*** Official ALI Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Robert Crawford, Dec 28, 2001.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    31,358
    Likes Received:
    6,602
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "Ali". Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.
    All HTF member film reviews of "Ali" should be posted to this thread.
    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
    Crawdaddy
     
  2. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2000
    Messages:
    3,971
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have a feeling that this won't come as a surprise to anyone, but I have steadily been getting exposure to the Michael Mann film Ali and have found it to have greater degrees of depth and heart than I initially gave it credit for.
    I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting when I had heard about it, but I wasn't very enthused about seeing it. I admit total ignorance about Muhammad Ali. I suppose that I just saw it as a vanity vehicle for Will Smith. I don't know why I discounted the involvement of Mann, though. I've enjoyed greatly every film of his that I have seen, so I should have expected greater things from this.
    First and foremost, I don't think I can say enough about how transformed Will Smith is in this film. Not knowing much about the physicality of Ali at that stage in his life, I thought Smith seemed to be quite comfortable in the ring and seemed to be credible as a fighter. But it was the mannerisms, pattern of speech, and general charisma that I was most impressed with. Every dialog with him was a joy to listen to, be it the cadence, the conviction, or the wonderful words (which I assume were based on Ali's own words). Smith really had me feeling that Ali was a real person in some extraordinary times and situations.
    The supporting cast is also universally excellent. Outside of the stunt casting of Jada Pinkett (who wasn't bad at all), everyone else just improves the scenes they are in. Most notable was Jon Voight, lost under makeup as Howard Cosell, and an excellent turn by Jamie Foxx as Bundini. Both of them work excellently with Smith to enhance the story and emotions of the scenes they are in.
    Again, being ignorant about the life of Ali, I think the slices given in the film present a compelling story with excellent pacing. Covering a set of excellent arcs from his early rise to his lowest moments. The selected fights all support the film as a whole and are exciting to watch. Covering his legal battle over his drafting brought some very powerful scenes, the best of which is his challenge issued to the world after his sentencing. An excellent monologue sold with conviction by Smith.
    Also worthy of mention is the steady hand of Michael Man. The pacing of the wide variety of scenes and themes is kept solid and ever compelling. A lot of hand camera work gives a bit of a documentary feel that lends authenticity despite the beautiful sheen given the film. Also of note are digital camera work used judiciously in the ring to emphasize the chaos and speed of the fights.
    Finally there is the outstanding score and music, used to good effect to punctuate the themes of the film. Especially of note are the score and songs used during the Africa scenes, which always help sell the emotion of the experience. The wonderful song "Tomorrow" by Salif Keita during the memorable conclusion particularly effective.
    Those who've looked past this thinking it is nothing more than a vanity project by Smith, I urge you greatly to reconsider. Those who already hold it in high esteem, I suppose I finally understand what you meant when you sung your praises of this film.
     
  3. DaveGR

    DaveGR Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I thought ALI was great,I dont think it got the praise it deserved.Smith did an excellent job. Other than Royal Tennenbaums,it was my second fav of the year,In the Bedroom has since pushed it slightly out of second,but nonetheless it was a great little film,that wasnt little by any means. I dont know what people were expecting,but I got everything and more. I dont see how people were let down with this film.It definatly deserves more respect.
     
  4. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2000
    Messages:
    2,376
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    110
    I liked it [​IMG] I thought Will Smith did a great job of portraying Ali. He doesn't truly look or sound like the real deal but he nails the right vibe, which is the most important thing.
    One underrated part of the movie not mentioned yet was Mario Van Peebles as Malcolm X. It says a lot about his performance that I never once thought of Denzel Washington while seeing Van Peebles onscreen. I wouldn't have complained at all if he had been nominated for supporting actor.
     
