“All Eyez On Me” opened nationwide yesterday, on what would have been the 46th birthday of the late Tupac Shakur, to mixed critical reviews – with many being negative. After attending the Philly screening on Thursday night, observing the theater audience, and speaking with several MMT subscribers afterwards, it was clear that this would be one of those films where you’d see a huge difference in critic vs. audience response – an example of which is highlighted by the aggregate score website Rotten Tomatoes, where the film currently has a 24% rotten score by critics and 71% like by audiences.
The film chronicles the rise of the late rapper/actor, along with his many challenges, and his untimely death at the age of 25. Demetrius Shipp Jr. makes his acting début as Tupac, with a haunting resemblance, and was spot on with his mannerisms – there are several double take moments in the film, especially the music performance scenes.
Another actor prompting a double take moment was Jarrett Ellis, with his uncanny vocal likeness to the legendary Snoop Dogg and the film also marking his first big screen appearance.
While I enjoyed some of the performances, and thought the story was entertaining, I was let down with the first act of the film – which I felt was extremely rushed.
Eddie Gonzalez, who wrote the screenplay along with Jeremy Haft (Empire), expressed that they wanted “to focus on what made Tupac the man he became and (show) his turbulent childhood and adolescence.” However, I don’t believe the film allowed the audience enough time to connect with Tupac’s younger years, nor empathize with what contributed to the complex nature of his character.
I think director, and Philly native, Benny Boom’s (S.W.A.T., Firefight, Next Day Air) aspirations to humanize Tupac – who has taken on an almost deity status for many fans since his death – and portray him as a cautionary tale would have worked better had that time allotment been made.
Also, as a Black woman who enjoyed some of Tupac’s music, including songs like “Keep Ya Head Up” and “Dear Mama,” yet had a hard time reconciling that with his misogynistic actions, I didn’t walk away with a better understanding of how that duality of his came to exist.
Regardless, I don’t believe “All Eyez On Me” is the disaster that some critics are claiming, but rather has unfortunately come behind the heels of the highly successful, and extremely well done, 2015 F. Gary Gray vehicle “Straight Outta Compton” – so there are unfair comparisons being made.
I’d love to know what you think about this one MMT Fam, so leave some thoughts in the comments, and thanks to the many subscribers who stopped me after the advance screening to share.
Until next thought, Thomasena
Tupac’s music came along at a time when I was into or had previously been exposed to rappers like LL cool J, MC Shan, The Bridge, KRS One, Scott La Rock and so many more. My opinion is that Tupac was one of the original pioneers of the categorized music called gangsta rap. He had it and for us all that enjoyed that culture and its music he had us. The movie didn’t capture that for me. I enjoyed it because I lived through it, I remembered it and I enjoyed his songs. The movie just wasn’t hard enough.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for sharing Toney. The nostalgic element contributed a lot to my enjoyment as well.
Prior to watching the new Tupac film “AEOM”, I had some insight on his life, career and rivalries. However, I expected to get an in depth storytelling about Tupac, ex…the riff with Biggie and his friendship with Jada. Unfortunately, after watching “AEOM” still not clear about the above.
Overall, I enjoyed the film and glad to see one was finally made about Pac, someone who was toally misunderstood! But I guess with time constraints and money to make this movie, all could not be told in depth….just sayin
Thanks again for giving me an opportunity to be amongst the first to see it in Philly! ☺
LikeLiked by 1 person
I hear you CJ and glad you were able to come out!
AEOM was a very interesting movie for many. However, for me I took away exactly what was given. There was nothing added nor deleted or over exaggerated about his life. I did not know what to expect and I am glad that the writers stayed true to his life.
Could they have elaborated more on his childhood? maybe but in today’s world we have seen it all already. I mean how many people mom’s aunt’s sister’s friend’s etc got strung out of crack. Furthermore, the Black Panther Era I thought they would have went into a little more detail but I remembered that was his mother’s life not his. So I understood why some of the scenes were so brief and or cut short. Dear Mama is one of my favorite songs and the movie set the stage for the song to play exactly when it did. I knew it was coming when his mother got out of rehab. Though they did not show it they did show that part of him and his mother talking.
As far as Jada, I really do not think there was much to tell there or with Faith. I mean Society blew a lot of things out of proportion with a lot of things with Biggie and Tupac. Some I really do not think was true while others I do. I do think there may have been a small beef with them over Faith but I believe it was squashed timely, but society keep fueling the fire.
The one thing I was able to take away from this movie was the fact that Suga peoples disliked Tupac. That was something I did not know at the time of his death and made a lot of sense to me as to why his killer or killers have yet to be caught. If Suga crew did in fact kill Tupac, that is why Suga has never said anything because his crew has just as much on him as he may have thought he had on them. I have always felt that Suga killed Tupac.
I think the movie was great especially the music. However, it was true to the interview that Tupac gave. So I could not ask for anything more.
Glad you were satisfied Terasa, and you’re not alone according to some comments I’ve read. There wasn’t one interview the movie was solely based, there were individuals from his life consulted. However, I don’t believe the film established abutting outside of what was readily available with a Google search – and an internet search wouldn’t encompass any of our lives! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and glad you enjoyed the movie.