Why My Eyes Were Not On All Eyez on Me

By Jenise Jackson
Blog Content Contributor

Over the years, Biopics have been my favorite types of movies to watch. Maybe it is the history buff in me, but I love knowing about the lives people have lived and the key events that shaped them to be the person they are known to be. Hence the reason why I was so ready to see the new Tupac Shakur biopic, All Eyez on Me, this past weekend. I may have went into the theater with too high of expectations, especially since Tupac is considered by most as one of the greatest rappers of all time, but I was left a bit disappointed by the film. After enduring that production, it led me to start thinking, “What does it take to make a good biographical film these days?”

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I am sure everyone can appreciate how much Demetrius Shipp Jr. actually resembles the late Tupac. Photo via IMDb.com.

Of course I am just speaking off of pure opinion, and it actually pains me to make this statement, but All Eyez on Me felt like one of those biopics that Lifetime has released in the recent years. You know… the ones that probably should have never been released. Some would say it takes a talented director to make a good biopic, which I can wholeheartedly agree with. All Eyez on Me was directed by Benny Boom, mainly known for his music videos for 50 Cent, Nicki Minaj and other artists. Now I have to say that I love and respect plenty of work that Benny Boom has done, so I do not blame him for my disappointment. I cannot even blame the acting either; Demetrius Shipp Jr., who had the honor of playing the legendary Tupac, not only had an uncanny resemblance to the late rapper but he was not bad at all for a rookie. He is not on the ranks of Denzel Washington in Malcolm X, but his performance was one that I could appreciate. So where does the fault lie with this film? I would have to say with the screenwriters.

The director and actors were running off of a mediocre screenplay that did not fully tap into the story that most fans wanted to see. Tupac was and still is a public figure loved and appreciated by plenty of people. His life was messy, but we accepted and loved it. Tupac’s revolutionary spirit, intelligence and talent were not captured like they should have been. I know that all biopics do not get everything right and there are some things that are added for dramatic purposes, but you should at least be able to feel the authenticity of a person’s life when you watch the film and that was lacking with All Eyez on Me. Jada Pinkett Smith, who is depicted in the film, came out and said the film portrays inaccuracies in their friendship. Consequently, the film’s reputation was tarnished even more for me.

I can say that I have been spoiled by other biopics like Straight Outta Compton and Walk The Line. Movies like those, made me feel like I was getting the truth behind the legacy of the film’s subject. Tupac was an extraordinary individual, which is evident through the work he created during his lifetime. And for that reason, I have to argue that he deserved a better film than the one he received. For the nearly two hours and a half hours that I spent watching this film, I probably would have been better off watching old Tupac interviews and clips on Youtube or actually listening to the All Eyez on Me album.

Featured image by IMDb.com.

Asia Daggs

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