It's flawed. It would be very easy to see this documentary through rose tinted glasses and praise it to the hilt, but I came away from it wanting more of some parts of this incredible story of six young footy players, but also wanting less of other unnecessary distractions.
The story is a classic, no doubt. Love or hate Manchester United, the 98/99 season had most of Europe's footy supporters gripped on the antics of this old football club from an old industrial town in the north of England, both of which had looked to have long seen the best of their glory days come and go. Some wanted to see their opposition fail in achieving what even the pundits thought was impossible when the film's namesake began to make themselves known. Others wanted to see just how far this roller coaster ride could go and whether these young kids that seemed to dominate the back pages of the tabloids could live up to the hype.
The film mixes the on pitch dramas with the real life own accounts from all six players of life growing up with Manchester United, including very amusing recollections of how Scholes developed his devastatingly accurate passing on the training grounds and Sir Alex emptying a late night house party in seconds whilst looking for a young Ryan Giggs. There's also quite a heart felt piece from David Beckham and how he tried to cope with the lowest part of his career. Even now, well over a decade later, it's clear to see how close these six are not only as team mates but also as lifelong friends, coming to his defense of the criticism against him.
The problem is the film doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. One minute it's charting the first steps of their professional careers, then in the blink of an eye we're treated to a piece of on pitch action from much later on in their careers. As a fan, that's not much of a problem as what is shown from the on pitch escapades are all memorable moments from that era of the club. But for the neutral viewer, there is no clear cut time line. What you would think would be the natural culmination of their story, the 98/99 Treble winning season is told chronologically, but it's scattered into small sections that the film seems on occasion to randomly jump into. I would personally liked to have seen a much smoother progression through the timeline.
There are a few too many very strange contributions from ex Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Some very thinly disguised (and quite cringe worthy) comparisons to his own political ideas for Britain at the time, which just seemed completely unnecessary and very out of place for a film focusing on one of football's most dramatic stories.
The Man United fans will enjoy it for the interviews and the memories of the 6 grown men as they look back on their incredible journey into adulthood and sporting super stardom. But for anyone else, I can't see it having much appeal. There's probably too much in there that fans of some other clubs just won't want to remember, where as it's probably too focused on the 6 men who will only be heroes to those Man United fans who saw them play during that era for it to be of much appeal to the casual football fan.
This is main problem the film encounters. There just isn't enough for the neutral viewer. The club was much bigger than just those 6 lads and no more so was that true than of the Class of 92 era. The heroics of big Peter Schmeichel, the brutality and determination of Keano, the brilliance of King Eric, the Cole and Yorke strike partnership, the managerial mind games, the relentless late comebacks from being behind in a match but to name a few are all either missing, or are unfortunately a blink and you'll miss it affair. Perhaps the biggest issue that I have with the film is the lack of material from their biggest influence, Sir Alex Ferguson. The little of him that there is totals probably less than a minute of material. It's a shame as together they were all instrumental elements in getting these 6 young players names into the football history books.
I enjoyed it as a Man United fan, enjoying the trip down memory lane and listening to the players tell their story was both interesting and amusing. But unless you are a fan and want to see your boyhood heroes together again one more time talking about old times and what it meant for them, there isn't really much here that isn't already documented just as well, if not better in many other club DVD's and online fan videos.
3/10 for the none fans.
6.5/10 for the fans.