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Inside X - ESPN's X Games IX (with Bonus CD)

Rhino // Unrated // November 11, 2003
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by David Blair | posted May 6, 2004 | E-mail the Author

The Movie



In 1999 the X Games were created to give some of the more extreme
(albeit less mainstream) sporting events a venue to show off
their stuff. And since we probably won't see Aggressive In-Line
Vert as an event at the Summer Olympics anytime soon, a venue
such as this was sorely needed. So the X Games were born giving
skateboarders and BMX riders a reason to rejoice worldwide.



Fast forward to 2003 and X Games IX proves to be just as wild and
memorable as ever with such milestones as the first-ever X Games
surfing contest, Tony Hawk's legendary 900, and Travis Pastrana's
motocross 360.



If you happened to miss the X Games the first time through,
ESPN's X Games IX is a good way to catch up on the highlights,
although that's all you get; the highlights. While the action and
athletes were exciting to watch, I felt robed of the in depth
coverage I was expecting. ESPN's DVD package made its
centerpieces feel more like a five-minute music video rather than
a play-by-play account of the performances. Since I didn't catch
the games when they originally aired, I was left with the
distinct impression that I missed a lot of what really happened
at X Games IX. It's possible that the rest of the events and
competitors were simply edited out due to lack of interest or
entertainment value, but if that's the case that's not saying
much for the games or athletes who participated. I strongly feel
that ESPN should have included more footage to appease not only
the dedicated followers, but also the semi-interested individual
who wants to see what the X Games are all about.



Inside X is nicely edited with informative interviews
and behind the scenes footage, but ultimately comes up a little
short on content. Thankfully the DVD gains back some brownie
points with a nice set of event-oriented features and the
inclusion of a very cool music CD with songs heard in the main
feature.



If you missed X Games IX the first time, Inside X is
excellent way to catch up on all the exciting highlights. However
if you're looking for a no holds barred play-by-play account of
every single event then you'll have to bug your baggy
pants-wearing neighbor for their dubbed VHS tapes. Hey, if you're
really lucky they will have edited out all the commercials for
you.





The DVD



Video:

Inside X is presented as it originally aired in 4x3 full
screen. For a television broadcast event this DVD looks about as
good as you can get. The picture is clean and clear of digital
noise or debris, and pixelation was non-existent as long as you
are viewing on a conventional TV. If you plan to watch it on a
large front projection system, the picture will naturally
degrade, but enough to distract from the viewing experience. But
to the DVD's credit, I have yet to see a TV broadcast DVD that
looks fantastic on a large projection home theater system.



Audio:

Inside X is equipped with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio
soundtrack. Everything sounded exactly as I expected. The music
sounded great, dialogue was easy to discern, and the audio track
was free of any hiccups or distortion. But on the same note, it
certainly won't "wow" you with its audio prowess. This
is after all a TV broadcast production, so if you've seen
something along these lines before you know what to expect.



Extras:

After watching the 1:14-minute main feature I was left feeling
empty, as if I had been duped of some of the really cool action.
Thankfully in the extra features section they included a feature
called Winning Runs. In this feature you get to see the winning
run (in its entirety) that gave the participating competitor
their gold medal at X Games IX. If this feature had not been
included I believe I would have really disliked this DVD. This
feature adds to the replay factor quite nicely, especially if
you're attempting to reproduce some of these stunts in your own
backyard. (Which of course I DO NOT recommend)



Another great extra feature is the inclusion of music CD with
most of the songs used in the main feature. Several of the audio
tracks are quite good, including songs by Blue Man Group, The
Ramones, and Jet. This disc has gotten a lot of use in my car's
CD changer.



Also included are a photo gallery, Trick Tips from the athletes,
and Best Slams & Crashes. Overall these features pretty good,
but then again, they needed to be. If the main feature had had
more substance this DVD would have received a higher overall
rating.



Final Thoughts:

Inside X: X Games IX is a great DVD if you want to catch
a glimpse of what the X Games are all about. It's also a
wonderful resource if you want to see all the individual winning
runs of the games, but if you're looking for massive coverage,
look elsewhere because Inside X leaves a lot unsaid and
unshown. Rent It



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