First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to a true legend and revolutionary. Tupac would be 46 years old. It's really hard to believe that he only got to reach the age of 25 and was able to create so much in such a short time!
I just came home from watching ALL EYEZ ON ME, the first official screening. I went into the movie with an open and positive mindset. I was very skeptical for most of the time but toward its release I was able to get myself excited. I mean, it's TUPAC who is in my eyes the greatest artist to ever set foot on this planet! When I first heard that a movie about Tupac was being made, I wasn't happy about that. Then I heard that they at least got John Singleton who personally knew Pac and directed Poetic Justice, to direct the movie with full blessing by Afeni Shakur which of course means a lot. Unfortunately the studio and Singleton didn't see eye to eye and as John Singleton wouldn't have been able to use his own vision for the movie he stepped out of the project. So long story short, Benny Boom (known as a Music Video Director) was chosen to direct. This got me really upset (no offense to Benny Boom). Since it is a Biopic about unarguably one of the greatest of all times, I was hoping they would let an accomplished director with more credit take on the role to direct. Also, a look at the writers of the movie will undoubtedly make even people who don't know a thing or two about writing skeptic. And as for the producers, yes they are successful, but not the type of successful you'd hope for such a project.
So there I was, in the movie theater to see the movie. It starts off with Tupac reflecting on his life as he is being interviewed in Jail. A few minutes into the story you realize that the movie feels a little rushed as it jumps from one time line to the next and a lot of information is being skipped. This happens throughout the whole movie as Tupac his story is simply larger than life and can't simply be thrown into a single two hour long movie. Maybe this would work with the right people involved and the film itself would have to be at least three hours long. In their defense however, it is really hard to get such a movie done and they did put in a lot of effort to get it right. The actors, or most of them, have done a good job at portraying their characters. Demetrius Shipp Jr. gave his best and you can see that he respects Tupac and wanted to be as authentic as possible. However, you can see that at some moments things felt weird which I believe has to do with the directing of the film. I liked that Tupac his mother Afeni was portrayed as a strong revolutionary member of the Black Panther party and shown what she had to go through dealing with the FBI. The second act felt rushed as well, however it was entertaining and fun at the same time. Yet this is where they could have added so much more information into this film. Throughout the film one gets the feeling that the only person Pac really cared about or knew was Jada, Kidada and his mother. What about all his other friendships such as the one he had with Madonna, Mick O'Rourke and Mike Tyson? Also the movie makes it seem as if Tupac and Snoop Dogg barely knew or even liked each other. So a lot was completely off and felt empty to say the least.
I assume that most people who go to see this movie are mostly excited for the third act, hoping to find new revelations about what really happened on the night of the shooting on the 7th of September 1997 (has anybody even thought about the number 7 while making this movie?). Those people would quickly be disappointed as the third act felt the most rushed of them all and the only time the film slowed down for a moment was after Kidada and Pac saw each other for the last time ,which was nicely done but even here some elements of the story went missing (it wasn't mentioned that she wanted Pac to wear a bulletproof vest, which he insisted wouldn't be necessary. What about the OUTLAWZ? They only appeared briefly in the movie, were barely mentioned nor did they even explore the importance of this group created by Tupac. And from all the poetry Tupac has written, the only time we get a glimpse of his life as a Poet is when he reads his poem to Jada Pinkett Smith (which gave me goosebumps as I grew up reading all of his poems over and over again). Another big issue with this film was the ending, but maybe I should leave that up to you whether or not it was well done or needed something else.
Tupac deserves better than a scrambled up two hour long film (that mostly feels like a low-budget movie). However I hope that when people go to see this movie, they leave the theater having a good picture of Tupac Shakur and see him as the legend he is. And I truly hope that young kids who want to become artists, rappers or producers respect Hip Hop and will work on staying true to themselves, especially since Hip Hop is so badly represented these days.
I personally would recommend everybody to go see this movie, at least for educational purposes such as in to form your own opinion, to maybe gain one or two more insights into his life and simply see why he was loved... or even hated by some (who simply never understood what he stood for).