Blu-Ray Review: 42

42brpackWarner Brothers and Legendary Pictures “42” Blu-ray Combo Pack is hitting the shelves ready for fans of baseball and Americana to live through history.  “42” is the true story of Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) as he signed his society changing deal with the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers and owner Brad Rickey (Harrison Ford) making him the first African American to play in Major League Basbeball.

I would provide an entire movie review of sensational film; however I am here to review the DVD more or less.  “42” is though a magnificent film that captures the look and feel a period baseball film should.  As with most biographies there are sensational pieces to give a romanticized vision of era and what really took place.  Luckily, writer and director Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Man of Fire) still delivers what is important to the story.

The Jackie Robinson Story, as is tag-lined, is about how he overcame the “color barrier” in Major League Baseball by not putting up a fight but rather prove that he deserves a place just as any other man does.  As Robinson’s teammate Pee Wee (Lucas Black) states at a game in Cincinnati “Maybe tomorrow we will all wear 42 that way they won’t tell us apart”, his wish will eventually be granted.

The movie does have a great look with those warm tones and sepia tint giving a sense of something from the past.  The attention of detail is highly noted in which I will cover in the special features notes.  Helgeland allows the audience to really feel transported to the time and place where segregation was still very real and racism was still rampant.  Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman along with many of his fellow baseball players give magnificent portrayals as well as successfully bridge the gap from watching an actor playing a character to just watching a character.

“42” isn’t anything visionary, but instead a true dedication to this man’s triumph.  The moral sense and accomplishment against segregation Jackie Robinson achieves is portrayed well.  This is a film for anyone that isn’t terribly familiar with his story or wants to live vicariously in the shoes of Jackie and the other men in baseball of the era.  Of course it’s also perfect for baseball fans, but I want to make it known that this is an important story for everyone to know.  The story isn’t just important to baseball, but to America and modern world we live today.

We are expected to have a lot of features these days on Blu-rays and combo packs, but unfortunately with “42” the special features are limited.  The combo pack includes the Blu-ray, DVD, and UltraViolet version which allows consumers to download and stream the standard definition film.

There are 3 main special featurette’s that are on each disc:

Stepping Into History
This behind-the-scenes feature really just features the struggles finding actors for Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson.  Brian Helgeland talks briefly about the casting and Harrison and Chadwick go in to depth about their transformation into their characters. I was hoping for us to dive a little deeper into the creation of the film.

Full-Contact Baseball
Here we get to learn a little more about the attention to detail the movie went through.  There are some very interesting bits along with some more behind-the-scene moments where it was better explained how key parts of the film were created.  Don’t expect anything to in depth.

The Legacy of the Number 42
Here is a short biography of Jackie Robinson that quickly covers him as a player and what he was able to do with the sport and how much he overcame.

A movie of this caliber could definitely use a little more in the extras category. There are several different language options and subtitles, but no commentary.  This is perfect type of film to have some type of commentary.  There are still several players alive that played with Robinson that could talk a little more about some areas of the film.

The film is still beautiful and the quality is superb. The DVD/Blu-ray will still be worth it to fans of the film or anyone just interested in the story.  However, if you are looking for more in depth coverage of Jackie Robinson’s life, this is not the DVD needed for your collection.

“42” will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99 and on single disc DVD for $28.98. The Blu-ray Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in hi-definition on Blu-ray, and the theatrical version in standard definition on DVD. Both the Blu-ray Combo Pack and the single disc DVD include UltraViolet stream.

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