Yes... I fully realize that the ESPN 30 for 30 film Nature Boy has been out for several weeks now, and that virtually everyone else in the industry has already weighed in on it. But I finally caught the film this past weekend, and figured I had to put my two cents in as well.
I'll begin by saying that Nature Boy wasn't exactly what I expected it to be. Not that that's a bad thing -- not at all -- but a lifetime of watching WWE documentaries prepares you for a certain style of storytelling, and anything that deviates from that formula can be a little jarring to one's system.
Instead, the film focuses on modern-era (or at least, pre-surgery) Ric Flair sitting on a chair in a ring, discussing his career with Rory Karpf. For someone who has participated in thousands of interviews and written not one but two autobiographies, Flair appears to be more honest and candid than he's ever been before. Sure, the trademark Slick Ric cockiness is still very much a part of him, but he appears to be much more remorseful for having led the Ric Flair lifestyle for so many years, especially given all the people it has affected.
In discussing his early career (really, up until the mid-1980s), animations are used to illustrate different milestones and events. And kudos to the animators for getting even the tiniest of details correct, from the way Flair would have looked when he entered Verne Gagne's camp to a younger, pre-Bells Palsy Jim Ross sitting in the bar while Flair danced in the aisles.
A wide variety of interviews took place for this documentary and again, Karpf goes well beyond the typically WWE fare. In addition to comments from Jim Ross, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Baby Doll, Jim Cornette, Hulk Hogan, Sting, Greg Gagne, Stephanie McMahon and Ricky Steamboat (most of which are present in several WWE documentaries), they also interviewed Flair's first wife Leslie Jacobs, all three of his surviving children, current fiancee Wendy Barlow and celebrities including Snoop Dogg, Chael Sonnen, Michelle Beadle and Maria Menounos.