Notorious B.I.G. has become a legend after leaping to the top of the rap scene with the help of P-Diddy, or whatever he's calling himself these days, and then being murdered by an unknown gunman before his second album could be released.
Some fifteen days after he was murdered that double album was released, it hit the number one spot, and three years later the album was certified as diamond in terms of sales, one million copies.
While his murder remains a mystery, his life has been chronicled in a film about the man, called Notorious, and here follows the review of the Blu-ray offering of the film.
Choice of Theatrical or Extended Director's Cut Version
See the DVD review of the film, but I have to say that second time watching revealed just how much style there is in the film, it's dripping from just about every scene, mainly from the performance and scored scenes.
From the opening shots the difference that the Blu-ray high definition makes. The reflections in the water on the road as the cars drive to that fateful red light and the reflection of the face and the gunshot smoke in Small's shades. There's a lot more detail and depth to the picture and the dark levels are handled a lot better than on DVD, the whole picture experience looks a lot richer.
The audio is stronger than the DVD version, although it isn't as obvious as with the picture differences. It is certainly bolder and to be honest that isn't shown anywhere better than the audio track on the opening menu where the bass is much crisper and tangible. That continues through the film but you're drawn more into the story and forget to listen to the track in isolation.
Menu, Behind the Scenes: The Making of Notorious, I Got a Story to Tell: The Lyrics of Biggie Smalls, Notorious Thugs: Casting the Film, Biggie Boot Camp, Anatomy of a B.I.G. Performance, Party and Bullshit, Deleted Scenes, The B.I.G. Three-Sixty
The extras are all carried forward from the DVD, even the deleted scenes are the same, again see that review for all featurettes mentioned above. However there is one extra addition to the Blu-ray.
The B.I.G. Three-Sixty:
Nice extra that has a three-sixty degree photography allowing you to spin round on the crossroads where the final scene was filmed and select spots to see short excerpts from the filming that evening interviewing the director, writers, effects team and also Small's manager about the story and the real life events. Not too innovative, but it provides additional footage over and above the DVD extras.
It's a little disappointing that there isn't much more from the DVD offering, although the high definition audio track is very welcome and boosts up some of the soundtrack moments and most definitely the menu music track, as well as adding plenty to the picture. It is worth noting that you can watch both the theatrical and the Director's Extended Cut on the Blu-ray, something you can't do on the DVD.
However there was an opportunity to do so much more, tie in with the music of the man, his videos, hear the complete soundtrack to the film, allow you to buy and download the tracks from online, see more of the real life events, etc.
Still, with a strong film and a great music score throughout, it's a good Blu-ray to consider buying, especially as the film is well done and engaging with some strong moral messages tucked inside the story.