Warren Miller is the master of the ski film. And he should be—he's been making them for over 50 years. But he saved his best material for his 2002 film, Cold Fusion. It has all the fun and excitement expected of the man behind Ride and Storm,
but this one takes it one step further to grab you wear it counts and keep your heart racing from beginning to end.
One of the coolest segments in this film features participants in the Big Air Exhibition in Winter Park, Colorado. And when they say big air, they mean Big Air. These skiers take the jumps and fly through the sky, flipping and twisting their bodies in some serious acrobatic moves. The best of which is the unheard of quad twist quad back-flip performed by Matt Chojnacki. All I can say is, "Holy cow!"
For the trick lovers out there, Cold Fusion offers some cool rail sliding. Skiers from all over the place do rail slides on top of the bus stop, over bridges, and down stairs, on one ski and two. As if rails weren't dangerous enough, these are found mere feet from cement, cars, and moving traffic. Kids, don't try this at home.
On a lighthearted note, Cold Fusion features some warm and tender glimpses at the past and present of the 76-year-old Warren Miller. It also gets to know ski legend Eric Pehota and his young children, Logan and Dalton. If these young fellas are riding this fast and jumping this far already, wait until they become teenagers. Watch out!
If that isn't your cup of tea, then check out the chairlift foibles. Everyone remembers the first time they fell getting off the chairlift, so it's always funny to laugh at the misfortune of others.
All this is great, but definitely the most exciting portion of Cold Fusion has nothing to do with skiing or snowboarding. Nope, this time around, the adrenaline pumps fastest while watching Dave Barlia and Andy West do some insane base jumping in Europe. These guys are crazy, jumping off cliffs and dams and bridges. One jump lasted 41 seconds, the longest recorded time. That's a lot falling, and it's definitely worth watching a few times.
The cool thing about Cold Fusion is that it offers all of this without forgetting the basics. It continues the tradition of showcasing a wide range of locations (from Colorado to Iran, and Montana to Kenya), different styles of riding, and of course, loud rock-and-roll. Yep, Cold Fusion has it all. If you're in need of a quick fix to get you through the summer, or if you need a pep before your first trip to the hills, you can't go wrong with Cold Fusion.
Cold Fusion is presented here in its original 4x3 aspect ratio. I was pleasantly surprised with this transfer. Colors are bright and the snow looks so pristine, so clean and cold, that my feet got chilly just watching. As with any film shot on location in varying weather conditions, some minor problems occur occasionally, such as slight graininess in night shots and some general softness throughout. However, for the bulk of this film, detail is very solid, with the mountains, riders, and snow all having nice texture. And thanks to the fast moving riders, the few halo effects aren't that objectionable since they didn't appear on screen for long.
You can ignore the 2.0 audio track because the Cold Fusion DVD comes fully equipped with a very powerful 5.1 Dolby Digital track. The speakers really blast with all sorts of fast paced rock music that will get your whole body into it (in case the images weren't enough). The low end could've been lower, but for the most part the sound features some nice booms. The rears aren't used actively and the left-to-right sound movement is rare, but I wasn't expecting anything else. Voices sound well placed in the center channel during interviews.
THE BONUS FEATURES
Not much here, really. You get three trailers all mixed into one preview. The trailers include Cold Fusion, Storm, and Ride. You also get two making of featurettes. The first one takes you on location in Europe for the base jumping exploits of two vertical junkies. Although there's not much to the 15 minute featurette, it is cool to witness just how dangerous it is to be a Warren Miller cameraman. The other making of featurette features a mediocre nine minutes on location in Iran.
Warren Miller has delivered some really kick butt films for the winter thrills enthusiast, but Cold Fusion is one of the best. Combined with nice sound, these fast and furious images are liable to make even summer worshippers ready for the first snowfall. I can't recommend this enough to fellow snow lovers.