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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Nowitzki: The Perfect Shot (Blu-ray)
Nowitzki: The Perfect Shot (Blu-ray)
Magnolia Home Entertainment // Unrated // September 29, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted October 22, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

It seems like there is a story attached to every professional athlete who has captured the superstardom in their area of expertise, a story that is worth experiencing if for nothing else to see the hard work and background of that athlete. Perhaps the goal in that for the viewer is some sort of kinship in that, so as to say ‘if they can make it, then I can.' The increasing number of European stars in North American sports makes the dearth of stories to choose from more intriguing, and in The Perfect Shot, we get to see one from one of the most successful to date, Dallas Mavericks player Dirk Nowitzki.

Filmed by Sebastian Dehnhardt, The Perfect Shot explores Nowitzki's roots in Germany, his training and unique mentorship under German basketball player Holger Geschwindner, and his entry into the National Basketball Association for the Mavericks. It shows his slow start but rapid acclimation to the game, up to and including winning the NBA Championship. Filmed over a two year period beginning in 2012, the film includes interviews with Nowitzki and his family. His mother and sister were accomplished basketball players in their own right, their father was a national champion in handball. They share their thoughts on Dirk growing up and in some of the moments in his life, while Dirk shares his thoughts also, most of which in his native German for the German production. Dirk's peers such as Yao Ming and Kobe Bryant talk about Dirk the player, as do current and former Mavericks teammates, and owner Mark Cuban chimes in as well.

While the assumption that The Perfect Shot is a documentary about Nowitzki's life and rise to success is accurate, it isn't a completely correct one, as the film looks at the friendship that Nowitzki and Geschwinder have had that includes their numerous training sessions and almost endless amounts of hoop-shooting. Geschwinder explores the science, the angles of basketball and uses that as part of Nowitzki's training to an extent. There was small conflict initially between the Mavericks and Geschwinder's involvement with Nowitzki, but they seemed to have agreed to some sort of resolution that if it does not impede Nowitzki's performance, don't fix what ain't broke. Even though he was thousands of miles away when Nowitzki won the Championship in 2011 along with the Most Valuable Player, those honors are shown in Geschwinder's proud face, applauding with many other Germans the tall young kid from Bavaria who grew into the next icon of German sports.

The film does not attempt to gloss over any warts that Nowitzki may have experienced in his life; a relationship with an ex-fiancee is recounted and Dirk talks about how it hurt him, his growing pains as a pro basketball player are shown, but also, his growing pains as a young German kid trying to get used to Texas are shown. These are recounted with various obligatory moments of dramatic music, but in the case of the latter, a team employee served as his caretaker of sorts until he was able to find his footing on his own.

A minor qualm to pick about these moments is that for the most part, they don't seem to be told as completely as they should be. Sure, playing your first year or two in the bigs is tough, but the story with the team employee seems to be either a paint by numbers one or one that most any international player could strike up. And granted, the ex-fiancee story may still tread on tender emotions, but why bring it up if you're not going to discuss it as openly as you could? It seems like Dirk wants to have his streusel and eat it too in this regard.

Ultimately, The Perfect Shot will be remembered for what it is rather than isn't, and the film is a nice look at this player who was not sure how he wanted to use this gift a teacher was giving him. Once he understood it, the road to greatness seemed predetermined, and the story, while not markedly different than a few others, is a nice one to sit through for someone who was unfamiliar with it as I was.

The Blu-ray:
The Video:

Magnolia graces The Perfect Shot with an AVC-encoded 1.85:1 transfer and the results are pretty good. The feature goes through a variety of old television sources which are maintained in their original aspect ratio, and newer interviews include faithful color reproduction. There are moments of haloing and the image looks a little soft, but otherwise this is a workmanlike Blu-ray devoid of any gripes.

The Sound:

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack was a nice inclusion to have, even if there was not too much to glean from it. As the film is an interview-driven piece, dialogue sounds consistent throughout, and when music does get the opportunity to involve the other channels, it does so effectively, even getting to involve the subwoofer on occasion. Channel panning and directional effects are seldom, but are present, a surprise considering the source. Things sound good.

Extras:

Eight deleted scenes (35:08) look more and the friends and family of Nowitzki, along with his work as a television pitchman and figure for activities/charitable endeavors in Dallas. Dirk also holds court in an interview (12:56) where he shares his thoughts on the film and some of the interview subjects in it. There is also a trailer (1:51) if you'd like one.

Final Thoughts:

To the credit of those involved with the storytelling, The Perfect Shot is less a paint by numbers piece on Dirk Nowitzki and sticks a toe in the water of the dynamic with him and his mentor, making it an interesting watch in and of itself. Technically, the disc is fine and from a bonus material perspective, could use a tiny bit more. But if you are a fan of sports figures such as Nowitzki, The Perfect Shot is worth checking out.

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