Muhammad Ali: Through
The Eyes Of The World
In Muhammad Ali: Through The Eyes Of The World we see not only the power of this man but how he changed many lives
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Muhammad Ali: Through The Eyes Of The World
It is sometimes difficult to review a true documentary. Not a so-called ‘docu-drama’ but a realistic, true documentary. With the advent of the film ‘Ali’ many have wondered about the real life of the world’s greatest boxer, Muhammad Ali. In the film Muhammad Ali: Through The Eyes Of The World we see not only the power of this man but how he changed the lives of those around him and touched history in a very unique manner. Born Cassius Clay, from a humble middle class family Muhammad Ali learned to fight in order to beat up a boy that stole his bike. He trained by running along side the school bus.
What this film shows is the determination Muhammad Ali had to be the best at what he did. We see the rise to world fame of this charismatic man from a young inexperienced fighter to the world figure he is today. Best known for his self-description of ‘I’m the Greatest’ we see that he always felt that way. In fact in the very first promotional photo he ever took those words were beneath his name. Here is a man that always believed in himself. This confidence is what enamored the world to a boxer. It permitted him to rise above the view that most had of boxers. Muhammad Ali is intelligent, artistic and exudes a charisma that few men have ever known. Risen to a level far beyond a boxer this man was an entertainer and able to take on the world.
Muhammad Ali's life was far from easy once he achieved his fame and fortune. He converted to Islam and changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali. While this was controversial enough his problems were only starting. Due to his religious convictions he refused to be inducted into the U.S. military. This resulted in a court fight that would extend years and bar the champ from fighting in the States. Undaunted he found now famous fights in other parts of the world. The Thriller in Manila, The Rumble in the Jungle, fights that are famous now beyond the scope of the sport and which has become part of the collective consciousness of the world. There were his famous rhyming predictions of the fights. Without hesitation he would proclaim himself not only the youngest, fastest and best fighter but also the prettiest. Muhammad Ali took everything that happened in his life not only in stride but dignity. The film does not paint over the rough spots in his life. Through the eyes of those that knew him, worked with him and were part of his life but also with a variety of celebrities. The cross section of arts and professions that speak out here demonstrates the vast cross section of people his life touched. When the film discusses his conversion to Islam both sides are shown. Those that call the religion a racist cult to those that felt he was expressing his heritage.
Just like Muhammad Ali in the ring this film does not pull punches. The champ had periods of unpopular opinions and actions but he always stayed true to his own convictions. Whether you agree with his views or not you have to admire a man willing to risk everything rather than go against the course he set for his life. In his later years Muhammad Ali faced the difficulties of serious heath problems. Even now at sixty he is as confident as always.
The director, Phil Grabsky, is an award winning British film maker (check out his web site). One of the more well known projects he directed was the TV series Ancient Inventions. This man is talented in one of the most difficult genres. Documentaries run the risk of being too dry. Here, Grabsky brings us into the life of the champs through many that were in his life or affected by it. You get the feel of being at a small gathering of these people who happen to be discussing Muhammad Ali. The film flows very well. Some documentaries tend to drag, not so with this film. My attention never waned from the screen. He does this by a well-planned mix of historical film footage and recent interviews. There was not an overemphasis on his fighting. Very few scenes show his boxing. The focus here is on the entire man, a nice idea in this case.
The Muhammad Ali: Through The Eyes Of The World disc is well mastered in Dolby 5.1 and anamorphic 1.78:1 video. I did have to turn down the sound from my usual settings. This film was louder than many action adventure films I own. The current interviews are crystal clear. There is some film scratches present on the news footage but that is not only expected it somehow seems to add to the time trip this film takes you on. The extras are also interesting. There are previously unseen interviews, a chronology of the fights and an Ali featurette. If you are interested in the current Will Smith film Ali, see this film before you go. Even if you don’t see the docu-drama see this documentary. This film is well worth your time. Movie Review of Muhammad Ali: Through The Eyes Of The World
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