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Dosage (Volume 1)
(Doco) High-end sport climbing & bouldering
|Dosage Volume 1 is a bouldering video, with one sport lead thrown in: Chris Sharma's triumphant completion of "Realization", at the amazing grade of 5.15. The movie is a professional production and includes some big name climbers and boulderers. I give it a big thumbs up. Very enjoyable to watch, though you'd have to be into bouldering to really get a lot out of it. You won't see any trad climbs or the like. What you will see is hard, first ascent boulder problems being fallen off, then finally ticked by some of the best young talent. The bouldering is well shot, with nice close ups of holds, and conservative use of the pole mounted camera to give that "on the rock" feel. It really holds together well, despite the creators weird little intros (that dude has too much free time!).
Above: Chris Sharma completes the first ascent of "Realization", grade 5.15a. He's freeing the crux in the right-most pic. The line is the continuation of "Biographie" a super hard sport route in Ceuse, France originally freed by Arnaud Petit in 1996. It took Sharma six years to finally lead his extension to the route. His shout of joy is captured on camera as he pulls through the crux moves. Even hard core trad climbers will be moved by the emotion of the moment. We are also shown a few of his falls during previous attempts. Big falls since he skips a few bolts during the crux. I have to give this vid a high score for the effort and patience it would have taken to film Sharma for six weeks during his many attempts on the route. A fair bit of the movie is devoted to this climb (during the successful run up it, Chris chalks up below the crux for what seems like minutes), but that's a good thing, considering it's possibly the hardest climb in the world to date. I would have liked a few more close ups though. It's hard to get an appreciation of what 5.15 looks like from this film.
Above: Lisa Rands bouldering in California and Utah. We get a nice little interview with Lisa too. In fact that's probably one of the pluses of this vid, it's not just climbing but a chance to hear a few words from the top end climbers, even if all they say is stuff about the difficulty of the moves they are working and a few enigmatic mumblings.
Above: Klem Loskot, bouldering at Blue Ice, Germany. This section was possibly my favouriate after Sharma's lead. Mainly because it's set in some very picturesk country.
Some of the boulder problems are icy. It's actually snowing during one attempt. The climbers just brush the icicles off and keep going!
The indoor gym bouldering section was probably the least interesting for me. I ended up not paying attetion too much. I think it was called "Bring The Ruckus". I guess you'd have to be local to get into it.
All up though, a very good production. For non-climbers or climbers not really into bouldering, though it will probably not appeal so much, though Chris' lead surely will still inspire. In any case, at 80 minutes there's plenty of footage, and I can't fault the camera work, or sound, though perhaps the background music may not appeal to all. Highly recommend for boulderers and those mad keen on following Sharma's progress.
|(DVD review) Not as much fun as Rampage. Josh Lowell, the filmmaker, gets way too much screen time introducing each segment, sometimes in an annoying, drawn-out bobble-head-like fashion. There are some funny parts like Dave Graham bumping his head just as he tries the first move of The Buttermilker on Day 1 of a trip... stop, cut to Day 2. At the beginning, Sharma seems less laid back than in Rampage, but after failing over and over again on Realization he regains his humbleness, then screams his way through the crux after 4 years of attempts.
One ridiculous mis-feature is that whenever a woman is climbing, the music abruptly switches to something that has female vocals. Woman climbs, woman sings. Woman climbs, woman sings. It's like being whacked over the head with a bucket of estrogen. Thanks, we don't need an audial reminder of their dual X chromosomes in order to appreciate their accomplishments. One other annoying part is during the Lisa Rands segment where she is getting "coached" by her spotter ("get it deep","match feet", "get your right foot up"). Sometimes one of the male climbers will get beta while on the rock, but not *instructions*!
The Klem Loskot parts are interesting in the sense that his climbs are fairly geographically isolated, not seeing repeat attempts. Also, when he starts getting "deep", it sounds like either something is lost in the translation, or he's fallen on his head one too many times. But the coolest part is he has a friend who is actually named "Mungo". This is good for reminding yourself of the "Death... By Mongo!" joke.
There's a boring bouldering competition (boring because nobody can climb the finals problems and they all fall off at the same point, except on one where Sharma is the only one to complete what looks like a traverse 3 feet off the ground, over piles of shredded rubber and 20 crash pads -- while his spotter looks as intent as if he's the only thing preventing a highball wipeout onto stalagmites). Speaking of the spotters, they are really really good at holding their arms out like they're gonna do something, but as soon as anyone comes off the wall, they run out of the way. They must suddenly realize that people who climb V12+ don't need spots for a 6-foot fall onto padding, even in Utah.
At least they don't have the women as an "opening act" for the men's comp. After the men are done, Liv Sansoz gets into a superfinal while we listen to... you guessed it, crappy techno with female vocals.
Rampage made climbing look like fun. Dosage vol. 1 makes it look... lonely. A few people freezing their asses off while one of them climbs. At least the picture quality is good on the DVD (although it does have digital camera->MPEG2 double-artifacting from both types of compression). The DVD is also unencrypted, so the files can be copied to and played from your hard drive normally -- no "ripping" required.
Something I liked in Rampage which is missing from many scenes here is close-ups of holds. There's Sharma 20 feet below, grabbing some tiny dot on the screen. I don't know if this is so we get the "whole picture" uninterrupted, or because the crew got sick of setting up multiple cameras every day for 6 weeks while Chris climbed himself back into shape after a layoff. (Other climbers also have great moves shown from too far away.)
