Dogtown & Z-Boys: Deluxe Edition

by Aaron on April 25, 2005

in DVD Reviews 

I didn’t pick this up at it’s initial release, having seen it in the theaters, but I’m glad I’ve got the Deluxe Edition now. It’s a simply fascinating look at the origins of skateboarding, as well as being just a top-notch documentary. Even non-fans of the sport should find something worthwhile to find in Dogtown.

Dogtown & Z-Boys: Deluxe Edition
4 Stars

In 2001 it was easy to take skateboarding for granted. Tony Hawk Pro Skater was one of the most successful video games of it’s time, the X games were a bar & grille tv staple, and most people didn’t give a second to thought to considering skateboarding a ‘sport’. So long-time skateboard icon Stacy Peralta’s incredible documentary Dogtown & Z-Boys detailing the birth of modern skateboarding takes us back a time when skating was a long-abandoned fad just waiting to be revitalized by a group of incredibly gifted surfers and skaters from wrong side of Santa Monica, serves as a powerful reminder of just how far skateboarding has come.

Far from being the multi-million dollar industry it is today, skateboarding was the realm of only the most die-hard enthusiasts, whose style was heavily influenced by the popular surfers of the day. When surfboard maker Jeff Ho, artist Craig Stecyk, and surfer Skip Engblom got together to form a surf shop, and in the process taking in the neighborhood kids, their anti-mainstream attitude and street tough style opened the horizon of what skating could be. Future superstars Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta were just two of the incredibly gifted kids just out to kill time between waves, and their accomplishments make for one hell of a documentary.

The birth of pool skating? That was them. The first verts? Ditto. The Zephyr skate team redefined what could be done on 4 wheels, some trucks, and a hunk of wood. Dogtown & Z-Boys tells their story by interviewing the members and founders of the Zephyr team, as well as those who were there to document their growth. Dirt poor beginnings, hard scrabble times, the first big tournament, fame, fortune, and downfall are all here. Director Peralta made his name on the pavement and behind the camera (for the infamous Bones Brigade videos), so rather than an outsider coming in to document history it’s the story being told by those who lived it with the easy comraderie that can only be forged by a group who has been through it all together. Former surf-rat Sean Penn lends his voice for the narration, and such punk culture notables as Henry Rollins and Ian McKaye, as well as skate icons Tony Hawk and Steve Caballero, lend their thoughts on the influence and impact of those sun-bleached stars of Dogtown.

I didn’t pick this up at it’s initial release, having seen it in the theaters, but I’m glad I’ve got the Deluxe Edition now. It’s a simply fascinating look at the origins of skateboarding, as well as being just a top-notch documentary. Even non-fans of the sport should find something worthwhile to find in Dogtown.

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