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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The World at Their Feet - The Legendary Story of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team
The World at Their Feet - The Legendary Story of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team
Arts Alliance America // Unrated // July 12, 2005
List Price: $14.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Robert Spuhler | posted July 17, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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First off, a somewhat-anal correction: The World At Their Feet is subtitled "The Legendary Story of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team." The "U.S. Women's Soccer Team" still exists, of course. As long as the U.S. Soccer Federation continues to "support" women's soccer in America, there will be a team. The team that this video is referring to is the 1999 version of the squad.

A small error? Perhaps. But it illustrates the major problem with The World At Their Feet: This is a DVD without a market. Hardcore soccer fans will gleam no new information from the one hour presentation, while the zeitgeist that enthralled the casual sports fan (and even some sports haters) has long since passed.

Starting from the roots of the U.S. Women's National Team program in the 1980s, The World At Their Feet examines the growth of the sport and the individual players. The 1991 World Cup win, the disappointment of 1995, the redemption of 1996 and the incredible 1999 Women's World Cup are all chronicled here.

But there is so much to say about the development of women's soccer, and one hour is not enough time to say it. That's especially true when there are interviews with Bill and Hillary Clinton to squeeze in (the First Family followed the 1999 Cup, attending games in Washington, D.C. and Pasadena, Calif.), along with minute after minute of empty statements from soccer journalists about the "effects" that these women had on the sport. One of the easiest rules of film to remember is "Show, Don't Tell," and The World At Their Feet violates said rule at will.

In addition, there's precious little here for a true sports fan. The women bonding is nice, and it's amusing to hear defender Joy Faucett talk about how she managed to win championships and raise two children at the same time, but the hardcore sports fan wants goals, saves and slide tackles. We want to see the game, and we want people to talk about the game. What role did the team's offensive formation have in its success? How did it keep winning even when superstar Mia Hamm had an off night (for the record, those off nights often came during World Cups)? There's absolutely no effort here to explain any of that to us.

Finally, the selective memory of the disc is illuminating. There is no copyright date on the credits, so it is difficult to know when the documentary was actually finished, but it ends with a brief mention of the founding of the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) and the opening match in 2001. There is, however, no mention of the league's folding in 2003, nor the Women's World Cup disappointment that year as the rest of the world caught up with US head coach April Heinrich's outdated tactics.

But who needs balance when one's clear goal is 60 minutes of feel-good platitudes?

The DVD
Video/Audio:

The DVD transfer of The World At Their Feet is acceptable for what, essentially, feels like a television documentary. The archival footage shows the effects of time, but the recent interviews look fine. The picture has an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

The 2.0 stereo soundtrack is clean and clear, if underwhelming during the game footage. It is perfectly acceptable.

Extras:
Nothing at all, which is outlandish considering the age of the event portrayed. There are no highlight packages, no extra interview footage and no bios for the players.

Final Thoughts:
The 1999 Women's World Cup was one of the most exciting sporting events of the last decade. There may never again be a time in which so many people in America are so wrapped up in "the beautiful game." But The World At Their Feet fails in capturing that spirit or shedding any light on what made those three weeks so special. Wait for ESPN Classic to replay the final match against China, and skip this disc.
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