Review: Frozen (2010)

Some of the things that interested me about the movie Frozen was that it was a snowboarding/skiing movie and it was exactly the scenario I’ve talked with a few times with Mark. The summary from imdb.com sounded interesting:

Three skiers are stranded on a chairlift and forced to make life-or-death choices that prove more perilous than staying put and freezing to death

So when it showed up on Netflix, it was an easy pick. knowing it would be kind of Open Water-esque, I had it in my queue forever, but didn’t watch it till now. What follows may contain spoilers, so you may want to stop reading if you think you might want to see this movie. I’ve highlighted in bold the parts of the movie that I thought were ridiculous.

So these three college-aged people (Parker, played by Emma Bell; her boyfriend Dan, played by Kevin Zegers; and Dan’s best friend Lynch, played by Shawn Ashmore) go snowboarding/skiing somewhere in new england on a presumably large resort. They pay a lift operator cash to let them ride all day instead of buying lift tickets. the mountain ends up closing early due to weather and the trio try to convince the same lift operator to let them ride one last run. The operator had already sent the “last chair flag” but lets them do their last run. the operator radios the guy at the top of the lift that there are 3 more riders left, and not to leave without seeing them. the lift operator eventually gets replaced for some stupid reason and the new guy (who has no idea about the 3 riders after the last chair flag) shuts down the lift when the guy at the top sees three (not the main characters) people get off and ski down.

tahoe vacation

The main characters are now stuck on the lift, convinced the bribed operator was pulling a prank kind of sit for a while and don’t really make any noises because they think the lift will start up again. they did not ride with cell phones, either. It wasn’t until the lights on the mountain started turning off that they started to panic. Parker is new to snowboarding, still falling and doing pretty basic maneuvers, where Dan and Lynch have been best friends forever. Dan and Parker snowboard where Lynch has on skis. So after what appears to be a long but not unreasonable amount of time, a groomer comes up from the base of the mountain. the riders scream and wave their arms, but are unable to overcome the noise of the groomer engine. The groomer does stop, but we find that the driver was radio-ed to come back to base because they were closing for the weekdays and the grooming didn’t have to occur till friday (today was sunday). The guy starts to back down the mountain and this is where Lynch throws his goggles and a ski down to get the driver’s attention. the driver is looking through is back window so he doesn’t see their signals – and disappears into the darkness.

Snowboarding Hidden Valley 2009

So this is where it gets more fun. The girl is scared of heights – adding a bit of panic. Dan (boyfriend) thinks he can jump from the lift in order to land and then go get help. From the camera’s perspective, it looks like an easy 50-foot drop. After some more panicking by the girlfriend, Dan convinces himself and the others that he can make the jump. and he jumps. upon impact both his legs broke, tearing through the skin, leaving him pretty helpless. he is unable to get to his snowboard he threw down before leaping. Parker and Lynch throw down a scarf and bandana to give to dan to use as a tourniquet – this only helps for a while. that is, until a wolf appears Parker throws her snowboard at it to scare it away, and it runs off – the board goes sliding into the forest. Lynch now looks back and sees the lift pole (giant telephone poles that hold up the lift chairs and cable. Parker and Lynch are about two chair lengths away from the lift pole – Lynch decides he needs to get to the lift pole despite a warning from Dan that the lift cable is razor sharp. Lynch, in his ski boots, stands up on the icy frame of the chair and starts going hand-over-hand for a little while, he immediately turns around and gets back on the chair and holds onto Parker’s face. Lynch saw that the originally lone wolf came back with the pack and surrounded Dan. He wouldn’t let Parker look at the wolves’ attack on Dan, a very emotional scene where the girlfriend and best friend have to listen to Dan suffering while getting eaten.

In classic movie form, they go through the stages of grief (aka DABDA): Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.

D – screams of “no” and “this is not happening”, and the hiding of each other’s faces from seeing the attack

A – Parker was angry at Lynch for not doing something while Dan was getting attacked. Lynch was mad at Parker for being the 3rd wheel on the historically “boys only” trip

B – Parker says Dan was the man she was going to marry and Lynch resolved to call the girl who he had met earlier the day and ask her to marry him despite his fear of commitment

D – they get sad and cry and are quiet for what seems like a long time

A – they decide they needed to leave the chair immediately

Snowboarding Hidden Valley 2009

Lynch comes up with the plan to go hand over hand towards the lift pole. the first attempt left his gloves in tatters. He decides to man up and go through it, by the time he gets to the next chair, his hands are bloody and torn up. somehow, the chair Parker is sitting on had a bolt that started to come loose as Lynch went across the lift cable. It appears to get looser and looser as the chair gets shaken. Lynch eventually resolves to get to the pole, and does. but asks Parker to throw the ski poles down by the base of the lift, as the wolves were starting to circle. Lynch gets to the ground and is immediately met by the pack of wolves. he is able to defend himself agains the attack, grabs Dan’s snowboard and rides it like a sled down the mountain – all we see is him riding down and a pair of wolves following close behind.

