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Riding Giants (2004)

Cast: Sean Penn, Sam George, Sam George, more...
Director: Stacy Peralta, Stacy Peralta, Sam George, more...
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Documentary, Sports, Sports, Sports Documentary
Running Time: 101 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French
    see additional details...

With the documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, skater-cum-filmmaker Stacy Peralta introduced viewers to the history of the West Coast skateboarding culture and made a huge splash at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, taking home both the Documentary Directing Award and the Documentary Audience Award. For this follow-up effort, Peralta leaves the land for the sea, focusing his lens on the world of surfing. Narrated by Sean Penn, just as Dogtown and Z-Boys was, Riding Giants attempts to trace the origins of surfing and also explore the growth and progress of surf culture. Among the surfing luminaries who chime in on topics varying from the business of the sport to "the big wave" are Laird Hamilton, Greg Noll, and Jeff Clark. Hoping to find the critical success akin to its predecessor, Riding Giants premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Matthew Tobey, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Great footage, but lighten up guys... by belanger July 1, 2005 - 11:33 AM PDT
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
The footage and action are spectacular, but oh, my god, if I had to hear one more monologue about "slaying dragons" I'd have kicked in the TV. And whether Laird Hamilton is the greatest big wave surfer in the world or not, the claim seems a bit suspect when he's listed as one of the Executive Producers.

If you find surfing even moderately interesting, then rent this if for no other reason than the footage. If you're interested in this film to learn more about the history of big wave surfing, take it with a grain of salt as it regularly feels like a PR piece for the characters the movie is about.

A Glimpse At Surfing by JMVerville December 8, 2004 - 7:08 AM PST
3 out of 5 members found this review helpful
This documentary was very thorough and exposing, and at the same time entertaining, which I thought was rather impressive. I felt as if they did a very good job covering the sport from its' origin until present day, but nonetheless, there is a reason why I do not give such a high score to this film...

I felt as if at times the story focused too much on the 'proper nouns' of the sport, so to speak: too much on individual locations at which to surf, and especially too much on individual surfers. I felt as if the documentary had more to do with the nature of the sport, the ideology of the sport, etc. it would have been better (although this of course was covered, I do not think it got as much time as it warranted).

And for many people who are not absolutely nuts about surfing, at times hearing them go on and on about specific locations and specific surfers could become boring. Although the video clips and the in-depth research is well-respected, it could have been presented in a way that would be better for those who are not avid surfers.

Furthermore, my biggest disappointment was at times they spoke of how utterly amazing and miraculous certain events in surfing history were yet they did not have the actual footage of these events unfolding, and the whole time you are waiting to see on the silver screen this amazing, breath-taking event that these men are talking about as life-changing moments, and in the end all you get is a lot of men talking about it, and not the actual footage. It was far too tantalizing to myself to hear these stories, and then be unable to see them. I understand the difficulty of obtaining footage of everything, but please: do not brag an event up so much, and then not show it.

Overall, a very fresh documentary that I enjoyed watching; not the best documentary due to the above reasons, but being very fresh and having some extremely exciting footage and a good soundtrack, it is a documentary that I would advise everybody to check out.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.64)
58 Votes
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