Don Kempf, James D. Stern, co-directors; Fox Home Video/MVP.com; Anamorphic 1:85 IMAX; Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Surround English, Dolby Digital 5.1 French; 46 Minutes
This film is a departure in the DVD (and perhaps the original film; I didn’t see it) in its 1:85 aspect ratio, but it sure works on a 16:9 screen to bring you right onto the basketball court. And in the sharpness of the picture and the vividness of the colours, this disc is about as close to HD as you can get from a DVD, especially when seen on a progressive scan player.
To The Max follows the final playoffs of Michael’s career against the Indiana Pacers and the Utah Jazz (and his current comeback gives a special resonance to this film). It’s interspersed with biographical clips and an interview in which Jordan is surprisingly candid about his life, especially with respect to his baseball fiasco, and his reaction to the murder of his father.
The deification of Jordan gets a little excessive as the film progresses, but it is Jordan who acknowledges that there will be a greater player. Whether it’s Vince Carter or someone else, Jordan has handled his greatness and celebrity with his typical grace and insight, and this is a large part of the film: Michael Jordan’s humanity and humility. But it is the competitiveness that made him win his last game and yet another NBA championship, and that is even now making him work hard on the his comeback.
Special features include trailers, commentaries, and a surprisingly amateurish Making Of documentary, with grainy, jerky video, poorly edited and presented interviews with various of the filmmakers, and a preoccupation (10 of the doc’s 21 minutes) with the gimmickry of the opening (and closing) shot in which the camera seems to rise and move around a dunking Jordan. Hey, special effects are special effects, and we don’t rhapsodize about every similar shot in The Matrix, so, guys, get a life! They should look at the McGillvray Freeman Making Ofs.
But the most annoying thing in this otherwise excellent and entertaining package is a Fox promo that, like the copyright notices for the Geneva Convention and the entire known universe, disables fast or skip forward, so you have to watch it. Clearly, some of these Hollywood types at Fox are still in the 20th Century, and, like, paranoid control freaks, eh? In other words, their only vision is MacroVision. Get a life, indeed! You can take away my MTV, but not my Skip Forward button.