The ten part sports documentary “The Last Dance” is here and ready to ”slam dunk”. The American miniseries on which ESPN and Netflix have joined forces to realize, aired its’ first two episodes on April 19, 2020. On the 26th of April the series released its’ now fourth episode. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rate of 96% based on 26 reviews. We have Michael Jordan playing as himself as well as Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman.
The docuseries follows the 1990s’ Chicago Bulls with a main focus on Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman and their journey for the sixth NBA title in eight years. The main compelling aspect of this documentary is that a camera crew was granted an all-access pass to follow the Chicago Bulls which resulted in more than 500 hours of never-revealed footage to be used in ”The Last Dance”. The docuseries first episode shows that there already is tension between the teammates and the management especially Jerry Krause, the general manager of the Bulls. As we arrive to the fourth episode I realized that there are no serious disputes between the teammates, only support and understanding of each others’ personal problems and afflictions. That is exactly what the miniseries is all about: how hard it is to excel at something, how hard it is to keep your head in the game and how some people are underappreciated and underpaid. The transitions from one story to another happen gradually. They let a character introduce the problem or matter at hand and then someone else continuous all of it showered in an array of photos and videos from back then. It is helpful that the show illustrates the rewind on the chronological axis which goes back and forth on the timeline.
Even though it is mostly an informational gathering of footage and newly taken interviews it has that “je ne sais quoi”, of the make you want to see what happens next type. Every episode is rich in its’ own way they show the backstory of each of the main players: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman alongside their coach Phil Jackson. It is pretty amazing that they have a shot for every story told except the players’ childhoods. Michael Jordan is shown as the most competitive, the most emotionless player and yet in a leader figure because as they continuously repeat he was the very best. He immediately created a bond with Scottie Peppin and rapidly the duo took under their wing the hot-head Dennis Rodman. They all have unique powers when they play basketball and so it makes for a great cinematic analysis of their life and how management can interfere with the teams’ already impeccable flow. The miniseries shines a light on so far hidden truths about the workflow of the Chicago Bulls such as: disputes, dealing with fame, competitiveness, injuries, social niceties, relationships and success as well as failure. It is nice that they have a past-present approach it really clears the air for the players to explain why they did what they did. As we advance into the documentary you want to see what happens next, you feel as if you had created a bond with Jordan, Pippen and Rodman and you understand their own viewpoints. That is probably what Jason Hehir intended to do as the director of ”The Last Dance”.
It is all about the Chicago Bulls Dynasty which impressed the world on numerous accounts and you can get an in-depth look at these. Every episode seems to hold a surprising reveal of this basketball team. Most of us, grew up cherishing this team or learned about it and loved it from the start so as the action was happening then we couldn’t have gotten a broad outlook on things like in ”The Last Dance.” The players each have individual personality traits that make them unique and empowering, but first and foremost they have the most power as a team and The Last Dance definitely captures that and the relentless drive which helped Michael Jordan mobilize his team for victories, plural. The documentary really manages to get backstage not only in the basketball court but backstage Jordan, Pippen and Rodmans’ lives. It is an adventure to see their adventure on the big screens.