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NHL All-Access!

review by Zach B.

Studio: USA

Running Time: 50 minutes


Retail Price: $19.95

Features: Special Events Segments, SuperSkills Segments, The Draft Segments, Behind The Scenes Segments, NHL Previews. DVD-ROM

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Frame, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French Dolby 2.0, French Subtitles, Chapter Search (9 Chapters)

ESPN's Bill Clement hosts this really interesting documentary of sorts entitled "NHL All-Access!" While hockey is a very popular sports, I sort of feel that its kind of underrated. I'm not a die-hard fan, but I really enjoy playing the game a lot and I do like to watch it on television.

This disc is pretty much for the more in-depth hockey fans only. Sure casual viewers can watch and get a good deal out of it, but I feel if you follow the pros year in and year out, you'll get even more out of it. The disc has interviews with players, coaches and you'll hear some pretty candid talk.

The disc also has some memorable hockey moments, such as Gretzky's final game and some stuff on Mario Lemieux's comeback. In addition to that, there's some cool montages. There's also some focus on Ron Wilson and Patrick Roy, among other things.

Clement has much enthusiasm for this presentation, and its presented in an excellent manner. Everything is divided up evenly and features good focus for each chapter. It's editied very nicely and offers some pretty insightful and in-depth information on hockey, stuff you can't always see or hear from the games. You get some good perspective on things and how some players focus and work.

This is an entertaining DVD with a lot to like, and you may even watch some of this stuff more than once. Hockey and NHL fans, you're gonna love this.

Presented in 1.33:1 full frame, "NHL All-Access!" looks pretty good. Basically all of this is video tape. Clips range in quality, depending on age. Some look really sharp while other, older clips are a bit faded on and have a good deal of wear. I didn't notice any noise, and some things were in widescreen actually. A good effort overall for what it is. It even looks a bit better than I expected.

"NHL All-Access!" has a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The music uses all of these channels nicely, like during chapter five there is a good build of tension as players go out and prepare to play. Dialogue is clear and not distorted, and nothing overpowers anything else. Some surround use during the games is also present, and that brings a good kick into the mix. If you check this disc out you'll be treated to a surprisingly strong 5.1 mix. A 2.0 French track is also included and French subtitles.

"NHL All-Access!" has a Photo Gallery that has stills that deal with Patrick Roy ("Roy's Record Breaker"), Gretzky's Finale and Lemiuex's Comeback.

Special Events is divided into three sections: "Pond Of Dreams", "Behind The Pond Of Dreams" and "Montreal Forum Finale". These are nice interesting clips that will please hockey fans, as it features some clips from games, but the players walking and talking is pretty staged and kind of pathetic (they need acting lessons for sure).

SuperSkills features some more viewing fun, with "Pronger Takes The Mic" and "SuperSkills 2000". You'll love these if you love hockey.

The Draft has some even more segments, these dealing with the NHL draft and creating a team. "NHL Entry Draft", "Building Minnesota" and "Building Columbus" are the clips.

Finally, the last bonus clips section is called Behind The Scenes where you take a look at four more segments. "Behind The Broadcast", "Canucks In Sweden", "A Day With Bure" and "The Equipment Managers"

Finally, the menus are nicely animated and easy to navigate, while there is some DVD-ROM material. Before the main menu there are Previews for other NHL DVDs.

An excellent feature and a great amount of supplements, all hockey fans should add "NHL All-Access!" to their collection. For a good price and the wealth of stuff, it's truly worth it.

(4/5 - NOT included in final score)




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