11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
Reconstructions ruin nostalgia trip, 1 Jun. 2010
Ultimately I felt let down after seeing this. A lot of it is good, there is some great archive footage in addition to the stuff you'll see replayed every few years on TV. There are some good interviews from during Italia 90 with Bobby Robson and the players, some good footage of training sessions and players relaxing by the pool or playing golf. The scene is also quite nicely set against the backdrop of the so called hooligan problem which includes some enlightening interviews from the time with fans and police.
What ruined it for me mostly was that they felt the need to intersperse their footage with reconstructions of some of the incidents. As if the drama isn't compelling enough from watching action from the game we are subjected to watching close ups of actors legs as they mimic some of the action. It's almost like the director is trying to copy the 1986 FIFA film, Hero. Against Cameroon in the quarter final, Lineker is brought down for a penalty, but rather than see the actual footage the moment is poorly recreated by some actors! It's Baddiel and Skinner "Phoenix From the Flames" stuff. In the semi final, Chris Waddle hits a shot from near the halfway line which is tipped onto the bar by German keeper Bodo Illgner, at which point the action cuts to treat us to a replica ball hitting a replica post.
During the scenes of rioting on the streets it is felt that the viewer needs a close up reconstruction of a glass smashing on the ground and, just to be doubly sure we feel the aggression, there are some actors pretending to be hooligans waving their arms round and gesticulating. Oh and of course there are some actors pretending to be journalists rubbing their hands together in smoky rooms at their next evil plot. One even manages to spy at the door of a player (an actor) in bed with a woman we presume he shouldn't be.
If you can't quite grasp the tension that would have been felt watching the games at the time, then you will love watching some actors pretending to relive watching the action in a bar.
If only the reconstructed scenes weren't in it, it would be reasonable. The narration from Gary Oldman isn't bad but his script is pretty uninspiring.
There are some niggling errors in it too, the stuff that should have been easily spotted before it was released. For example the date of England's first game is given as 21st June which left me surprised the tournament started so late - until they gave the date of the second game as 16th June. Oh, and Lineker is spelt as "Linekar" on the back cover. Am I being picky? How was that not spotted?
"The definitive story of Italia 90"? Not a chance. It's not even the "inside story" it claims to be as there are only interviews from the time which were in the public domain. Don't expect any new insight. It's entertaining but only for the nostalgia; it could have been a lot better.