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Parker is now alone. Frostbite has long set in and she decides that she needs to climb down the lift pole the way Lynch did. As she tried climbing up the chair to reach the cable, the bolt holding in the chair falls out and you see the chair shake off its mount as Parker jumps back onto the chair. The chair falls, but has some kind of safety cable that unwinds and suspends the chair about 10-15 feet off the ground. Parker jumps off, but is quickly followed by the chair (the safety cable snaps), injuring one of her legs. She starts army-crawling down the mountain, rolling, hobbling on her busted leg – eventually coming across the wolves feeding on Lynch’s body. The wolves leave her alone, apparently satiated by their two man-sized meals. she makes her way to a highway and lays there until a driver takes her to the hospital. the movie ends with “FROZEN” written in giant font with ominous tones.

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Now to the fun stuff. The bolded things and why they were ridiculous:

pay a lift operator cash to let them ride all day instead of buying lift tickets

They gave the lift operator $100 to ride. Lift tickets for east coast run from $40 (sunday) to maybe $70 – you’ve basically paid for two people to ride already! how did Dan and Lynch learn to ride without some kind of cash flow. they had clearly done this trip before.

one last run

Rookie mistake. its like coaching your pitcher during a no-hitter. you cannot utter the words “last run” until after the run – eg “that was my last run”. never “just one more” or “just one last run”. it usually leads to certain doom.

they did not ride with cell phones

I understand why you wouldn’t, but you at least need some sort of communication device. walkie-talkie or cell phone is a must. although on some mountains, you really don’t get reception but at least there would be one potential jump-free solution to getting stuck on a lift.

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Parker is new to snowboarding

what is she doing on this trip?!

the riders scream and wave their arms

If I saw a groomer coming up and it was within range to hit with my snowboard, helmet, boot, loose change, I would do everything I could to actually hit the vehicle. screaming doesn’t really help unless the engine is turned off (and he hopefully doesn’t have his ipod in his ears). the groomer driver isn’t likely to look up when he’s driving on a ski slope

IMGP3852

it looks like an easy 50-foot drop

This is why you died. Jumping was your first solution? 50-foot drop was the only thing you could think of? not only that but the way the guy jumped was not ideal. his plan was apparently to land on his legs. take the full brunt of a 50 foot drop on his legs. he didn’t roll out of it, he didn’t hang from the chair to give him some x-axis motion, he just dropped. it wasn’t until after this genius idea, that the idea of going to the nearest lift pole came up.

the lift cable is razor sharp

umm. I’m pretty sure steel braided cable (no matter how big) is relatively smooth. if anything it would be slippery. If the lift cable was sharp, it would cut up the guide wheels on all the lift poles, wearing them down really fast. either way, I don’t care if its made of porcupines. I’m using it to get to the lift pole to escape. I snowboard with a leather belt, so if the “razor” cable was really that bad, I’d (1) flip by gloves around if they got cut up and (2) wrap my gloves in the belt, leaving some slack in between to account for arm movement as I climb.

So if for some reason you can’t hang from the pole with your legs up on the cable, which is my preferred method of escape, I have come up with two options that could potentially work for that “razor” cable. the first requires an understanding of your bindings and how much you’d trust them. First, attach both the ankle and toes straps to the cable and let it hang like this, add leather belt if possible:

Put your hands on the cable and spread your weight on your hands and feet/snowboard as you shimmy your way across. This isn’t ideal, but it might work as the snowboard would be your “safety” if you slip.

The other method to cross a razor sharp cable is to use the snowboard and cable as a zip line. hold onto the bindings and put your legs up on the cable to use as a brake:

Lynch, in his ski boots, stands up on the icy frame of the chair

Ski boots are mostly plastic, just like those awesome tobaggan sleds. plastic slips on ice and icy metal. Bad idea. I totally thought he was going to die slipping off the chair.

the first attempt left his gloves in tatters

See above: flip gloves over, use metal belt, take off a shirt. something to help save your hands.

the bolt holding in the chair falls out

umm…. I’m pretty sure there are safety measures that don’t rely on just a single bolt to hold in a chair. otherwise we’d have chairs falling everywhere duing a storm.

some kind of safety cable that unwinds

umm. not sure of the validity of this, but I imagine there would be some kind of “hey, if you’re stuck up here, pull this bolt out and a cable will lower you down 40 feet” sign. not too believeable.

IMGP7232

So overally, this movie was a dud. I ended up talking with fred the whole time, and we thought up a couple more things the movie didn’t:

1. if the resort is empty you’d have to get a hold of someone. assuming you have no money for a pay phone, the best option is to start breaking the glass of the lodge to set off alarms.

2. snowboard boots are better than ski boots. grippy soles, more comfortable.

3. snowboards are better than skis for escaping. you can attach them to the cable or to the chair. you can use it to lower yourself before making a jump – and link multiple snowboards if you can to lower yourself further.

4. they waited too long. Parker reached day 3 with no water, frostbite, and two storms. wtf?! I’m not getting stuck on a lift and just waiting. you lose strength and water if you sit for days.

5. don’t go on the lift after closing. not a good idea. ever. and ESPECIALLY don’t call that run “the last run”!

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