  5. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    2,063
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Real Name:
    Justin Cleveland
    Ali was a very good film, but the narrative flow of the film felt jilted as it hurried from point to point, trying to cram too much information into a box that was entirely too small. Instead of developing who Ali was, and making the film a Biopic, or making it into a "greatest hits" type movie with a buildup to some of his great fights, Mann tried to tow the line between the two. As a result, I feel the movie wasn't as cohesive as it could have been.

    It was a good movie, and does deserve some praise. However the audience needs to know a lot about Ali, or assume a lot of information that isn't covered in the film, and that makes it feel hollow and rushed.
     
  6. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2002
    Messages:
    1,683
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Watch the documentary "When We Were Kings" about the Rumble in the Jungle, the fight between Ali and George Foreman. It's a fantastic piece, as good as any feature film, and represents Ali both as cultural hero and superior athlete. It's better than the film Ali.
     
  7. Nathan V

    Nathan V Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Messages:
    960
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I feel that Ali is wildly underrated. I guess people thought it would be yet another straightforward, normal biopic. Ali is something else. Michael Mann said he wanted to 'inject the audience into the juice that was Ali's life,' and he succeeds admirably. I don't need to mention how good the acting is, Mann is an actor's director, and the screenplay is solid in most places. Mann focuses on the small things, the glimpses of things that stick and become memories- The older man taping Ali's hands before the first fight; Angelo putting stuff in his pockets; Bundini glancing back at Ali while driving; the 'cheerleader' girl at the end, gazing briefly at him. The strongest point, IMO, is the strong sense of atmosphere in the film. He does this by focusing on things and emotions normally overlooked when dealing with Muhammed Ali; the emphasis is not on the fights, but on his inner conflicts (the running scene(s) and the 'riding the the train' sequence are terrific examples). Mann seems to care more about 'feel' than plot. Many audiences didn't like this. I loved it. And let's not forget the ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING cinematography and use of music. But, we wouldn't expect anything less from Michael Mann. I'm glad other people are beginning to appreciate this film.

    Regards,

    Nathan
     
  8. Matt Pasant

    Matt Pasant Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2001
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  9. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2000
    Messages:
    3,971
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Good point Matt. Perhaps the reason I enjoyed it so much was that I didn't know much about Ali, and hadn't seen any of the documentaries about him, either.
     
  10. Chad Ferguson

    Chad Ferguson Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2000
    Messages:
    923
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    After watching the movie and then the trailer, I always wondered if there would be a directors cut released down the road? Anyone know if the DVD right now is the directors cut? Mann is known for releasing directors cuts later on and hopefully we will see the Heat one soon enough.
     
  11. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Messages:
    2,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I grew up watching Ali and his fights and Will Smith never convinced me that he was Ali. Too much exposure to the real thing? I wanted to like the movie, because Ali has always been this terrific icon to me, but I gave the movie a [​IMG]
     
  12. MarcinL

    MarcinL Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2002
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I kinda steered away from ALI, not a big fa nof boxing, nor I want to spend $20+ on the movie, blind, BUT I went to blockbuster to see their USED movie sales, Never bought used movies, nor would i wanted too, I collect and I hate renting people movies or having scrateches but then ALI caught my eye for $6.99, check the disc, it was little dirty but not scratched and bought it, Original case and art, but no insert, anyway watched the movie, It was very good, kinda long, too many dancing and running in Zaire, maybe about 25-30 minutes too long, but still a great flick, for 7 bucks its a no brainer.
     
  13. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 1998
    Messages:
    8,332
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Neil Joseph
    I had kind of wanted to se this film but there was always something that held me back. I had even pre-ordered it once only to cancel it. This is strange since I was always a fan og his. I especially like his self talk and speaking things into reality before they happen. I guess I will check this out.
     
  14. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Messages:
    1,241
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I bought this about a year after it being released...had never seen it...and really really enjoyed it...thought the entire cast and crew did an excellent job...Smith is great!
     
  15. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    2,063
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Real Name:
    Justin Cleveland
    I got my copy for free at work (I work in a radio station, we usually raid the cool free stuff box whenever it comes, so far I've gotten Black Hawk Down, Ali, and The Fog for free... talked about them extensivly on air, so it all works out...) and I'm glad I've seen it, but I don't know that I would ever revisit the film.

