This documentary gives us the birth of skateboarding culture as we know it today. In theearly seventies, the Z-Boys of the title, a group of surfing enthusiasts from a hard luckneighbourhood, move from surfing to more and more elaborate skateboarding tricks, worked onin guerilla fashion in the empty swimming pools and the like. Director Stacy Peralta (who alsomade the surfing documentary Riding Giants) was one of those skaters, and so he ispretty damn close to the ma…erial. The tendency here veers a little too close to hagiography, andsome of the discussions here will leave the uninitiated rather befuddled. The rapid-fire editingfeels a bit overdone as well. For all that, this is a fascinating look at the arrival of a new culturalphenomenon.
The 5.0 sound is functional, which is really all that’s required by a documentary. The volumeis a bit low, but everything is clear and perfectly audible. The surround elements are infrequent,but trotted out as appropriate (crash of waves, some louder music, etc.).
The fullscreen picture looks just fine, for the most part. Grain and whatnot depend on thesource material — there is a lot of vintage footage from the 70s here, after all. The new materiallooks good, though some of the black-and-white shots have some irritating colour shimmercreeping in.
Peralta and editor Paul Crowder cover all the behind-the-scenes info you might want in theircommentary. Peralata, who clearly knows when he’s on to a good thing, wrote the screenplay forthe upcoming Lords of Dogtown, and that film gets promoted through a sneak peak andwebisodes here. Triggering the “Freestyle Experience” will allow you to view extended rawfootage of stunts when you select the icon prompt while watching the movie. Unused footage inthe form of an alternate ending (Tony Alva and friends skating in a pool in 2000), some silentfootage of Jeff Ho working on surfboards, and scenes of the film crew skateboarding at MarVista school. A slide show of the Bricknell Hill session and a clutch of trailers round things off.The menu’s main screen is animated and scored, and some of the secondary screens arescored.
Not flawless, and arguably a bit self-serving, but still a pretty fascinating documentary.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Alternate Ending
- Lords of Dogtown Sneak Peak and Webisodes
- “Freestyle Experience” Extended Footage
- Bricknell Hill Session Photos
- Jeff Ho Footage
- Mar Vista Footage