Most fans of the NBA have strong feelings about Allen Iverson. While some feel that he his the most dominant player in the game today, others feel that he is selfish, a player who is more concerned with his own numbers than the welfare of his team. Iverson is usually embroiled in some sort of controversy, and I suspect that he likes it that way. While it is true that his rough image is probably not what the NBA has in mind as a league player, his talent simply cannot be denied.
This hour-long documentary ha… really swayed my opinion of Iverson. I admit, I didn’t really know a lot about him before viewing this piece, except for the fact that he was constantly in some sort of trouble either with the law or with the NBA. This feature, while clearly shining the most positive light on every situation, does a good job of helping to explain his troubles both on the court and off. This is a player who knows that he has made mistakes in the past, and who is willing to do whatever it takes to be a winner in the future.
The interview segments are good here, but the unbelievable career highlights speak for themselves. Lucky for fans, this title is packed full of them, starting from his earliest days as a 10-year-old basketball player, and following him through high school, a brief stint at Georgetown University, and finally on into the NBA. There is no arguing with the evidence… Allen Iverson is a phenomenon.
It’s pretty rare that a documentary piece offers a 5.1 track, but that is exactly what we have here. It is put to good use, too. Sure, there may not be any planes flying overhead, explosions or gunfire whizzing around the room, but there is music. The 5.1 format has been utilized to open up the sound field, making the audio track, much like the man himself, come across as much larger than expected. A traditional orchestral score has been mixed with some tight hip-hop beats to create a soundtrack that is both timely and classic at once. This is a perfect example of how a surround sound track may be used to enhance the viewing experience, while not overpowering the subject at hand.
I was quite surprised by the quality of the video used on this title. It is a mix of full screen and widescreen formats, which actually works quite nicely in this case. As would be expected, the older footage is presented in its original full screen format, while the newer interview and game footage has been shot in a widescreen format. The result is a video offering of surprising clarity and depth. With the exception of a few very old sources and a couple instances of “grain for effect”, this disc looks simply stunning. Laker purple, Pacer gold and Sixer red come through in perfect bright levels, and flesh tones are spot-on. This is an excellent presentation that is even better than most feature films.
I was surprised to find that a disc such as this one had so many extras available. After viewing them, however, I found myself not so impressed anymore. Most of the options here are filler pieces, with the exception of Allen the Football Star. This section looks at Iverson’s High School football career, replete with archival footage and interviews with his coaches and sportswriters. Though this topic is discussed somewhat during the feature presentation, it is explored more in-depth here, much to my excitement. Seeing this basketball wizard play quarterback, wide receiver, safety, and punt/kick returner is a real treat, and it is fun to imagine what might have been had his passions grew into a different direction.
Allen and Isiah – The Showmen attempts to compare the styles of these two legendary “little men”, but instead is basically just a tight edit of the feature, with two minutes of Thomas footage tacked on to the beginning. The same can be said of the Rookie Record 4 Straight 40 Pt. Games section. This topic was discussed in the feature, where most of the footage here has already been utilized. A section of Allen’s Top Ten Plays is also included (though I tend to disagree with their selections), as well as a A.I. & Reebok option, which is basically just one long Reebok advertisement.
Some special features is better than no special features, but if you have watched the feature, you have already seen most of this “added content”.
I was thoroughly surprised with the quality of this disc. My only complaints were that the special features were lacking, and that the feature was only an hour long. I would love to see a more in depth look at Iverson’s life and career, but if he keeps playing the way that he has been, there will certainly be more highlight films to come. If this is an example of the kind of quality that the NBA will be bringing consumers as part of their new efforts to bring people back to the game, they should be back up to Bulls-dynasty levels of viewership in no time.
Special Features List
- Allen the Football Star
- Allen & Isiah – The Showmen
- Rookie Record 4 Straight 40 Pt. Games
- Allen’s Top Ten Plays
- A.I. & Reebok