Review: The Last Dance

Review: The Last Dance

The wildly popular and Emmy award-winning ESPN documentary over Michael Jordan’s legendary tenure with the Chicago Bulls, known as The Last Dance, had the internet buzzing with excitement throughout quarantine this year. This documentary started when Michael was a young student at North Carolina, leading all the way up to his final season on the Chicago Bulls in the year 1998. The documentary detailed episodes based on his teammates throughout the years, including Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Steve Kerr and their journeys to becoming one of the greatest basketball dynasties of all time. The Last Dance really gave a new insight for the younger audience who grew up watching LeBron James and Stephen Curry on just how spectacular Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were throughout the 90s. 

The Last Dance included never before seen footage of what was going on behind the scenes of the Chicago Bulls, including Michael and his teammates’ actions in the locker room, at the practice facility, and more! This allows the audience to get a true sense and understanding of the work ethic and environment that surrounded this team throughout the 90s. After an interview with one of the former players, oftentimes they would pull this unseen footage out and show how the players would act in their natural environment, which was very interesting to watch. The use of this raw footage allowed the viewers to get a sneak peek into what these players were truly acting like as they were at their highest points and also their lowest, which really captivated viewers. After watching The Last Dance Erin Evans remembered just how dominant the Chicago Bulls were and how much they cared about winning. 

“I found the footage interesting, because Jordan made playing basketball look so easy, but behind the scenes showed how hard he worked and how competitive he was,” Evans said.

Another excellent feature of The Last Dance documentary was the cinematography, including the sounds of the arena, the specific exciting moments of the NBA games that they used, and the emotions that they were able to capture on the players’ faces after legendary moments. Before a Michael Jordan shot or steal, the music became more dramatic, the shots would be in slow motion, and the viewers were able to feel the suspense build until finally a swoosh of the net could be heard. Even for non-Bulls fans, the cinematography built up lots of excitement in the viewer and really conveyed just how amazing the Chicago Bulls were in their prime. 

Bill Evans was a huge sports fan throughout the 90s, and even though he knew the outcomes of the documentary, he was still left in anticipation of what would happen next. “The best thing about The Last Dance series was how they built up the suspense throughout the 10 nights even though I already knew the results. Would they win the sixth title? Would Michael retire? Would Pippen leave? I already knew the answers and what had happened, but they built up the suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat,” Evans said.

Finally, the use of clips from interviews with former teammates and Hall of Fame opponents being asked questions about Michael Jordan was extremely interesting. The documentary would interview an opponent of Jordan’s then cut back to Michael reacting to what they said about him, which added a funny and interesting twist to the documentary’s episodes. It showed the true competitive spirit of Jordan and also conveyed to the viewers his thoughts on his former opponents. Many times he would give a prideful answer, which showed his true personality and his “win at any cost necessary” attitude. 

Alejandro Rivera ‘22 grew up in the 2000s, but throughout the series he was fascinated by how many Hall of Famers Jordan had to play against through the use of the interviews. 

“My favorite part was seeing the different sides of the Bull’s dynasty being told from his greatest opponents and seeing their side of the story as well” Rivera said.

Overall, The Last Dance is a must watch documentary, and gives a totally new perspective on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, especially for the younger audience of sports. The behind the scenes footage gave a whole new perspective for the viewers on how hard the players worked and their different personalities off of court, which many fans enjoyed. The cinematography allowed the viewers to totally immerse themselves in the events that they watched and made viewers want to jump up and cheer for the Bulls. Finally, the use of interviews from former opponents and showing Michael’s reaction gave a totally new insight on his personality and how he took even the slightest disrespect personally. Alejandro Rivera loved the documentary, however LeBron James remains his favorite player. 

“Even though Michael Jordan was a great player, I still think that LeBron is better, and I hope Michael Jordan doesn’t take that too personally, because I did love the documentary,” Rivera said.