Soul Power (2008)

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Released 6-Oct-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 88:36 (Case: 92)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jeffrey Levy-Hinte
Studio
Distributor
Antidote Films
Madman Entertainment
Starring Muhammad Ali
James Brown
Celia Cruz
B.B. King
Don King
Miriam Makeba
The Spinners
Bill Withers
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Titling Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Back in 2002 a documentary was released on DVD called When We Were Kings which told the amazing story of a world heavyweight boxing championship fight held in Zaire in 1974 between Muhammad Ali and the then world champion, George Foreman. At the time of the fight, which was delayed by many weeks, it was also planned to stage a large soul concert in Kinshasa, Zaire featuring many of the great soul performers of the day, both American and local African acts such as Miriam Makeba. This particular documentary (put together from 1974 footage in 2008) tells the story of the soul concert known as Zaire 74, including preparations, travel and problems with the timeframe due to the delay of the fight and local bureaucracy.

    The headline act was James Brown and other well known performers included B B King, The Spinners, Bill Withers, Lloyd Price, The Crusaders & Celia Cruz. This line-up was rounded out with local acts such as OK Jazz and Afrisa. The 'concert' was actually a three day festival with footage of all three days included here. The 88 minutes run time of this film includes probably no more than 15 or so minutes of actual concert footage. I have read that the maker of this documentary could not afford to license any more than this. The rest of the run time is behind the scenes footage, interviews with Muhammad Ali about how free he feels in Zaire or preparations for the concert such as building the stage and transporting the acts. This is a real shame because I would loved to have seen more of the music. The behind the scenes footage is interesting but it could have been a bit more organised and perhaps a voiceover or modern interviews with participants would have been a good addition.

    The music which is included is great and sounds excellent on this DVD. There is one live track by B B King, and three by James Brown (although all seemingly shortened rather than full). The Spinners also do a number and Miriam Makeba. Otherwise there are excerpts of the local acts and other American acts. It leaves you wanting more of the music (not in a good way). The footage of the concert is certainly well shot which just heightens the feeling that more would have been great.

    Overall, this is interesting and is worth seeing for fans of the artists or soul music, however it could have been so much more. Compared to the best concert documentaries such as Festival Express this one doesn't come up to standard which is a shame.

   

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good considering the age of the footage.

    The feature is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced widescreen.

    The picture was surprisingly clear and sharp throughout with some minor MPEG artefacts. There is film grain throughout ranging from light to quite noticeable in some scenes. The shadow detail is also surprisingly good.

    The colour was vibrant and well saturated although there was some bleeding here and there.

    There were no other obvious artefacts.

    There are automatic (although not forced or burned in) subtitles in English which translate the occasional French onstage dialogue only. There are no other subtitle streams.

    There is no layer change.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is very good.

    This DVD contains two audio track, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224Kb/s.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand although I think the initial recording quality of some of the incidental footage means that not all dialogue is completely audible.

    The music especially the in-concert footage sounds great with excellent immersiveness and good separation of instruments.

    The surround speakers were used for atmosphere and music and subwoofer added significant bass to the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The menu was still and includes funky music by James Brown. There are no extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is a Region 0 (Eureka) version of this disc available which includes the following in addition to our local release

    By comparison our local release only adds the 5.1 soundtrack, which probably would not make a huge difference. The Region 0 UK is the one to go for. The same company has also released this on Blu-ray.

Summary

    A 2008 documentary compiled from footage of a famous 1974 soul concert in Zaire.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio is very good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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