Plot: What’s it about?
There isn’t much of a plot to this DVD set, as it’s not a work of fiction. I suppose if there were any “plot” it would be that there is one player playing the game of basketball today (again) that is simply the greatest player and maybe the greatest athlete of all time…Michael Jordan. Jordan is synonymous with basketball as Gretzky is with hockey, Ali is with Boxing and Babe Ruth is with Baseball. He is simply the man who defines the sport. Assembled here are five of his best-selling videos all compiled here. They start with “Come Fly With Me” which traces his roots from his childhood to his college days at North Carolina (and the win at the 1982 NCAA championship) to Olympic days in 1984 and his first years with the Chicago Bulls. While this is quite informational, the rest of the stories tell pretty much the same tale, but move forward in time. Michael Jordan’s Playground is next in line and tells the similar tale of his childhood and college years. Let’s face it, it’s pretty definitive as to his past and present, the only thing unknown about the guy is his future. With more comebacks than John Travolta, the sky is the limit (and with Michael Jordan…anything is possible). Michael Jordan’s Airtime delves a bit further into his career, showing his first win as a Chicago Bull. They had never won the Championship, but finally in 1991, they did. Little did they know that it was a feat they would repeat five more times before the decade was over with.
As the stories of Michael Jordan’s life grow more and more towards the present, it seems that they get more and more remarkable. He was already a superstar before his Championship in 1991, 1992 and 1993 and it was after the 1993 season that he decided to hang up his jersey. We all know what happened shortly thereafter…After the death (murder) of his father, Micahel turned to baseball as shown in Above and Beyond. While good, he was not the athlete that he was on the basketball court and it was only a mere 18 months before he made his comeback to the basketball court (then sporting a number 45 instead of his trademark 23–though he would later return to the latter). As it turns out, the magic was not over. Jordan took the new look Bulls (with personality Dennis Rodman on board) for another three back to back to back Championship seasons and then resulting in another retirement. As Jordan put it in His Airness, he wanted to leave the game knowing that he could still play it and defeat it. Just how good is Michael Jordan? He recently came out of retirement from upper management of the Washington Wizards and scored 45 points in a single game (something most players never accomplish in a lifetime). As of this writing, we’re waiting for the Wizards to appear in the NBA Finals…soon.
Video: How does it look?
All of Michael Jordan’s specials are presented in a full-frame format. While the enhancement of an anamorphic transfer would certainly do him justice, it just isn’t possible as most all of the footage is from televised broadcasts. There is an IMAX film (and a review on this site) of Michael Jordan that is in a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer, so if you want to see a 16:9 Jordan, that’s the one to check out. Colors are strong and sharp, and naturally they get better as the age of the film is less and less. Some shots from his rookie season appear to be washed out, but that’s a fault of the original film as opposed to the transfer of this DVD. On the whole, it’s good and certainly better than when all the games originally aired.
Audio: How does it sound?
We have to options to listen to His Airness in…Dolby Digital 5.1 and a Dolby Surround track. I chose the 5.1 option, and was fairly impressed. As these are mostly TV broadcasts and not made for surround sound or home theater per se, they do sound very good. I have to admit that I did really get into the feel of the show when they’re showing all of his highlights with the symphony music blaring in 5.1 in the background. You’d have to be near deaf or really hate Michael Jordan not to have your adrenaline pumping just a bit after these few segments. Overall, it sounds good, not great, but enough where you get the feel of the show and it certainly moves you during certain scenes throughout.
Supplements: What are the extras?
To the best of my knowledge, this is USA’s first two disc set (though I could be mistaken). Don’t let it fool you, though…as not all two disc sets are as jam packed with extras as you might believe. On the first disc we find the first three features. The first is Michael Jordan’s “Come Fly With Me” which appears to be made around 1989 and tells the tale of Jordan up to that date. The next is Michael Jordan’s Playground which covers a few more years into the “future”, but still manages to overlap from the previous version. Lastly, the aptly titled “Air Time” shows yet a few more years into his career, including the famous “Dream Team” from the Barcelona 1992 Olympics (where they cleaned house and easily won the Gold Medal). The second disc contains the last two features, “Above and Beyond” and “His Airness” both aptly titles. These have been summarized above. There are some extended features as well, including some statistics of Jordan’s career (to see how good he really is, just take a gander at these), a Photo Gallery, a Trivia Game and more. We also find a music tribute from Jill Scott which is both intersting and uplifting and “It’s Gotta Be the Shoes” for anyone who remembers “Mars Blackman” and that whole advertising campaign for the Air Jordan basketball shoes. Both features clock in at around 6 minutes. Some “Great Michael Memories” include some interviews with NBA Players who are just in awe of how good he is, but this was a bit redundant as they did this through all five of the featues. Michael Jordan’s Slam Dunk Contest Footage is an interesting feature, and what he may be known best for. It shows his battle(s) with Dominique Wilkins and how he literally got the name “Air Jordan”. An interactive Jordan career timeline is up next showing some high points from most years 1982-2000. You can guess most of these (NCAA Championship, NBA Rookie of the Year, NBA Championsip…) but there are a few surprises here and there. Lastly are some highlights from Jordan’s Great Eight. It seems that a player like Jordan couldn’t be limited to single number highlights, but the have narrowed it down for us and they’re all here (69 point game, The Flu Game, etc). It’s all here, the Ultimate Jordan shows us how, when, where and why Michael Jordan is and continues to be the best Basketball player out there.