First (tbc)

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The ViewQueenstown Review

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Review byMatthew Turner25/11/2012

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Pumped up with a poppy soundtrack, First is an enjoyable, celebratory and fairly balanced documentary about selected Olympic athletes; however, it flits between different personalities too quickly and all the while doesn’t offer anything fresh to chew on.

What’s it all about?
Directed by Caroline Rowland, First is the official film of the London 2012 Olympic Games and follows twelve athletes as they prepare for the run up to the ceremony. Starting in each of the athletes’ home countries, First then highlights the most memorable moments of the London Olympic Games, reminding us of the golden seconds that have all contributed to the 2012 Games going down in history as the greatest Olympic Games ever.

The Good
Anyone who fell in love with the Olympic Games this summer will no doubt enjoy this fast-paced and commemorative documentary, which really does act as a poignant reminder of Olympian moments that will go down in history. Cushioned with a poppy soundtrack and heavy on the slow-motion clips, First presents and highlights the stark contrast between different athletes’ starting points and offers a fair dose of interesting commentary from the athletes themselves who, unsurprisingly, all come off rather well and humbled.

The Bad
Faced with the tremendously difficult task of squashing two weeks worth of incredible and unforgettable footage into just under two hours, Rowland understandably makes a few slip-ups in her execution of a mammoth task and responsibility. Swimming, athletics and cycling are naturally the undeniable focus here, but it would have been better if athletes and other sports were explored. For example, tennis and rowing barely get a look in, nor does Bradley Wiggins (an arguable highlight of the ceremony) and his tremendous success in road and track racing.

The structure is also a little poor; flitting between different athletes at a speed as quick as themselves, First leaves us feeling a little dizzy. It doesn’t allow us to truly understand a particular athlete’s story thanks to its reluctance to linger on any athlete for what feels like more than three minutes at a time. Unless your memory is razor-sharp, it’s also difficult to grasp (or remember) which sportsperson is actually doing the voiceover at times and so the occasional subtitle in the right place to remind us wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Worth seeing?
First is a pleasant watch, but it doesn’t really offer anything truly unseen or exclusive and it frustratingly relies on audiences’ memories being razor sharp. Nevertheless, it’s still worth a watch.

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Content updated: 17/12/2018 20:59

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