Plot: What’s it about?
The world of professional hockey can be seen usually two ways, on television or live at the arenas. You can see a lot from each perspective, with each having certain elements over the other, such as ice viewpoint or excitement. But unless you’re a player or coach, the behind the scenes aspect of the sport is unknown, until now that is. So while you can see all the action on the ice, you’re missing part of the picture, which is why you need NHL: All Access. In this release, you’re taken behind the lines, back to the locker rooms and beyond, to get the full scope of what makes up the National Hockey League. Ever wonder what the players have to say out on the ice? With All Access, you’ll hear all their comments and then for a change of pace, have a listen to what the coaches say, if you can tolerate the yelling, that is. Go behind some of the most powerful moments in the sports, such as Mario Lemeiux’s return to the rink, Patrick Roy’s record breaking evening, and even the final game of Wayne Gretzky. In other words, this is the stuff you just can’t see otherwise, whether you’re at the games or just watching on television.
I used to watch a lot of hockey on television, but I’ve fallen behind in the last couple years, so I wasn’t sure how this disc would fare with me. I have to say, All Access is a terrific piece and one that offers all sorts of information, very cool stuff indeed. Although this is labeled as a behind the scenes feature, I expected little in terms of real behind the scenes, but All Access delivers and then some. I liked the interviews with the coaches and players on various topics, but the live mics used during games were also cool, as you could finally hear just what was being said as the game rages ahead. I admit though, this program won’t win the sport any new fans, so make sure you’re an NHL fan before you snag this disc. But I do think even casual fans of the sport will be pleased, especially with the in depth looks given to a few famous events, such as the three listed above. This is a very well done feature and has a nice gloss involved, very professional at all times. If you’re looking for fifty minutes of inside peeks at the NHL, plus some bonus features, then I recommend this disc, as it delivers on all fronts.
Video: How does it look?
NHL: All Access is presented in a full frame transfer, which is the feature’s intended aspect ratio. As this is material recorded for television & home video, the video will never be as refined as a feature film, but this looks as good as can be expected. The image looks better than it would on television, so I think fans will be pleased indeed. The colors seem bold, contrast is even handed, and flesh tones look natural, solid work all around.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc sports a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, but don’t expect much in terms of power audio. As this piece is reliant on interviews and such, there isn’t much chance for dynamic, although the elements are well presented in the end. The music sparks the surrounds at times and so does some in game footage, but this is pretty much a dialogue driven program. It all sounds terrific though, so no real complaints to be made here. This disc also includes an audio track and subtitles in French, in case those will be needed.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release also has some cool extras, in the form of five bonus short programs, all well worth a look. The topics covered are The Draft, Superskills 2000, Behind the Scenes at “Pond of Dreams”, and Montreal Forum Finale. Although these are brief, I think they’re cool and together, they offer a nice amount of bonus material. This disc also has a selection of still photos, as well as some DVD ROM content.