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After four years of waiting The Fourth Phase is upon us. Travis Rice’s opus that had an unbelievable amount of hype riding on its shoulders. Travis sailed his board around the damn world to give us what we thought we wanted and did media interviews with every news outlet to get the word out. Nearly every review out there so far states a similar sentiment. They are confused. They thought they wanted something new and different after complaining about too many un-inspiring web edits. But then they saw what money, time, and talent could produce and… they didn’t really like that either. Or weren’t used to it.

They love and respect Travis Rice and were looking to him to provide direction to the next level and knew the movie isn’t made with real snowboarders in mind, but they should like the best of the best anyway. Somehow though, as much as they want to be blown away it just didn’t live up to their expectations.

 

Here is a rundown of a few of the unbiased reviews for The Fourth Phase out there:

YoBeat gave their first honest impressions not to Queen B Geery, but to someone else. Perhaps to lessen the sting.

“I want to like Fourth Phase; I really do. But, and I’m saying this with tremendous respect, the film just fell short for me last night. I was let down. I was disappointed. After talking to a couple other friends, I wasn’t the only one. It begs the question: Does every pow turn and landing really need supplemented audio? Do we really need to spend 4 years and millions of dollars making a snowboard film? I get that I’m not really who this movie is intended for; I get that this movie is intended for more of a mainstream audience and mass consumption.”

 

USA TODAY mostly loved it. Calling The Fourth Phase a gorgeous masterpiece.  But also said something that stung the most, “…people spent three years creating a film about a sport that is struggling to remain relevant.

Ouch.

 

The verdict from Whitelines:

“So if he, with all his industry might, with all the financial backing of Red Bull, with all the follow-cams and film crews and bag carriers and three years of footage and everything else that he has been able to amass in order to make The Fourth Phase… if even he can’t make a long-form snowboard movie that’s going to get people to stop flicking through pictures on Instagram or fast-forwarding through videos of cats falling off fences on YouTube, then we might have just seen the end of the snowboard movie. If Trice can’t make it work, who else is going to convince Red Bull to part with millions, convince the world’s best riders to travel with them in a cramped camper van and convince heli-pilots to risk their lives?”

 

SNOWBOARDER Mag was at the world premiere in LA and not every rider left happy. They gave the movie kudos for attempting something different in an age when it’s almost impossible to do something different.

 

Transworld SNOWboarding did a decent job running down the movie from start to finish, however kept it pretty diplomatic by not offering any true review. This was the closet they got:

“Is the action in The Fourth Phase as preposterous as that of its predecessor, The Art of Flight? Yes. Is there as much of it as in films prior? Probably not. Each Rice movie—The Community ProjectThat’s It, That’s All, and The Art of Flight—has had a narrative element to it, but this time the story rises further to the top. The down days and logistical hurdles, which are a reality for every big mountain snowboarder, are embraced in a cinematic sense.”

 

All these reviews bring up a good point. Maybe if everyone thinks they want something more than a few sessions edited down into an on-line friendly tease, that’s exactly what it is. A dream. A hope that that is what they want, where they actually don’t want long-form, high production at all. Has The Fourth Phase finally made people realize that the snowboard video is dead forever? How many more years of web edits are we going to have to suffer through before the next great video does come out and makes us change our minds?

Regardless, we are all going to watch it as we all should.

 

 

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