Music: There is some bad techno and some of the most obnoxious Reggae music ever heard, some Lilith-fair type stuff, plus some better and interesting music.
Climbing: Some great climbing, but not enough of it. Sharma does The Mandala and then Realization 30+ times. Dave Graham does 2 climbs (the video doesn't have any of DG's great European trips, where he'll do a bunch of 5.14s in a week). Sharma 2, DG 2, Loskot bouldering on a bunch of identical-looking rock. Jason Kehl does several climbs in a few minutes of screen time, but without context we don't know the significance of any of them, unlike in Rampage -- "people have been trying this for 4 years!" Lisa Rands is shown doing bits of several problems, not enough full ascents. Oh yeah, and a gym competition with everyone falling off everything. Hey, If I want to watch people NOT climb something, I can invite the special ed. kids to Stoney Point for free.
Something I learned from watching this: All those magazine ads of Sharma on Realization aren't from the successful attempt. In the ads there's too many people below, his pants are green, and his finger is uninjured. The day Sharma actually sent it, his pants were brown with big pockets, few people were there because it had rained earlier, and his right index finger is bandaged/taped up from being sliced open during a game of "Pinecone Wars" the week before. Guess the photographer got lucky Sharma wore the same shirt the day he was there.
The DVD was the same price as the video ($30), so I went for better quality and saving my VCR from wearing out skipping the crud. Then I felt sorry for my DVD drive so I copied it to my hard drive. The only parts I keep playing are DG and Sharma on the successful attempts. I'm not sure if this is useful at all as learning material, however. For example, I want to see how DG climbs something: As far as I can tell, the difference between him and his buddies is not technique, but "not falling off". They grab a hold, they fall. Dave grabs a hold, he doesn't fall. Bodies are in the same position; it's not like Dave finds a drop-knee that nobody else saw. He just sticks like a gecko.
On the flip side, the camera angle on Realization loses the whole 30-degree overhang thing. It looks like Sharma is struggling up the kiddie wall at the gym (with those limestone pockets making holds as obvious as colored plastic), so you have to keep reminding yourself that this climb is really, really hard, especially since Sharma cruises 5.14c without a sound until he screams on the last few hard moves of the route.
To the non-climber, Dosage vol. 1 is probably not as interesting as a "Rock Climbing Basics" tape. No 90-foot falls, either, or 1-finger deadpoints. To the climber, you will get a lot more out of it if you know background information, like the Rock & Ice article that was published after Sharma sent Realization.
|Josh Lowell is an incredible short film maker for rock climbers of all types. I've seen it dozens of times, and I tell you, I never get sick of the AWESOME climbing. I can't wait for Dosage 2!
|I agree with most of the (very long) anonymous review. The camera work on Realization is terrible and Josh Lowell's introductions are tedious masturbation at best.
It doesn't come up to scratch if you're looking for 'Rampage' style perfection, but if you want to see some INCREDIBLE bouldering sequences, then you don't get any better than Sharma, Graham and Loskot giving it 100%. Yeah, ok, I know Lisa Rands is in it, but I found her sections somehow condescending..."She's a girl, but she climbs 'guy' problems". No shit...so do all the other women climbers in the world. Jason Kehl? hmmm...looking for a sponsorship deal Jason? Trying to get yourself noticed? I spotted him in the 'Stone Love' video (it's apalling) and was hoping to see him climb but he was relegated to spotter. Maybe there was a bit too much screaming for the reserved Brits.
I have to say that every time I watch the 'big three' climbers on the video my heart is racing, my palms are sweating and I just HAVE TO CLIMB.
It has its glaring faults, but if you love climbing or are looking for some motivation, you are missing out big time if you don't own this.
Go Chris Go !!!
|Having watched mostly bouldering videos in the past, Dosage wasn't ground breaking for me....although Sharma's FA of "The Mandala" was cool It was good, however, to watch Sharma on Realization. Personally, i thought the camera work was awesome, especially the shots looking back down the face from above Sharma.
I was amazed at the power of Loskot too. The germans are very angry people, as you can hear in the movie.
Jason Kehl is just weird.
|Dosage Vol.1 - Awesome.
Josh Lowell - shut the hell up. Seriously who does this guy think he is? The only thing bad about the movie was him.
The mandala was sweet.
Realization was the extreme hotness.
I've met Jason Kehl and he's definetly a real nice guy...oh yeah and real strong.
Klem and Lisa...wow
Dave Graham gain some weight. (I'm just jealous)
Great video - I just purchased Vol. 2 without a second thought.
|I'n not into bouldering or sports climbing, but this is a superb DVD. Good photography, sound, editing and fantastic climbing. I've watched it heaps of times and have never been bored with it.
My only complaint is that its very 'American', both in style and content. While there was a bit of French and German stuff in it, the DVD would have been better if it was a bit more .... 'international' or at least less 'Americocentric'.
|great footage, but a few flaws. See anonymouses....
|Very well put together movie. Josh Lowell produces some of the best, most interesting climbing films around; and this is yet another. Worth it for the ultimate pinkpoint: Realization!
As usual Klem Loskot is incredibly entertaining.
Big Up - Details from the makers.
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