FIFA – The Beautiful Century
Sound: C+ Extras: D Episodes: B
Over a year ago, we had the pleasure of enjoying Terrence
Stamp narrating the massive 7 DVD box set The History of
Soccer – The Beautiful Game. It
covered in deep detail, the early days, development and rise of what is the
most popular game in the world. FIFA – The Beautiful Century is a four-part, double DVD set
that sticks with the FIFA league history and it all runs 104 minutes. Though it cannot match the larger release in
scope and size, it still has plenty to offer.
Origins covers those early days nicely,
though I could see what was being left out from the outside history of the
league. However, it is still a smart,
sincere presentation and beginning to the series. Instead of focusing on a Euro-centric view of how the game became
popular, this take emphasizes that the sport is a deceptively simple phenomenon
that has taken on popularity like hardly anything else.
The Champion’s Tale starts then league’s history, including their first
world cup in 1930. This installment
goes up to 2002, when this program was originally completed. Soccer Missionaries is an interesting
third installment that offers how people go all over to teach the sport in the
furthest reaches of the world. It is a
charming surprise. Expansion &
Beyond shows the peak at that time (it has become larger since) and tries
to forecast the future, but the theme of worldwide unity (hopefully not naïve
in its optimism) is again emphasized.
FIFA knows its audience and this program overall tries to appeal to
fans, old and new, as well as encourage more fans to become involved. That limits it versus the Stamp series, but
makes for a worthy companion in a sport that has yet to catch on in The United
The 1.33 X 1 image is composed
of various film formats (black & white, color, 16mm, Super 8mm, 35mm, 8mm)
and analog video formats (PAL, SECAM, NTSC).
The result is not bad, but soft and there is slight smearing
throughout. It is no worse than some cable
networks broadcasting the games though.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has few surrounds and sometimes has
monophonic sound from earlier video and film clips that play back adequately. There are no extras, but FIFA – The Beautiful Century is a respectable special
interest sports title with plenty to offer.