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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Sports > Soccer > FIFA - The Beautiful Century

FIFA – The Beautiful Century


Picture: C     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 States.


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.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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