Sports films have been a favorite of Disney for quite some time. Their movies span decades and focus on various sports and prominent figures. Furthermore, they may be moving or cringe-worthy, such as “The Big Green.” Sports biopics, in particular, are always a risk since they condense real-life people’s experiences into two hours or. However, when “Rise” emphasizes its strong casting and fluent speaking, this new Disney sports film is well worth your time.
“Rise,” which was executive produced by Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo, is the story of NBA star and his three brothers Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Kostas Antetokounmpo. The Greek-born brothers of Nigerian descent are the main characters in the film. They overcame their circumstances and difficulties to become sports phenoms and household names thanks to their family’s tenacity, commitment, and hard work. Real-life brothers Uche and Ral Agada play Giannis and Thanasis, respectively.
In 1990, the Antetokounmpo siblings’ story begins in Lagos, Nigeria. Their parents, Charles and Vera Antetokounmpo (Dayo Okeniyi and Yetide Badaki, respectively), make the heartbreaking decision to leave their home country for Greece, leaving their firstborn child behind with relatives.
Disney films frequently gloss over some of the more unpleasant aspects of human existence. However, despite the harsh conditions that the couple encounters in Africa, Akin Omotoso does not shy away from racism, xenophobia, humiliation, and all other obstacles they face. However, he never dwells on these sad aspects of the tale—this narrative is about family ties and a will to realize a practically impossible future.
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The Agada brothers do a decent job as beginners, and the film emphasizes events like Giannis’ birth in 1994 and a fateful moment in a park when he first became interested in basketball. The real game isn’t the main attraction here, unlike many sports films.
Instead, the Antetokounmpo family unit is the film’s real star. Their immigration status and financial constraints are addressed throughout the narrative, but they are always presented against a small yet warm backdrop. One of the most memorable aspects of this book is how it comments on things that are happening today. The first half focuses on two women, Aishah and Okeniyi, who were separated from their families in a raid by Boko Haram. They return to the village after years away to find it destroyed and lived in squalor with their.
Admittedly, “Rise” is nearly 120 minutes long. Although the audience already knows how it will end, some of the sequences with the family seeking for stability felt repetitive and the film would have benefited from a more concise edit. But Omotoso’s narrative concludes on the head. Omotoso connects archival footage from the 2013 NBA draft with movie material to create a strong sensation of tension as Giannis and his family anxiously wait to find out whether he will be selected or sent away to Spain, simultaneously revealing their immigration status to the rest of the world.
In the final sequence of the film, a Nike representative asks Giannis to explain why he stands out among all the other young men competing for opportunity. He tells us how, as a youngster living in Greece, he used to share gymnastic shoes with his older brother, hide from the police, and sleep on the gym floor. When audience members recall how Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis Antetokounmpon, and Kostas Antetokounmpo.
Josh RadnorMarley SheltonAuli’i Cravalho