Disc 1 features a couple of bona-fide documentaries plus a host of other features, the most interesting being the footage of his first three F1 tests - footage which as far as I am aware hasn't been seen to this extent before. It's fascinating hearing a young Senna stating that he seriously doubts he would take an offer from these teams, because the contracts they were offering weren't good enough!! Like someone offers you an F1 drive everyday...
The Honda NSX test is kinda nice to watch if you just can't get enough footage of the man, but it's of poor quality, the Foundation feature gives a good insight into the work the Foundation does (but you'll never watch it more than once) plus there's a very nice 50 picture gallery and the 19 minute "Music And Image Impression" thing, which despite the mystical images that conjures up in your brain, on viewing you'll allow yourself to retitle "Boring Williams Test Session With Appalling Music Overdubbed"
Now then, the two main features of Disc 1:
The Lifestyle Of Ayrton Senna In Brazil: It's interesting to see the man at rest but unfortunately you hardly see any footage of him actually "at work" to truly give this feature any context. It could be anyone with some money to throw around showing you his expensive toys. Don't get me wrong, it's still great seeing Senna at home - and there's tons of candid interview footage here - but it would have been nice if the rest of the set had more footage of him at the track, being less than calm and relaxed.
The main feature: The Right To Win.
This has had massive publicity recently, unfortunately the best footage has already been aired on myriad TV shows as a "sneak preview" of the DVD. I'd already seen much of the interviews with Prost, Berger, Williams, Hill, etc. The bulk of the feature is taken up with Senna's sister talking a lot about the Foundation again - reinforcing the viewpoint that perhaps too much of this focuses on the Foundation, instead of the man, who IS the subject of the DVD.
The inside sleeve does however boast "The uncut long version" is coming in Autumn 2004. An exercise to extract money from fans who want to see the interviews uncut? You decide. I have read the uncut Prost interview as printed in Autosport and it's awesome, so that could be worth waiting for, however cynical an almost "re-release" is just months after the original DVD.
What must be mentioned here are the grotesque technical issues with this particular feature. There are frequent interviews in languages other than English. Now then, 99.9% of DVD's automatically kick-in the English subtitles at this point - but not this DVD ! You basically either have to switch on the subtitles at the very start, which means that the whole feature is subtitled which distracts you a great deal, or every time a non-English speaker talks you have to quickly turn the subtitles on manually. This of course detracts from any emotion from the interviewee as you frantically scrabble with the remote control !!!
The other issue I have is with the editing. There's a few strange bits, the most notable being one occasion where Senna's sister is simply cut off mid-sentence with no explanation whatsoever and at one point as she fades out Damon Hill suddenly comes in half-way through his own sentence - yet if you have the subtitles on it prints his full sentence even though you don't hear him speak it all !!!
Completely inexcusable in any circumstances, but especially given the fanfare surrounding the release of the DVD. They really must iron out these ridiculous errors before the Autumn re-release/special edition/money maker/whatever you'd like to call it.
Lastly on Disc 2 we have Racing Is In My Blood. This is a previous VHS release which suffers the fate of all early 1990's motorsport videos, which is tacky music, crap presentation, horrible on screen graphics etc. Looks a bit like a company presentation video. It's of good interest though, especially to the first time viewer, but instead of being the original release it now has a new voiceover, a strange decision but perhaps to keep the package linear by having the same person doing the voiceover on all of the features.
And who is the voiceover? Why the great Ben Edwards of course. Ben has previously been commentator on F1 and CART for Eurosport and currently BTCC on ITV. He's the best commentator in the world alongside Jeremy Shaw in my opinion, for his amazing knowledge and absolutely unbridled enthusiasm and energy (and is the man who SHOULD be standing next to Martin Brundle on ITV-F1), it was a great pleasure to hear Ben doing the voiceover on this DVD and I'm pleased he got the gig.
The DVD package as a whole doesn't quite have the emotion or story telling aspect of the old VHS "A Star Named Ayrton Senna" and the whole thing seems to be botched together (and pretty quickly) but it's nice to have all of these features in one place at last and you certainly can't fault the price for over 3 hours of material. It's just a pity that it's not the emotional tribute of the great man we were expecting. More of a collection of various footage thrown together alongside a few minutes of interviews with various F1 people talking a load of fluff, and a lot of material of his sister talking about the Foundation.
"The Right To Win" lasts 52 minutes in this incarnation; the Autumn release will really have to be about 2 hours long to make it worth buying another copy. Please buy this if you're a Senna fan, just make sure you get "A Star Named Ayrton Senna" as well - from which loads of this footage is nicked !!
The talking-heads in the first film, 'Right To win' - Senna's brother, sister and several of his partners, trainers and mechanics are Brazillian. I would've been very interested to hear what these people had to say - unfortunately, I don't speak Portugese and the directors have neither subtitled their words nor voiced over them.
Both disks have an 80's feel to them (this DVD was put together last year, although two of the films are several years old) and menu's and extras are quite poor, a lot of the narration is similarly OTT but the fact is that if you are Senna-mad, you'll find a lot of it fascinating, if not wholely original. It has a great deal of the man talking 'on' and 'off' camera, about his life, racing, emotions and why he always had that bit extra. There is not enough covering the infamous Imola weekend but you will still be happy to see so much of Senna and his peers - many of whom (regardless of conflict with him during his life) speak of Ayrton (rightly!!) in very hallowed terms.
There is nothing of the 'who was greatest' question, aside from private observations from Ron Dennis and Frank Williams that it was undoubtedly Senna. Put simply, if you are a fan you'll enjoy the little gems - First win at Estoril, Donnington 1993 and the sheer amount of 'interview footage', if not then this might not be the best introduction to the life of Ayrton Senna de Silva.
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