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Muhammad Ali
Through The Eyes Of The World

review by Zach B.

 

 

Not Rated

Running Time: 104 minutes

Directed by: Phil Grabsky

Studio: Universal

Retail Price: $19.98

Features: Through The Eyes Of The World, Unseen Interviews, Stills Gallery, Music Video, Fight Chronology, Ali Center Promo, Ali Featurette, Trailer

Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scenes

Released: January 29th, 2002

 

 

There's no denying that Muhammad Ali is one of the most extradionary figures in American history, and truly one of the greatest boxers and athletes of all time. There's a lot to Ali and his beginnings. Surely an outspoken man who always knew how to talk, Ali may be succumbing to Parkinson's disease now, but he's such an icon and part of history as well as pop culture. Besides fighting, what else is he known for? Cassius Clay (his real name, of course) found religon in the Muslim faith and became a spoken follower of Islamic culture (he changed his name of course). But let's face it... Ali is all about being a boxer and being the athlete that he is... someone we all think to know and love (or hate for that matter). However, this documentary approaches more of what he did and who he was, more than what he exactly known for.

"Through The Eyes Of The World" focuses on a great deal of Ali's life through old footage and a SLEW of interviews with those who knew him, those who know him and those who admire him. Celebrities (Tom Jones, Billy Crystal, comedian Billy Connolly), current boxers (Lennox Lewis), journalists and his immediate family. The documentary behins focus on Ali's humble start, where he grew up in Kentucky. He got into fighting when someone stole his bike, and his father suggested that he learn how to fight if he was going to pound the person who stole it. From there... history was made (perhaps everything does happen for a reason). So he won the Olympic Gold medal in 1960, but besides his religous conversion, Ali, like I said, always knew how to talk (Vietnam, anyone?). But perhaps that's what made Ali that - "Ali." Always causing a stir, always causing controversy with what he did and what believed, yet there's no denying how charismatic Ali was. Everyone has an opinion about Ali, there's no doubt about that.

This documentary is really well done and I really, really learned a lot about Muhammad Ali from it. While it does focus on Ali, I must say it jumped around a little too much. It spends too much time on some things, and not enough on others. It's about Ali's life, but if it had more focus and didn't go off too much at times, I would have liked it more. But don't get me wrong, this is a great documentary that is really, really well done. Like I said, it's more about the man than what he did. It's amazing how many people are interviewed and what they say is condensed into this... editing that must have been crazy. But it provides a lot about him which is quite important... there's a lot, and I mean A LOT of information and insight to gain about Muhammad Ali and his history. Despite the jumps I felt in the documentary, it really captures the spirit of Ali and what he brought to the world thanks to the footage and those who talk about him. "Muhammad Ali - Through The Eyes Of The World" may not be the best documentary of all time... but it's one of the best I've seen in a really long while.

 

Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, "Muhammad Ali - Through The Eyes Of The World" features quite an impressive transfer. The footage that was original 1.33:1 has been stretched out, and those of course, have scratches, are grainy and feature a lot of dirt and imperfections (that's expected). Yet there is a certain sharpness to them... as well as the videotaped interviews. The videotaped interviews look great. The colors are really well saturated, and everything pops off the screen. The noise is there though and some shimmering, but still impressive.

 

There's an English 5.1 Dolby Digital track, which, according to the box, is "processed" (I guess it was remixed or had new effects created or something). In anycase, this is a pretty strong mix. Don't be expecting an action packed documentary though to blow your speakers. The dialogue is crisp and clear so no one should have any problems hearing people talk... it sounds really fresh and nice. The surround effects and .1 LFE aren't really there... maybe with a background noise such as a crowd or music, but that's about it. Still, it's a documentary. Nothing bad at all. They're English subtitles, French subtitles and Spanish subtitles.

 

There are a few supplements here... nothing incredibly special though, but they sure add to the documentary (it was probably stuff that was cut). First off is Through The Eyes Of The World. A good deal of countries are here as footage of people from those countries talk about "The Greatest." Good stuff. Click a country on the map and enjoy. There are also Unseen Interviews from Billy Crystal, Rod Steiger, James Earl Jones, Hana Ali and Billy Connolly. These are in anamorphic widescreen, and are pretty cool to watch. They're not as insightful, but some fun stuff about Ali (Crystal is hilarious as always).

A Stills Gallery is included that plays by itself, plus a Fight Chronology (some with footage) and Music Video from Faithless. Finally, there is a promo for Ali Center (more interviews namely), a Ali Featurette (basically another interview and performance footage) and a Trailer.

 

"Muhammad Ali - Through The Eyes Of The World" is a fantastic and informative documentary about The Greatest. With substantial extras, a good presentation and a nice price, Ali fans... check this one out.