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NBA Upsets & Underdogs

review by Zach B.

Studio: USA

Running Time: 62 minutes


Retail Price: $19.95

Features: Bill Walton, Dikembe Mutombo and Alan Houston Segments

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Frame, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Dolby 2.0, Chapter Search

You gotta love true, beat-the-odds stories. Sure, movies and other forms of media have overplayed it with countless stories about the little guy succeeding and surprising everyone, just stories that we have to stand up and cheer for. They shock, they stun and again, they surprise. I'm a sucker for stories like those, about struggles and ultimatly winning in the end. People can bash you and say you'll never make it, but you keep trying and listen to yourself and you eventually do. I could preach about this subject forever, examine it to death, but you probably know the deal, so I'll stop right there.

Loving these kinds of stories, and liking basketball, "NBA's Upsets and Underdogs" seemed to be right up my ally. Hosted by former Portland Trail Blazer Bill Walton, the disc follows a good set of stories any basketball fan can enjoy. You don't need to be an expert, you don't even have to be into basketball at all. Each segment gives you the knowledge you need about the certain event, and the stuff that did transpire. Caring about basketball will help, because if you don't, you'll really have to love underdog stories to like the stuff here. But if you don't care about basketball, why are you bothering with this disc anyway? Still, things are explained nicely and cut well with basketball clips, stills and interviews.

So what stories do you get here? Well, Bill Walton's own Trail Blazers are featured in a 1977 segment about them in the championships. There's also the 1999 New York Knicks season and how the "kid" Kevin Garnett, a nineteen year old high school grad made the jump from his hometown of Chicago to the Minnesoa Timberwolves and who would become a good player.

So there you have it... there's some compelling stuff on this disc. So basketball fans, there's a lot of memories and great inspirational stories about beating the odds. Be sure to check it out.

"NBA Upsets and Underdogs" is in 1.33:1 full frame, but there's a good amount of stuff in non-anamorphic widescreen. Most interviews are in non-anamorphic widescreen, as well as some basketball clips. As far as the clips, they range from decent to shoddy. I noticed some shimmering and little parts that were distracting, but pretty good.

With 5.1, the mix sounds decent. Nothing more, nothing less. There's some pretty good surround use, but nothing too impressive. There's the usual music, crowd cheers and what I call "heartbreaking" music to manipulate the audience a little. Still, there's some distortion that is bothersome. Check out chapter 9 to see what I mean. A 2.0 English track is also included.

For special features, you have three more segments that focus on NBA players. There's Bill Walton (the host of the featurette, complete with some great old footage), Dikembe Mutombo and Alan Houston.

There's some nice segments on the feature, backed with some more segements for extras and a decent presentation. If you're a big basketball fan or love inspirational tales, this one's for you.

(4/5 - NOT included in final score)




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