Time after time, year after year, Big Up Productions finds a way to up the ante with each climbing movie they release. Without fail, each movie is somehow better than the previous release which is no small feat considering the popularity of each of their movies. Their latest release, Progression, continues this strong tradition.
Progression follows the same tried and true formula as other Big Up movies, namely it follows the world’s best climbers climbing on some of the most difficult routes in a handful of the world’s most beautiful crags. The camera work is top notch and Big Up utilizes several interesting methods to capture the action in a lot of cool, different ways. They also do a good job of weaving a story throughout each of the segments, something that doesn’t seem as forced as other climbing movies.
A few surprises in the movie include an engaging segment on World Cup comp climbing as well as a rare glimpse of Chris Sharma showing some of the pressure he was feeling working Jumbo Love. Slightly exasperated, Sharma lamented the stress he felt he was under to finish the line…and then he of course sends. A fitting way to end the movie.
Progression comes in two versions, an HD download ($19.95) and a DVD ($29.95). I was sent a copy of the download for this review, but I also bought a copy of the DVD. I wanted to be able to watch it on a bigger screen, but I was also interested in checking out the extras. Featured in the extras is a very long segment of Daniel Woods and Paul Robinson bouldering at Rocklands, SA (presumably from Reel Rock Tour ’08?), Tommy Caldwell trying to free Magic Mushroom on El Cap in a day, Sharma’s Pachamamma segment, Adam Ondra tossing a wobbler after falling from the last hard move of some absurdly difficult sport route and a handful of other clips that didn’t fit with the movie. To me the Rocklands and Magic Mushroom footage alone made the DVD well worth the extra $10.
To borrow a line from Borat Paul Robinson after he sends Amandla (V14) in the Rocklands segment, Progression is a “great success”. If you are only going to buy one climbing movie this year, Progression is a pretty good choice.
In case you need more convincing, check out the trailer below or this interview I did with Josh Lowell when the film was released.