Return to Earth | A Mountain Bike Movie Review

What is it you really should be doing with your time? That is the question that Anthill Films wants you to contemplate as you rush through life, jumping from one obligation to the next in pursuit of material satisfaction. It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race, especially since we are taught from an early age that wealth and success are the keys to happiness. But what if the journey IS the destination? What if life is actually what happens all around you as you busy yourself making other plans? Anthill says we all need to Return to Earth, and this movie is here to help us find the way.

Return to Earth takes us on a trip around the world to sample some of the most amazing scenery and the best dirt a knobby tire has ever seen, all laid out in a cinematographic smorgasbord of wild vistas and super sick slomos.

If you’re trying to clear your mind and find a path back to simpler things, a mountain bike is probably one of the best tools you could imagine. Mountain bikes allow us to connect to the Earth in a fundamental way, through the dirt itself. From the jungles of Hawaii to the hardpack of the bike park, Return to Earth takes us on a trip around the world to sample some of the most amazing scenery and the best dirt a knobby tire has ever seen, all laid out in a cinematographic smorgasbord of wild vistas and super sick slomos. The segments blend into each other, and instead of trying to figure out the script you find yourself just immersed in the world-class riding and the amazing camera work doing it all justice. The film’s lack of plot or obvious connections might seem disjointed at first, but remember that part about how the journey IS the destination? Yeah, now you’re starting to get it. If you need one final push to really let yourself go, the sweet seventies soundtrack should do the trick.

We always hear people say that riding a bike makes them feel like kids. As if to hammer that point home, Anthill brought in a solid cast of groms to show us just how true that is, with a sweet Whistler segment headlined by 15-yr old Jakob Jewett and local wonderkid Jackson Goldstone that’ll make you long for your childhood years for more than one reason. Imagine being this good, this young…the sky’s the limit, and before you call that statement ironic, remember that to Return to Earth you first have to leave it.

Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional. Aside from the grom gang, the rest of the Return to Earth cast is mainly made of up people legally allowed to order a drink in most places, but age is just a number and that has never been truer than when you look at Vanderham  and R-Dog blasting dead leaves or Cam McCaul shredding trails with Storch and co. The fact that one of those trails literally drops into Cam’s backyard in Oregon should tell you everything you need to know about what growing up really means – it just means sometimes you can afford better toys. On the topic of toys, Anthill always brings them all, and whether it’s Patagonian panoramas with Joey Schusler, Casey Brown and Matt Hunter or sunset sessions in Squamish, the crew behind the cameras is every bit as skilled at their craft as the guys and gals behind the handlebars.

At a time when content is flooding our screens in a never-ending barrage of web edits and Instagram stories, it can be hard to make your voice heard, especially if you intend to keep talking for more than the time it takes people to scroll past your latest post. One surefire way to make sure people take notice of your work is go above and beyond in the quest for the perfect shot or the perfect trail, and Anthill has certainly delivered on that count – as they always do. Remember the iconic one-shot sequence with Brandon Semenuk in unReal? What if you could strap one of those big gimbals to a motorcycle, and then pull off the same kind of shot with a bunch of different riders dropping in from different directions at the same time? Hold our drones and watch this, said Anthill. 

All roads lead to Rome, although in mountain biking you should probably replace “Rome” with “Utah”. Whether it’s because of the dirt, the views, the shape of the land or a combination of all of the above, the long and short of it is that riding bikes in Utah isn’t like anything else. Fittingly, Anthill brought out Brett Rheeder - a rider who doesn’t ride like anybody else – to shoot the only solo segment of the film here and send a message to anybody wondering whether Brett could end up defending his Rampage title later this year. What a rider. What a segment…


Now then, if you’ve kept reading until this point, you’re on the right track. With so many distractions out there, your thumb was probably already itching to get back online and see what’s next. But you’ve managed to stop scrolling for a few minutes, happy to just take in these words and images and maybe think about what they mean. Perhaps you’ve even decided to skip whatever it was you were going to do next, and go for a bike ride instead. Well that’s all it takes to Return to Earth…even if it’s just for a little while. Go ahead. You owe it to yourself.

Return to Earth is now available via the following media outlets:


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