So I saw the movie Specimen on Saturday night. It was the conclusion of a week of clinics from pro climber Andy Raether. I had read a few reviews beforehand and they were less than stellar. The trailer I saw also left me expecting very little from the movie. The trailer had more action of climbers prophesizing about life and very little discernable footage of climbing taking place. It was a far cry from the kind of movie that I really enjoy, like Rampage or the Dosage films.
Despite the doomsday forecast from local meteorologists, I made my way to the movie with an Ale8 in hand so at least I knew I would enjoy one part of the night. Before I say anything more about the movie I guess I could say a few words about our visiting professional* climber Andy Raether. I have seen Andy climbing since he was a teenager and have always found him to be a down to earth guy when we had climbed at comps together before he moved out of the Midwest. It was cool to see that upon his return he hadn’t really changed all that much. His clinics were well received and pretty informative from what I could tell. It is obvious that Andy takes climbing and training very seriously and it showed the entire week.
On to the movie. The basic premise of the movie is viewers are following heretofore unknown to me climber Cedar Wright on his quest to climb V10. I thought this premise would be lame (it was somewhat) but overall it made for an interesting deviation from the standard climbing movie format. I won’t waste too many words going into depth about the movie as it is pretty self explanatory. The main footage is from the Rockalnds, South Africa. There are various interviews with climbers Lisa Rands, Daniel Woods, Fred Nicole, and Andy Raether on what it takes to climb hard and impress chicks. Mixed in with these interviews is somewhat random footage of the pro climbers hiking Rocklands classics such as Nutsa, Armed Response, Cedar Spine, The Vice, some sick Fred Nicole problem, and several others.
Overall I enjoyed the movie and the premise of a climbing movie having a storyline. It was probalby one of the funnier movies I have seen, it’s hard not to laugh at Cedar wearing socks with his climbing shoes all the time. The camera work was very well done although I would have liked to see more close-ups of the boulders themselves instead of the incredibly wide angle shots that were the norm (incredible scenery shots though). I myself prefer to see how people workout difficult problems rather than just seeing one take of them hiking.
I would say that you could probably save your money for a different movie if you are into a movie with a high volume of problems getting done. If you are in for a change of pace and have money to blow on the movie….send it to me.
*I use the term professional loosely as it is hard to call someone a professional when they cannot make a living doing their profession (this applies to just about every “pro” climber).