“ALL EYEZ ON ME” was a film that turned out to be mildly divisive among fans. Some loved it. Some said it was a little light in substance and could have gone deeper into the persona of Tupac Shakur. The film is now out on Blu-ray and offers a collection of special-features.
It includes eleven deleted scenes. A behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the film. A look at Demetrius Shipp Jr. and his mindset for getting into the role, complete with his audition reel. In addition to three round-table conversations with director Benny Boom, producer L.T. Hutton, and cast members as they discuss the process of telling the Tupac Shakur story, Tupac’s influence on the music industry, as well as his fashion and lasting influence overall.
First, let me give you my overall impressions of the film itself. I can see both sides of the criticism for this biopic. I did enjoy it and found Shipp Jr. to be captivating in his persona of Tupac. The progression of the story did seem to cover the major focal points of Shakur’s like and for that aspect it was a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Being a person who has seen many documentaries on Shakur, this film was excellent in serving as sort of a big-screen reenactment of well known events in Tupac’s like with small bits of filler here and there.
The material in the story however felt a little surface level to me. I was hoping this film would teach me more about who Tupac was. I wanted it to provide more insight as to what his thought process was but it didn’t really do so like it could have. I was entertained by this film but left the theater knowing nothing more about Tupac than I did when I went in.
This biopic tells you about this mans life but it doesn’t really dive into much more than what he heard on the news, read in newspapers, or heard from the lyrics in his music. So despite it not necessarily hitting me on an impactful level, I certainly did enjoy watching this movie. Those are my thoughts on the film, so let’s take a look into the special-features offered in this Blu-ray release.
There is a collection of eleven deleted scenes. Most are all very short and you can see why they were cut from the film as they do not add much substance to the scenes they were trimmed from. However some of them would have been nice to have in the final cut. Specifically the deleted scenes including Faith Evans, as well as one with Leila Steinberg. Both of these subplots or story angles if you will, felt slightly glossed over in the film, and these scenes (as short as they were) would have added a little more substance to them. Even though expanded dialogue beyond these short sequences would have better.
Legends Never Die – The Making of “All Eyez on Me”
This was a nice addition to the special-features. This featurette is close to thirty-minutes long and does a great job of going in-depth into the making of this film from a story aspect. It captures the detail taken into recreating Tupac for the film, and shows the passion from the filmmakers on the subject matter. The segment includes commentary from L.T. Hutton and Benny Boom as well as key cast members who all give their own insight into what they wanted their presence to add to the film.
There was a entertaining blend of film footage, behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews that add a lot of depth into what was done to not only create this film, but to make it as realistic as possible. We get to see the make-up and design team as they recreate the various looks of Tupac over the years covered and it was surprisingly intriguing to see the attention to detail. It naturally creates a stronger appreciation for the film from that aspect. It was a journey to get this movie developed and this featurette does a fantastic job of conveying that.
Becoming Tupac & Demetrius Shipp Jr. Audition Reel
I was surprised how entertaining these two segments turned out to be. Listening to Shipp Jr. recount his path to earning the role was enjoyable. It was intriguing to see the energy he had for the role and the respect he gave it. Through his re-telling of what he did to get the part you can clearly see he took it as something of privilege and it shows with his performance. The audition reel was interesting. It pulls you into the role of a casting agent as you watch Shipp Jr. read the lines with a stand-in and you can clearly see he was perfect for the role. I think strongest element of this biopic was his casting in the lead and this special-feature was great to watch as you can see immediately what the casting department saw when they knew they had their man.
“All Eyez on Me” Conversations
This feature of the Blu-ray was also another very in-depth one. It consists of three informal conversations with Boom, Hutton, and various headlining cast members. One segment covers the process of telling the Tupac story. Another reflects on the influence Tupac has had on the music industry. With the final one discussing the fashion of Tupac and his lasting impression overall.
These open forum discussions were very engaging as those involved went around and shared their thoughts. Hutton had a history with Tupac and listening to him go back and share his thoughts and viewpoints showed the passion he had for getting this film made. The dialogue was so insightful and it shows that all involved took the material seriously in regards to presenting Tupac in the right way. The conversations were so rich with substance and intimately shot, that you feel like you are sitting at the table listening to them talk about what Tupac meant to them. What their memories of him were, and what they wanted out of this movie and it was a great addition to the Blu-ray.
Overall I think this film has a solid collection of bonus material for the Blu-ray. If you did enjoy this film, or are a fan of Tupac, then you will like what they put together for this films disc release. I would have liked some old Tupac footage, and maybe a couple music videos to complete the package, but as it is there is enough here to add it to the home film library. The behind-the-scenes featurette and the collection of round-table conversations all give a lot of substance to the making of the film. Demetrius Shipp Jr. delivers a great deal of charm as he tells his back story, and being able to go back and see all this material at home, whenever you want, is certainly worth the purchase.