James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo's taut, engrossing 2004 documentary on Chinese basketball player Yao Ming's first year in the NBA offers insight into the game and its stars.
Should be a natural for NBA fans and please non-enthusiasts as well.
| Original Score: 3/4
As bright and shiny as you would imagine something co-produced by NBA Entertainment to be, The Year of the Yao provides little insight beyond hanging out with its super-sized star.
| Original Score: 2/5
[A] glorified infomercial.
There appears to be much more to Yao than is captured here. That's where the movie drops the ball.
| Original Score: C-
A surprisingly layered portrait of a rookie with the hopes of a nation -- a big nation -- riding on his shoulders, and the frustrations and small victories that entails.
Sure, it's fun to watch big-screen close-ups of Yao battling with O'Neal, though it feels like another ESPN special.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
There's not much else of interest going on.
| Original Score: 2/4
Win or lose, in an era of sports idols as rock stars, Yao is a breath of fresh air.
You don't have to be a hoops fanatic, or even a sports aficionado of any sort, to enjoy The Year of the Yao, slickly entertaining docu.
A skillful and winning piece of honest booster portraiture directed by James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo.
| Original Score: B+
Essentially a fluff job, designed to build a myth around their new icon, while leaving more sensitive issues like race, politics and money sitting on the bench.