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Wu:
The Story Of The Wu-Tang Clan

review by Zach B.

 

 

Running Time: 79 minutes

Starring: The Wu-Tang Clan, Mitchell Diggs, Bobito Garcia, Bonz Madline, Ralph McDaniels, Gano Grills, Popa Wu, Schott Free, 3rd Rail Remedy Ross

Written and Directed by: Gerald K. Barclay

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $22.98

Features: "Raekwon The Chef" Reveals The Wu-Tang Recipe, RZA "Cuts" Through The Hip Hop World, Behind The Wu With Director Gee-Bee, Icelene's Loss: Her Relationship With ODB, Original Music Video: Wu-Tang Is Born - Protect Ya Neck

Specs: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen, English Stereo, Chapters (8 Chapters)

Released: November 18th, 2008

 

 

"Wu: The Story Of The Wu-Tang Clan" is presented in 1.85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen. Yes, this is another Paramount-distributed documentary that seems to have fallen through the cracks and not get anamorphic treatment. Who knows why, especially for a 79 minute documentary. 

While an anamorphic transfer might have helped the resolution and make the overall image a bit more vibrant, the image quality still disappoints. While the older footage used is another story, the footage shot specifically for this documentary does not look overly pleasing. While color sautration and fleshtones are decent enough, the image quality lacks sharpness and is often soft - not to mention grainy. Edge halos and noise run rampant, while edge enhancement is easy to spot. Again, this transfer disappoints on a number of levels.

 

Also disappointing is the English Stereo track. Needless to say, the music in the documentary - and it's crucial - lacks any sort of punch or energy that would have surely made this a more soaring experience. Audible yes, but nothing immersive. Other than that, there are some sound effects that come off on the bland side, and dialogue - which is very clear, so it's always easy to hear the talking in the older footage used or the talking heads from the interviews conducted for this film. Fidelity is also average.

English closed captions are also included.

 

A few extras are on the disc, which namely is more footage that didn't make it into the documentary. First up is "Raekwon The Chef" Reveals The Wu-Tang Recipe. No, this isn't a cooking segment - here Raekwon touches upon individual members and the rap group's Staten Island roots (it lasts about 10 minutes). RZA "Cuts" Through The Hip Hop World (four-and-a-half minutes) discusses the sound of the group slightly, but also various individual business deals and what the W in "Wu" means to RZA. 

Behind The Wu With Director Gee-Bee is a sit-down with the documentary's director that lasts a good 15 minutes or so. Here, Gee-Bee (AKA Gerald K. Barclay) discusses in more detail his ties with the Wu-Tang Clan. Gee-Bee is certainly enthusiastic about his subjects, and bares a good deal of history. He also touches upon ODB's death, and the impact the group had on popular culture. A pretty engrossing and interesting watch. 

Rounding the extras out are Icelene's Loss: Her Relationship With ODB where again, the late (and arguably most infamous) member of the group is paid respect by his widow. For nearly 7 minutes, Icelene speaks of her late husband, how they met when she was only 16 years old and a lot of his drug-related arrests. And there's the classic Music Video: Wu-Tang Is Born - Protect Ya Neck, directed by Barclay.

 

90s hip hop fans and certainly fans of the Wu-Tang Clan should enjoy this documentary - which has a personal touch, since director Gerald K. Barclay had close ties with the group. The DVD of his documentary though disappoints. While the extras offer more insight, the documentary's presentation is not up to snuff. A purchase should be in order for die-hard Wu fans, but otherwise, a rental should be good enough.