I came into ATL with pretty low expectations; I can honestly say I had absolutely no idea what it was about. The most I had heard was, "Yah, that ATL movie, isn't it a gangsta movie or something?" Well, I was surprised. I actually enjoyed it. I know, I know, don't get mad at me, I guess I shouldn't say I enjoyed it...I didn't mind it. It was a decent movie that kept me entertained the entire way through.
ATL focuses on a group of 4 friends who are trying to make the journey from boyhood to manhood, each in their own way. ATL is loosely based on the life of Producer Dallas Austin and his friends at a skating rink in Atlanta, where the Atlanta music scene first started. Rashad (Tip Harris) acts as the father figure to his brother Antwone (Evan Ross). Rashad is a good kid who learned to grow up quickly after his parents died. Antowne, however, struggles to become a man because his character continues to get in trouble throughout the movie. The other two friends are Esquire (Jackie Long), and Brooklyn (Albert Daniels). Esquire is the smart one of the bunch who is trying to escape the 'bad' side of town and get into an Ivy League school. Brooklyn on the other hand can't seem to hold a job to save his life.
Now remember, this movie does focus on roller-skating. Rashad's group is known as "The Ones." There are also the "Warriors," "DoLo Girls," "Preps," and "Get Money Crew." Rashad and his buddies are certain they are going to win the Skate Wars this year while competing at Cascade (the local roller-skating hangout). This is where it gets a little confusing with the story line.
We start getting pulled into side stories from the whole group. Rashad finds love with an uptown girl. Antwone gets in trouble with some drug dealers. Esquire begins to feel that maybe he is someone that he is not, and Brooklyn, well he gets fired some more. As we continue to see these stories unfold, we get thrown some humor, some romance. Oh, did I mention we get Marcus (Big Boi from Outkast) as the bad guy in the movie to add some violence. Just enough variety to satisfy all.
Well, I have to say, a very impressive release from Warner. The colors are bright and vibrant, except when we get to some of the roller-skating scenes we get quite a bit of graininess. The blacks are very rich and make for a very nice transfer. To wrap it up we are presented with a 1080p 16x9 image. All together, a good looking movie.
We get a pretty good Dolby Digital 5.1 Track. The bass in the movie is a little overpowering at times when we should pay attention to dialogue but are unable to. I also found I missed a little bit of dialogue with it being a little quiet at times. Other then that it has a good all around track with a decent soundtrack...if you are into rap.
In the Rink: A Directors Journey:
This extra is pretty much the only extra you are going to find on this disc. It actually is quite good. First time Film Director Chris Robinson is used to making music videos and puts together this feature about well, everything. He talks about the cast, the crew, scouting locations in Atlanta, shooting details, skating choreography, camera movements, and his transition to film from music videos. This feature could have probably been split up into 5 or 6 different 5-minute videos to make it more entertaining.
Deleted Scenes (We get about 5 deleted scenes that don't really mean much to the story).
Music Video (A music video from none other then T.I himself).
ATL isn't all there. We get some really nice camera movements especially in combination with some pretty good choreography. All in all, it's boy meets girl, boy likes girl, things happen to people, and boy gets girl. Put that together with a very good video transfer and a nice audio track, you got yourselves a good rental. Go rent this one before you put it in your collection.