This is a story of raw talent and sheer determination. Jamal Woolard plays Christopher Jordan Wallace, aka "Biggie Smalls," a Brooklyn street hustler who became one of the greatest rappers of all time—The Notorious B.I.G.—refusing to succumb to expectations and redefining the notion of "The American Dream." The story uncovers the complicated relationships in the rapper's life—including protégé Kimberly "Lil' Kim" Jones, wife-and-R&B singer Faith Evans, and longtime friend-turned-rival Tupac Shakur—examining the struggle, music, and triumph of game-changer Christopher Wallace, who became one of the most celebrated hip-hop icons in history. (Gary Reber)
Special features include the unrated extended director's cut (128:58) and the R-rated theatrical version (122:57); commentary with Director George Tillman, Jr., Co-Screenwriters Reggie Rock Bythewood and Cheo Hodari Coker, and Editor Dirk Westervelt; commentary with Producer/Biggie's mom Voletta Wallace and Producer/Biggie's Co-Managers Wayne Barrow and Mark Pitts; Behind The Scenes: The Making Of Notorious (HD 27:22); I Got A Story To Tell: The Lyrics Of Biggie Smalls (HD 09:32); Notorious Thugs: Casting The Film (HD 09:05); Biggie Boot Camp (HD 06:48); Anatomy Of A B.I.G. Performance (HD 05:15); Party & Bulls**t (SD 03:43); The B.I.G. Three-Sixty—a 360-degree angle feature; 10 deleted scenes (HD 12:15); Bonus View—Life After Death: Making Notorious; up-front previews; BD-Live interactivity; plus a digital copy of the film.
The 1080p AVC picture is reference quality, with impressive resolution and natural color. Hues are warm and vivid and at times eye popping. Fleshtones are impressively accurate. Contrast is well balanced, with blacks that are deep and solid and shadow delineation that reveals fine shades of gray. The imagery is very sharp and pristine and exhibits impressive clarity. Fine facial features and hair are revealed, as well as textures in clothing and buildings. There are some incredible images, and the cinematography is wonderful. This is an impressive picture that is first rate and demonstrates just what high-definition is all about. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is well produced, with great fidelity and resolution, which reveals low-level sounds and instrumental timbres. The music, both orchestral and hip-hop, especially the rap, is finely recorded, with a solid bass beat and a dimensional presence. At times, the .1 LFE bass energy is strong below 25 Hz. The music is the essence of the surround envelopment, with occasional atmospheric sound effects. Dialogue mostly sounds nicely integrated spatially, but at times, is too forward. The major deficiency is that often the otherwise holosonic® soundfield collapses to monaural or to a stereo soundstage. Overall, this is a natural-sounding soundtrack that perfectly enhances the storytelling. (Gary Reber)