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Without a doubt, Muhammad Ali is one of the greatest sports figures of the 20th century. On top of that, Ali is also one of the best-known and most recognizable personalities of the century. With MUHAMMAD ALI: THROUGH THE EYES OF THE WORLD ($20) Aliís life and career is examined though archival footage, as well as a series of interviews with family, friends, members of the media and fellow fighters. Because of Aliís personality, or in spite of it, this biography paints a fascinating portrait of the Heavyweight Champion known as The Greatest. The program certainly doesnít pull any punches, examining both the heights of Aliís professional career, as well as the controversial aspects of his personal life. However, what makes MUHAMMAD ALI: THROUGH THE EYES OF THE WORLD truly special is seeing how Ali has affected those others who have either known him, been touched by his presence or come up against him in the ring. Everyone from actors James Earl Jones, Billy Crystal and Rod Steiger to singer Tom Jones to artist Leroy Neiman share their personal insight and experiences with Ali.

Universal Studios Home Video has made MUHAMMAD ALI: THROUGH THE EYES OF THE WORLD available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Since much of the footage comes from archival film and video sources, the quality of the image can shift radically, some of which appears soft or displays age related flaws. However, for the most part this is a good-looking presentation that provides a crisp and well-defined image for the interviews produced specifically for the program. The dual layer DVD is well encoded and does not display any appreciable digital compression artifacts.

MUHAMMAD ALI: THROUGH THE EYES OF THE WORLD has a soundtrack listed as "processed" 5.1 surround. This Dolby Digital track is culled from numerous monaural sources, plus the "talking head" type interviews donít lend themselves to any sort of directionality. However, there are some moments where the program does utilize the stereo and surround channels to draw the viewer into the historic moments in Aliís life and career. Music also makes use of the outlying channels. Voices and narration are always clean and intelligible, although there are differences in clarity between archival recordings and those produced for this program. English, French and Spanish subtitles are provided on the DVD.

The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a number of supplements which include unseen interviews, a still gallery, a music video, a fight chronology with video clips, a promo for the Ali Center, a short featurette on the stage production of "Ali" and a trailer for the program itself.

MUHAMMAD ALI: THROUGH THE EYES OF THE WORLD provides an intriguing look at the life and career of the legendary sports figure. Fans of Ali will most certainly want to check out this well produced biography on DVD.


Muhammad Ali - Through the Eyes of the World


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2002 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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