A while back we were trolling Facebook when we noticed a riding friend on the other side of the country bragging about going to see Anthill Films’ latest feature at his nearest multiplex. We were overwhelmed with the idea of seeing a bike flick on any silver screen beyond a touring film festival and decided to see if Strength in Numbers was on at our nearest cinema too. It was, and moments later, seats were booked, popcorn purchased and we were sitting beneath a larger than life screen waiting for larger than life mountain biking. [private]
And larger then life is what you get with Anthill films. 57 mins of pure unadulterated, Heavens to Betsy, ‘he didn’t just do that, oh, yes he did’, action proudly displayed at your local Hoyts. And what a welcome rarity it was to be watching a mountain bike movie sitting in nice chairs with a super huge screen and even bigger sound. Cinemas are struggling between blu-ray, internet piracy, iTunes and over-charging in the candy bar and we think you’ll be seeing more of this kind of thing from now on. Hallelujah!
Strength in Numbers had already had an online premiere well before its arrival to Australian and New Zealand cinemas though and is currently being released free online (section by section at the moment). Still, there is really nothing like seeing such spectacular scenes on anything less than the big screen. No matter what the release pattern or schedule of any future film is, we think everyone should head to their local cinema to see a mountain bike film. It changed our view of how good our sport is.
The big screen experience was awesome but now to the movie itself. Shot with the latest digital cinema cameras, each shot in the movie is executed with a precision that made it both easy to watch and held our jaws to the floor. However, like many pretty things, scrape away at the surface a little and you might just find a lack of depth. Once the sprays of roost faded we were feeling a bit empty. For all the amazing cinematography and riding; the film failed to keep us for the entire run time, losing us around the halfway mark.
Like many other titles from the genre, the film is a series of 4-6 minute segments, however Strength in Numbers felt a little disjointed with their connection. By the third or fourth segment we felt that we had been introduced to too many characters and been built up too many times and nothing seemed to link it all.
For example, we could have watched a whole film about Rene Wildhaber and Andrew Shandro’s trip to Nepal, or a feature doco around the kids at Aptos who grew up digging their own jumps who later became legends. At least just some kind of loose narrative between scenes or central character was needed to make us care once the eye candy peaked.
Still, Strength in Numbers is definitely worth a watch, although you may find yourself watching it over 2 or 3 separate sittings due to this lack of over-arching storyline or plot.
Amazingly well produced and beautifully shot.
Watch sections for free, download in High Definition or grab from iTunes at anthillfims ….if you’re looking to survive a rainy weekend.