Mixed or average reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 22
  2. Negative: 5 out of 22
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Gregory Kirschling
    First Descent is not as eloquent, and thus not as electrifying, as Stacy Peralta's "Dogtown and Z-Boys" or "Riding Giants," the two jock docs it's clearly modeled after. No matter: Visually, MD Films offers up a sugar rush.
  2. Reviewed by: Jessica Reaves
    Visually, this is one of the most arresting sports documentaries in years, and it doesn't skimp on the visceral thrills, either.
  3. The hardy fools - I mean, visionary pioneers - in this movie are so gravity-defying that I had to look at the press notes afterward just to make sure no computerized special effects were used.
  4. Vastly entertaining, slightly overlong.
  5. Succeeds as both education and amusement.
  6. As a result, what should have been a thrilling 90-minute sport adventure runs on for 20 more repetitive minutes. First Descent is exciting, but less would surely have been more.
  7. 70
    Entertainingly captures the camaraderie and spirit of competition among the affable boarders as they battle nature in the form of imposing mountains, regular avalanches, and jagged rock formations.
  8. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Because snowboarding is younger than skateboarding and surfing, Descent lacks the poignancy of past surfer/skateboarder portraits that have shown participants reaching middle age.
  9. 63
    While snowboarding enthusiasts will eat up every minute of its two-hour running time, it's thin stuff for the unconverted.
  10. Snowboarders are given their Dew in this nicely shot but lengthy exercise in corporate branding.
  11. Reviewed by: Nathan Lee
    The Alaskan runs are often spectacular, resembling nothing so much as a controlled plummet down an avalanche. All of which is worth the price of admission if "stoked" is a regular part of your vocabulary.
  12. We've seen this story before, and the thrill is gone.
  13. 50
    Some of the footage is exceptional, yet several of the more impressive stunts are shot from so far away on digital cameras that the resulting onscreen resolution is just a shade above god-awful.
  14. 50
    Less a documentary than a PR package with a chip on its shoulder.
  15. It's dull enough to make a Mormon fidget.
  16. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    Pic displays filmmakers Kevin Harrison's and Kemp Curley's love of snowboarding, but suffers from an unjustifiably long running time, considerable repetition and a generally awkward structure.
  17. 38
    Boring, repetitive and maddening about a subject you'd think would be fairly interesting: snowboarding down a mountain.
  18. 38
    an overlong and surprisingly dull documentary.
  19. Reviewed by: James C. Taylor
    Hardcore fans will appreciate the handful of genuinely gnarly aerial sequences, but these gravity-defying stunts, which can be thrilling as part of a five-minute James Bond pre-credit sequence, grow very tedious when repeated over almost two hours.
  20. 30
    The stars of First Descent aren't particularly memorable, or even likable. At their worst, they come off as cocky, self-absorbed Peter Pans; at their best, they're sweet but shallow.
  21. 30
    Comes off as an overlong, overstuffed promo for an "industry" that hasn't needed promoting since the movie's target audience was in diapers.
User Score

No user score yet- Awaiting 2 more ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. H.
    Dec 3, 2005
    Anyone who rides a snowboard will enjoy this romp down the mountain. Likable characters, interesting history of the sport (without wasting Anyone who rides a snowboard will enjoy this romp down the mountain. Likable characters, interesting history of the sport (without wasting too much time on what we all know already) and exciting backcountry images in Alaska. Despite what the critics say, there is little to no obvious product placement - they seem to be having a tizzy that Mountain Dew produced, but for the most part, Pepsi Co. appeared to keep its distance. Entertaining - and doesn't stop immediately when it gets to feature length! Full Review »