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Asterisk Wakeskate Video Review (DVD)By: Dave Barousse
Order Asterisk Now From Boardflix.com
Boardflix.com provided us with a copy of the latest release from Album Films, Asterisk. Asterisk is the newest "all wakeskate" video to come out and features the riding of nine different wakeskaters. The riders in Asterisk all came together from different company "teams" to ride for the cameras. Asterisk sets itself apart from previous videos by featuring so many wakeskaters from different companies. And bringing so many talented riders together for any length of time will cause good things to happen for the sport.
While filming, several of the riders landed new tricks for the their first time and for the first time ever in the short history of wakeskating. That vibe is contagious and can only lead to high motivation and a lot of fun. The best part about it is that Album Films was there with the cameras rolling non stop to document everything that went down.
Asterisk Features The Riding Of
Scott Byerly, Thomas Horrell, Danny Hampson, Brian Grubb, Steve Wahlman, Drew McGuckin, Daniel Lovett, Brandon Thomas and Aaron Reed
The concept of Asterisk was to gather a group of pro wakeskaters and take them to a secret riding spot in the middle of nowhere for a week of filming. Give the riders a large amount of materials to build rails, gaps and pools and then let the cameras roll. Justin Stephens of Album Films envisioned this concept and made it happen. The idea was to promote progession while the cameras looked on. As brilliant as this concept is, the one drawback is that a week is not a whole lot of time to get footage for a full length video.
Since most of the riding in Asterisk is performed behind personal watercraft, a lot of the footage was shot from the shore. There are some chase shots from other PWC's, helicopter footage and footage from a boom that allowed the camera crew to get some close-ups and overhead angles. The shoreline angles give the effect that you are watching along with everyone else as one rider is out on the water. The video was shot in a combination of digital video and 16mm film.
The total length of Asterisk is 27 minutes. The closing credits do seem to come quick, but Album Films packed enough bonus footage on the DVD that will keep you busy for well over an hour. The bonus footage is a nice addition to the DVD and it alone makes it worth purchasing this video. I didn't want to cover the bonus footage in depth in this review because I think it is a nice surprise. You will too.
I felt the soundtrack for Asterisk could have been better. I'm not sure how the music was chosen for each rider's section, but it seemed to bring the level of excitement down. I feel that more upbeat songs would have pumped me up more while watching. Since you can never please everyone when choosing music, perhaps alternate soundtracks will become the standard for future DVD's.
Lake Trout - "Look Who It Is" (Intro)
Lake Trout - "Stutter" (Intro)
Glasseater - "Second Door To The Right" (Byerly land gap)
Eris - "Soundtrack" (Byerly, McGuckin, Grubb)
Box Car Racer - "Instrumental" (Thomas Horrell)
Brad Mehldau - "Paranoid Android" (Daniel Lovett)
Blur - "We've Got A File On You" (Steve Wahlman)
Built To Spill - "Else" (Aaron Reed)
United Future Organization - "The Planet Plan" (Brandon Thomas/pool gap)
The Living End - "Hold Up" (Danny Hampson)
The Lithium Project - "Majik Kiosk" (Closing credits)
When collaborating nine of the top pro wakeskaters on a filming trip, one would expect the riding to be top notch. You get top notch riding in Asterisk, but maybe not what is expected. Each rider had a trick or two in their section that separated them from the rest of the crew and made their section stand out. Tricks such as Scott Byerly's back side shuvit over a land gap, Thomas Horrell's kickflip over a table top, Brian Grubb's sex change and Arron Reed's backside lipslide to 270 shuv will make Asterisk most memorable.
Because all of the riders in Asterisk are from a mixture of "teams", you get a good variety of riding styles. That also helps break things up a bit as each rider brings a different flavor to the screen. Even though there are so many different styles and types of riding, you will notice that it is obvious who rides together or who is influencing each other. It will also be obvious to notice who is putting more of a skateboarding influence on their riding.
Again, I felt that because Asterisk was shot in only a weeks time, the riding is not as solid as it could have been. By that, I don't mean that the riding is not good because the riders definitely push the limits. Throughout the video, it seemed that there were questionable tricks added to sections to fill in empty space. Simple tricks that had sketchy landings would probably not have made it past the first edit if more footage would have been available. At some points, I felt as if I were watching footage of my own crew after a day of riding. The sketchy landings and falls are all part of wakeskating and gave the video a down to earth feel, but was disappointing to see when expecting to see the absolute best of the best.
Danny Hampson will once again mesmerize you with his skills. His consistency to continually land a line of tricks back to back and his ability to link tricks together will keep your mind racing just to keep up. Hampson truly looks like he is skateboarding on the water.
Thomas Horrell, Aaron Reed and Drew McGuckin keep it real as usual. Horrell and Reed landed tricks that will once again go into the history books of wakeskating. Horrell kickflips over a floating table top that is of epic proportions. Reed sticks a back side lip slide 270 shuv out at night on a flat rail that was a first for the sport. McGuckin comes very close to hitting a kickflip off of an incline rail that can be seen in the bonus footage.
It was nice to see some new faces on the screen and riding from guys we haven't seen much of yet. Brandon Thomas, Daniel Lovett and Steve Wahlman were a breathe of fresh air and displayed some unique riding. We will surely be seeing more of each of them in the future.
Byerly and Grubb also made their presence known. According to an interview I did with Justin Stephens about the making of Asterisk, Byerly's shuvit over the land gap set the tone for the entire week of riding. Grubb did his work on a pool gap that was just plain sick. I could feel his adrenaline while watching him attempt it in the bonus footage section.
The biggest disappointment about Asterisk for me was watching all nine of these pros riding without wearing a life vest. Album Films does flash a warning before the video starts about the riders not wearing life vest due to shallow water, but that was soon forgotten after the first rider hits the water without a vest on.
Overall Asterisk is a sweet video and is definitely one you will want in your personal collection. The concept of the video is what this sport is all about for most of us and even without the great riding the video showcases, it would make Asterisk a success. Hearing the cheers from the other riders when someone sticks a nice trick really brings you into the video. All riders can relate to that kind of atmosphere and energy. Also, having another "all wakeskate" video on the market is great for the sport. It only means that more people will see what wakeskating is about and how far it has come and how much more has yet to be done.
If the main video sections are not enough for you to want your own copy of Asterisk, then the bonus footage will surely change your mind. Behind the scenes footage, interviews, photos, slider building and more will be worth the price of the DVD.
Buy The Video
Order Asterisk Now From Boardflix.com
Asterisk Video Trailer
Interview With Justin Stephens
Album Films Announces Asterisk
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