Director: Clare Lewins
Writer: Clare Lewins
Producers: Clare Lewins, George Chignell, Greg Hobden
Format: Blu-ray, Ultraviolet, Widescreen
Language: Portuguese (DTS 5.1), German (DTS 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
Subtitles: Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish, English
Dubbed: Portuguese, French, German, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date: November 11, 2014
Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2016
Run Time: 112 minutes
Certain cultural figures never truly leave the limelight, and it feels as though there is renewed interest in their celebrity every few years through various documentary and film projects. These icons most commonly include John Lennon, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali. The latter of these three has been given another documentary feature to praise his accomplishments, though I Am Ali does little to add to the cultural significance of the man. Aside from the rehashing of familiar material, the main draw of I Am Ali is commentary from those closest to him and private recordings of personal conversations with family members. For those who have no need to hear one of the greatest boxers talking in a baby voice for his children, any of the other documentaries will likely suffice.
Though Ali is still alive and well at the age of 72, this film begins to feel like it is in memoriam of the famed celebrity. Close friends and admirers alike come out of the woodwork for interviews about the greatness of Ali, with segments of the film specified for those that knew him best during his height of fame. There are also sections of the film dedicated to his family members and former wife, giving a more intimate portrayal of the charismatic boxer. Much of this is possible because of Ali’s obsessive tendency to record his phone conversations and interactions with his children. There was also often a camera around, filming Ali in his home life and boxing career alike.
The other reason a documentary like this is possible has much to do with the success of Ali’s celebrity in the first place. While most boxers were not talkative, Ali burst into the boxing scene with a large personality and an eagerness to talk directly to the press. He also became socially and politically active, which cost him the best days of his boxing career when Ali refused to fight in the Vietnam War. Then there was his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, all of which is dealt with briefly between recordings of Ali’s personal relationships. The public persona is probably best known, and likely why it takes up the smallest portion of the film’s running-time.
The Blu-ray release comes with a digital copy of the film, also in high definition. The special features on the BD include additional segments of the documentary, with more interviews from Ali’s children, George Forman, Ken Norton, Karl Malone, Tom Jones and Kris Kristofferson.
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10
Historical Significance: 5/10
Special Features: 6/10
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