 2003 film in 2010 (because of its recent availability on DVD and iTunes) is not entirely fair because nowadays the soundtrack of power-pop punk comes off as dated as the carton of milk in the back of the cooler at a small-town 7-11.  Too bad, because the skiing is on point and the variety of shots from the big mountain to the back- country and over to the park tricks are all boss.  This was Warren Miller’s 2nd last film with any real active participation in the production on his part, so if you want to see the master’s style in all its glory, check out “Journey”.   By Mark “The Attorney General” Quail – 8/10

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