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Ultimate Jordan

review by Zach B.


Starring: Michael Jordan

Running Time: 330 minutes


Studio: USA

Retail Price: $26.95

Features: Programs "Come Fly With Me," "Michael Jordan's Playground," "Air Time," "Above & Beyond" and "His Airness." Michael's Greatest Dunks, Michael's Greatest Moves, Michael's Greatest Clutch Shots, Michael's Greatest Assists, Great Michael Memories, Jill Scott Music Tribute, It's Gotta Be The Shoes, Jordan Career Timeline, Slam Dunk Contest Highlights, Michael's Great Eight, Collectible Booklet

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Frame, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Dolby 2.0, English Closed Captions, Chapter Search, Two-Disc Set

As Michael Jordan embarks on his return to the NBA for the 2001-2002 season, USA Home Entertainment's "Ultimate Jordan" seems like the perfect tie-in. As fans get hyped up for Jordan's return, USA presents five Michael Jordan programs that originally appeared on VHS in a great collectible package on DVD (and it's cheaper to get it this way than buying all of them separate on tape). While it is questionable for those who own the tapes are willing to upgrade, I highly recommend it as this set is a very good deal.

These five programs present a great look back at Jordan's career, all at different times during a single decade (1989-1999). "Michael Jordan: Come Fly With Me," "Michael Jordan's Playground," "Michael Jordan Air Time," "Michael Jordan Above And Beyond" and "Michael Jordan His Airness" are included in this set. The first three on one disc and the last two on the second that also includes bonus footage. While each of these all show Michael in action, they all present some interesting focuses. "Come Fly With Me" gives some background on Jordan's past, while "Above And Beyond" has interesting reflections on his early retirement and then getting back into the game. Everything here lasts over five and a half hours, and since Jordan is such a legend and the footage here can be so incredible, it'll always be worth watching.

So what else can I say? Michael Jordan is a living sports legend who is instantly recognizable with sports nuts and those who aren't into sports at all. As he has broken records, inked memorable promotional deals and has a tremendous career, there's really not much I can say as just about everyone is familiar with his contributions. I could go on and on and on about Jordan, and most of you probably can too. But why bother when you can watch this set that shows all his brilliant sports-playing in action? Basketball and Jordan fans, this is simply a great investment for your DVD player as we see the greatest player of all time at his absolute best.


All of the five programs and bonus footage are in 1.33:1 full frame and have been digitally re-mastered for this release. Since there is a variety of footage that differs in quality, a lot of this set is a toss-up. Some of the footage from the games look really sharp and bold, while other footage from games look a bit faded and washed out. Still, there's a lot to like here. Video interviews tend to look quite good, and there is a really nice crisp quality to the images on the programs. Colors and black levels look good, and the only main problem with these programs are some noise here and there. Still, nicely done.

"Ultimate Jordan" features 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Dolby 2.0 tracks. The 5.1 remixes are pretty strong for what they are. The crowds at the games, the music blasting out and the variety of sounds on the court are well mixed and sound rather fantastic. This was a lot better than I expected and is an overall nice sound presentation. There is a balance between the sounds, and dialogue is easy to hear as nothing overpowers it. During some great highlights, it can get you rather pumped up. Bass extension is pretty impressive. Overall, fine remixes that suit the material well. English closed captions can be turned on if your television has it.

While you want find any commentaries or really in-depth stuff here, like most of their sports releases, USA has crammed in some great bonus footage. Michael's Greatest Dunks shows off some highlight dunks, while Michael's Greatest Moves shows off some great moves he made during some games. There's also more Michael in action in games with Michael's Greatest Clutch Shots and Michael's Greatest Assists. Jordan and basketball fans will love these and will love revisiting them.

Great Michael Memories highlights portions of Jordan during games, and has interviews with basketball players and those involved in the NBA recalling their favorite Jordan memories. Nicely done.

Jill Scott Music Tribute is a fine tribute set to Jordan with music and footage, while It's Gotta Be The Shoes is a great featurette that I really enjoyed as it takes a look back as probably Jordan's biggest promotional campaign... Nike's Air Jordans. I loved those commercials, and I loved my Air Jordan's... I think I still have them all the way from the year 1992.

Michael Jordan's Career Timeline is another great feature, as we are presented an interactive timeline and when you click on a certain year, footage from that year is shown featuring His Airness. It spans 1982-2000, and is worth going through.

Slam Dunk Contest Highlights that has interviews with NBA personalities, Jordan, footage of slam dunks from Jordan and him trying to win the slam dunk contest against Dominique Wilkins. More documentary like and more serious, which I liked.

There's also Michael's Great Eight is like another feature in its own, with eight chapter stops that his his greatest eight moments. Also well done and it feels more serious. Finally, there's a Collectible Booklet inside that is really nice, but I felt it could have used some more depth. It feels like a random scrapbook of Jordan.

"Ultimate Jordan" is a must-own for any basketball fan or Michael Jordan fan out there. While this programming is not new, getting five programs and much more for a low price is really worth it, seeing how you'll be watching the greatest basketball player of all time in where everything seems to be memorable and amazing. The extra bonus footage is a good addition, and while the transfer and 5.1 are nothing too spectacular, but they do hold their own. Worth the price as this is a great gift for any basketball fan and a great set.

(4.5/5 - NOT included in final score)




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