Magic & Bird – A Courtship Of Rivals (2010/HBO DVD)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: D Documentary: B
hard to believe that the NBA was in trouble, but sports franchises can get into
trouble and sometimes, they can rebuild.
In the 1980s, the preeminent basketball entity lucked out when they
signed a contract with CBS (who saw the potential in them) and had two teams
sign two players who save the game: Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird. They became rivals quickly, giving the game a
sudden story and one that also suddenly gave it a mythology of some sort. Ezra Edelman’s Magic & Bird – A Courtship Of Rivals (2010) is a new HBO
Documentary about what happened.
went to Los Angeles, absorbing the Hollywood
flash and natural sunshine, while Bird landed up in Boston,
far away from his small town that was his hometown in Indiana.
They were both talented in a way that made them stand out from the most
talented in the business signed across the league and when they started to
become competitive, it saved the game and built a new foundation for which
(along with its adaptation by the Hip Hop world and with its later stars) the
NBA has been sailing into the greatest success of its existence since.
are interviewed extensively and they are very revealing, charming and honest,
reiterating one of the most important stories in recent sports history and
telling us more about it than any rumors or myths ever could. Even non-basketball fans will be surprised
how well made and edited this is, as well as by the quality of vintage footage
and stills included. One of the best
sports documentaries since Once In A
Lifetime (2006, about soccer in the U.S. reviewed elsewhere on this
site), Magic & Bird is a
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image has new
HD shot footage, some stills, a few old film clips and a good dose of analog
NTSC video of various quality, well edited, but can only be so consistent
throughout. The NTSC video could be and
should be cleaned up down the line. The Dolby
Digital 2.0 Stereo is also just fine and includes older monophonic audio
throughout, but the combination is very watchable just the same. There are sadly no extras.