    I agree entirly with the assesment of Will Smith as an actor in this film... there are moments when he NAILS Ali... but it is hard with a character who is so well known and has been parodied and featured many, many times. But when he hits Ali... he HITS him. Most of the movie it seemed like Will Smith playing Ali, not Ali himself on screen. But still a very competent and inspired portrayal that doesn't slip into parody.
     
  16. John^Lal

    John^Lal Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2003
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ali...i just thought there was something missing from it. didn't hit hard enough
    definately recommend When We Were Kings
    I think i'll have to see Ali again though
     
  17. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2002
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I am a huge boxing fan, and Muhammud Ali is my second fav boxer of all time (behind Sugar Ray Robinson). Saying that, and already knowing so much about Ali and his life, I thought that ALI the film did not bring enough to the table that I already didn't know. While Will Smith did an admirable job, I am not sure if it was the director or the script that made him seem too somber at times, and the times he was flapping his infamous gums at reporters and opponents alike, it didnt seem to show enough of Ali's true humor. Instead, many of those rantings came out forced and hostile instead of inspired and humorous. I thought that Ali didn't really have a point to it, instead it seemed like just a photo album of Ali's life instead of a story of his life. The only new thing that I got from Ali was that he loved bagging chicks (goes through three wives over the course of the movie). Otherwise, everything else in the movie I already knew of. I thought that the best performance in the film was by Jamie Fox and Bundini, one of Ali's cornermen, while I thought that Jon Voight, Ron Silver and Jada Pinkett Smith were more or less window dressing.

    That being said, maybe I would have had a different opinion on the film if I wasnt such a boxing buff, but at the same time I cannot classify a movie as worth seeing if it brings nothing to the table for those of us who are familiar with the subject matter. I felt the same way about Man on the Moon, the biopic of Andy Kaufmann, but I didn't feel the same way about The People vx. Larry Flynt, the biopic of Larry Flynt, as these were two somewhat similar movies made by the same director in two totally different ways. While "The People.." had an underlying theme (the 1st amendment protects even the biggest scumbags) "Moon" was just a collection of anecdotes and stories that didnt really add up to anything. But that is JMHO.
     
  18. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 1997
    Messages:
    10,523
    Likes Received:
    714
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Unfortunately I haven't given the full film the chance because I just simply cannot accept Smith as Ali. I have seen portions of this on cable (about 25-30 minutes total) and all the time I keep thinking "hey that's Will Smith trying to do an Ali impersonation."

    But I'm probably like Jordan_E above. I'm such a huge fan of not just the fighter, but the man who is Ali. And I didn't think Will Smith in any of the scenes I saw captured the complexity, humor, and bravado that was Ali.

    And I guess the biggest, most recognizable trait about Ali, for me, was how he spoke. It was almost musical in a way, and Smith didn't capture it (and I don't think there's an actor out there who could, so I don't blame Smith). I'm not a Smith basher, I have liked films he's done. But I think trying to capture Ali in a film like this is a near impossibility.

     
  19. Scott Burke

    Scott Burke Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2000
    Messages:
    479
    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    Real Name:
    Scott B.
    I thought Ali was outstanding. I love this movie. I do not know a whole lot about ali, but have seen several documentaries about him including "When we where kings" highly recommended to anyone.

    I have not bought this movie yet, because I just have a feeling that a special edition will be released just as I pick this one up. This has happened to me too many times, so I'm always wary of buying an edition with hardly anything in the way of extras on it.
     
  20. Nathan V

    Nathan V Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Messages:
    960
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Just a heads up for fans of the film, that there will in fact be a special edition dvd of the film in June, featuring a longer runtime (165 mins instead of 157, no word on how much actual new footage there is), commentary by Mann, and a making of documentary.
     

Share This Page