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Case Number 04585: Small Claims Court

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Kite Flight

MVC Productions // 2001 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // June 10th, 2004

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All Rise...

Judge Bill Gibron really misses David Tomlinson's singing voice. Sigh.

The Charge

Some people have far too much time on their hands…

The Case

What's the hottest new sport sweeping the seashore, the latest fave fad that gets the moondoggies in a dither and the dune dames all balled up and breaching? No, it's not Tag Team Thigh Chafing, that wonderful event that mixes sand and short pants into a red, itchy relay. Though barely struggling, State Sanctioned Sun Poisoning has managed to keep its head above water by turning its attention to a more international competitive crowd. Last year's rebellious rave, Undersea Shouting, has fallen out of favor when both EA Sports and Taco Bell pulled out of the Grand Nationals over allegations that some competitors were juicing their voice boxes with steroids. And the less said about Starfish Petting, the better.

No, the latest escapist excuse to endanger one's life is based in a simple idea, executed in the most outlandish fashion possible. It's bold. It's bizarre. It's kite flying. Or is it kite boarding? That's right, kite board…flying? Now, before you get your internal George Banks in a lather and break out the butcher's wrap and ceiling wax, let's look a little deeper into this pseudo-new novelty, shall we? In essence, this new intense sport is windsurfing without those nasty, nonsensical items like safety or sanity. "Flyers" hook themselves up to a parachute-like fabric wing, stick their feet in a seaworthy snowboarding-like device, grab on to the trapeze-ish handle and hit the water. Then, as the breezes blow and billow in any and all directions, the athlete grabs on for dear, sweet life and skims across the glass like surface of the ocean as Mother Nature takes him or her for a nice long drag. Sound like fun? Oh, you bet it is. Also sounds like a death wish wrapped in an enigma, all based in an adrenaline-powered rush to taunt death while still arresting your adolescence. Bitchin' dude, totally!

Indeed, one has to wonder about the mindset of the suckers who latch themselves into the elaborate series of trusses required to cheat the Grim Reaper, knowing that they are at the uncontrollable mercy of intangibles like wind gusts, physical prowess, and the pure power of nature. While the premise is so simple that it's hard to imagine why some other water weasel hadn't thought of it before, there is still a degree of disbelief experienced when we first witness a flyer take to the air and simply hang there. It's that initial gravity-defying dimension that must sell the sensible and the sane into risking their vital organs over a chance to chase the currents aloft. That, or a sadly unsatisfied life.

Whatever it is, we learn very little about the motivation behind this new sport on the Kite Flight DVD from MVC Productions. The motion picture montages offered here present various victims of this X-treme dream double-dog-daring the karmic forces to keep them safe for another sail above the surf. There are actually two versions of the video here: one offering a narrative-free feeling of freedom as brave young bozos break the waves and waft into the sea spray, and another providing three informational moments where we can hit the "enter" key and see a short sequence about the development and equipment of the sport. Most of these moments of enlightenment are very dull and relatively routine. We fail to appreciate any of the intricacies or technological elements at play. The athletes are so tongue-tied and spaced out that their ramblings resemble Zen moments in the life of a waterlogged waste-oid. The overall feeling is less like a teaching tool and more like a scrapbook for incredibly non-cautious corpses-in-training.

Still, one can't help but be captivated by the exciting visuals on display. Shot with a great deal of epic scope and amazing scenery, Kite Flight is a soul-satisfying piece of intense eye candy. Just looking at the ice-blue oceans, waves cresting and crashing in flotsam fantasy, makes for an ocular orgasm of amazing proportions. Add in a sizzling sunset or lush green seashore, and the escapist elements are in place for a possible peek at actual paradise. The frantic flying and demonstrations of RIP-rebelling are also compelling in an action-sequence kind of way. But it's nature at its most nudie-cutie, cut loose and living it up, that really sells the sightseeing here.

Too bad then that Kite Flight has nothing more to offer than this. The rote instructional elements—which sound like hastily cobbled together testaments to the bleeding obvious—manage to muck up the flow and feel of the disc. If given the option (and the menu screen indicates you can disengage the floating informational icon), it would be better to view this film sans its scant sidebars. And don't expect a lot of variation in the action footage. The differing dimensions you get in Kite Flight can best be described as takeoff, landing, spinning, and surface-skimming. These ocean motion maneuvers are then repeated over and over again, giving you the impression of having a surfer with a short attention span disorder recalling his most gnarly tricks in a steady stream of consciousness. It's all too beautiful, but it can also get right boring in the process. Kite Flight should have stuck to the basics of this new board boogie. It should have outlined the history, dashed off some flash, and then hit with the highlights. Instead, this travelogue testament to man's inner desire to endanger his life is resplendent and redundant in equal parts.

MVC tries to tempt the possible DVD buyers out there with a wonderful picture, passable sound, and some solid extras. Visually, Kite Flight looks exceptional, utilizing a direct-to-digital video transfer that keeps the more high-definition elements of the image intact. Oceans have a crisp, refreshing quality, and the skies are sun-filled and dappled with detailed clouds. The action is always expertly framed and tracked with precision. The 1.33:1 full screen picture is pristine and powerful. On the sonic side, MVC must be attempting to thrust some really malodorous rancid rock and roll onto the potential danger denizens in the audience. The slam-bang boredom created by these glorified grunge grunts is almost unlistenable. Even in excellent Dolby Digital Stereo, bass and treble balanced to highlight the horse dung, the tunes here are terrible.

At least the bonuses back up their desire to entertain. The angle choices are a bit of bunk, since it's not the same rider whom we witness from various vantage points. The interviews are mostly small snippets of pseudo-intelligence from many of the participants in this new sport. The Future feature is a subtle bit of product placement, as the main companies behind Kite Flight flaunt their new technologies for the New Year.

Between the excellent visuals and the contextual treats, Kite Flight manages to overcome its lesser components to offer a stunning—if stunted—example of this radical new sport. Just don't be surprised if competitive kite boarding goes the way of Mixed Couples Crab Counting. Why that seaside sensation never caught out is one of God's own private mysteries.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 76

Perp Profile

Studio: MVC Productions
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Documentary
• Sports

Distinguishing Marks

• Interactive Information Icon
• P.O.V. Angles
• Interviews
• Featurette: The Future
• Web Links

Accomplices

• None








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