Kids, don’t try this at home.
3D is X-treme film-making and thus well suited to the X Games, hyper-intense, hyper-dangerous, hyper-what are they thinking? sports that are closer to stunts. Young men compete on skateboard, snowboard, and on dirt bikes and motocross to defy the laws of physics. One of them says he feels about gravity the way some people feel about evolution: “It’s just a theory.”
Adolescent testosterone-friendly sponsors like Play Station, Taco Bell, Red Bull, and the Navy have helped make the X Games into an enormous and high-stakes event. Some of its most stunning images are of the homes these young men have purchased with the money they make breaking their bones to do these tricks.
And X can also stand for something else. At one point, a selection of one competitor’s past x-rays of injuries flash on the screen.
The stunts are astonishing and the 3D effects are so intense that you will feel like wiping the dirt kicked up by the motocross bike off your face. But there is more to the film. It has some important lessons about passion, commitment, being willing to ask “what if it is possible?” and being willing to fail in order to achieve ultimate success. The climax of the film comes in a three-way competition that includes one man coming back from a wipe-out the year before and one who is badly injured early on and insists on continuing to compete. The respect and affection between the competitors is genuinely touching and the way they ride their boards back and forth to the medical facility to check on the injured athlete is affecting. They are barely aware of how organic their attachment to the boards has become.