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[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news/42c.jpg[/img]

Title: 42

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :5stars:
Extras: :3stars:

HTS Overall Score:89.5




[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news/421.jpg[/img]
Summary
Major League Baseball is a game that places history and statistics on a pedestal, spending endless amounts of time comparing one team, player, or era to the next. If one were to look purely at stats, Jackie Robinson would appear to be a very good ballplayer. Perhaps not shoe-in Hall of Fame material, but impressive nonetheless. He wasn’t a hulking power hitter, in fact he never hit more than 20 home runs in a single season, but he did have a knack for getting on base. He did so over 40 percent of the time through a good mix of singles, extra base hits and walks. Sprinkle in speed and a nose for stealing bases, and you have the ingredients of a good opponent. Unfortunately due to the ugly and repressive nature of institutional racism, in addition to World War II, Robinson didn’t have a shot at a full Major League career. He only played in the Majors for ten years, entering the league at the age of 28 and retiring at 37. During these years the Dodgers played in 6 World Series, winning their first in 1955.

This brings us to the reason that Robinson is one of the most – if not top – historically significant players in Major League history. It’s because he is a sure-shot bonafide hero. Some players impact how the game is played, Robinson shattered cultural perceptions. In one incredibly courageous and emotionally charged act, Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947 and became the first African American to wear a Major League uniform. He went on to become the first African American player to be named Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player, and the first to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is the trailblazer that has made it possible for so many of baseball’s greats to play the game. What’s most impressive is that Robinson accomplished this in the face of a culture of unrelenting hate and extremely powerful racism – conditions that would break most anyone singled-out on the public stage.

42 plays like a historical documentation of Robinson’s Major League emergence and the racist culture of the time. Directed and written by Brian Helgeland (A Knight’s Tale, Green Zone), the film is amazingly powerful on a number of levels. The story begins in 1955. Major League Baseball has 16 teams and 400 white-only players. African American players are relegated to the Negro Leagues. Fast forward nearly a decade and the Brooklyn Dodgers are a great team that just can’t seem to find a way to win the pennant. General Manager Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) is scouring the Negro Leagues looking for a player that possesses the ability to help the Dodgers win while able to successfully shoulder the burden of breaking the color barrier – a player that has the ability to stay calm under social pressures and look away from the noise. He eventually focuses on Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) and invites him to join the Dodger’s minor league affiliate in Montreal. It’s at this point that history is set in motion. A year later, Robinson signs a professional contract with the Dodgers and breaks the color barrier. Many players protest, fans protest, Robinson becomes the subject of unrelenting overt bigotry, and he’s the target of nasty hazing on the field. Eventually some of his teammates, including Hall of Fame short-stop Pee Wee Reese (Lucas Black), begin to stand beside Robinson and the tide begins to permanently turn.


[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news/422.jpg[/img]

The film is an incredibly emotional story. While it’s a baseball story, it’s also a story about basic humanity and equality. It is, at times, difficult to watch simply because Robinson’s encounters with hatred and racism are brutal. The language is strong as are the actions of those rejecting him – the film does a good job of giving viewers an idea of what he experienced, how he felt about it, and the kind of support he received from teammates and management. Obviously the subject matter runs much deeper than a two hour long movie is able to tackle, but enough is touched-on to paint a good picture. The film carries an impressive historical feel, be it period music, clothing, cars, or the league’s classic stadiums. These visuals paired with a distinctly aged video color tone help to transport viewers to the the 1940’s.

Boseman plays a fantastic Robinson and carries the movie to great heights. Other characters, such as Robinson’s wife (Nicole Beharie), Pee Wee Reese, and Wendell Smith (Andre Holland), are also well played. Harrison Ford does an admirable job of bringing Branch Rickey to the silver screen, however there are times where Ford’s acting feels a tad forced. Perhaps the character would have been better off played by a less recognizable actor. There are also moments where the movie’s pace is a tad slow. That being said, it’s hard to find many faults with 42. It’s an uplifting emotion-filled story with levels of truth that are staggeringly real. And with that, 42 joins the ranks of great historical sports movies and definitely deserves attention for it’s amazing presentation and subject matter.


Rating:

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including language


Video :4.5stars:
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news/423.jpg[/img]
Warner Bros. fantastic 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encode of 42 is simply delicious. Shot digitally on RED equipment, the film’s 2.40:1 cinemascope presentation has a beautiful aged-appearance driven by a color palate washed with sepia overtones and a cinematic texture. Colors aren’t held back with reds and blues looking particularly sharp. Blacks are nice and deep, but not robust. In fact their slight softness fits perfectly with the film’s historical appearance. Shadow detail is excellent with nary a hint of crush, which helps darker scenes look stellar. Flesh tones look natural.

The film is loaded with fine details throughout, spanning from textures of the ball players’ uniforms to facial details to the grains on Jackie’s bat. Larger scenes, such as the grand insides of ballparks, are to die for – especially for fans of the National Pastime. It’s hard to find any fault with the transfer. In fact my only complaint about the film, visually, is that the brownish/yellow hue to the movie makes the sky appear off-color, in some cases almost poluted. But, given how amazing this film presents itself on Blu-ray, I’ll take a somewhat off-color sky.


Audio :5stars:
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news/424.jpg[/img]
42’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track is a thing of beauty, masterfully crafted and perfectly delivered with amazing sonic detail. The highlight of the track is an incredibly airy and wide front sound stage that expands with dynamic directionality. The sounds of old time radio, humming cicadas, echoing announcements, jeering crowds, sprinkler systems, and roosters pop-up to the left and right perfectly matching their source location on screen. Sound pans, such as that of a moving bus, also perfectly match action as it’s seen. The surrounds bristle with thunder, crowd noise, train whistles, and airplane engines, along with unique effects such as the sound of flying dirt exploding from the front to the rear. All the while each setting, be it a stadium or a front porch, is enhanced with enveloping ambient sounds.

Mark Isham’s potent musical score is grand, oozing a dramatic Hollywood sound as it fuels the grandiosity and emotion of Jackie Robinson’s story. It’s loaded with rumbling bass and crescendos at all the right moments. Speaking of LFE, as one would expect, it doesn’t play a primary role in 42’s presentation. However there are some nice low rumbles associated with automobiles, trains, and subtleties like the thud of a closing car door. One of the center pieces of a historical drama is the dialog, which, in the case of 42, is spot-on in every respect: clear, intelligible, appropriately thick and throaty and locked-in mid-screen.

All-in-all, 42 delivers an exceptional audio experience.



[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news/426.png[/img]
Extras: :3stars:
• Behind the Scenes: Stepping into History
• Behind the Scenes: Full Contact Baseball
• The Legacy of Number 42






Overall: :4stars:

42 is one of 2013’s must-see movies. Jackie Robinson was not only a baseball star, but an American hero that showed unparalleled bravery in breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier. Chadwick Boseman does a fantastic job playing the legend and the vast majority of the cast is equal to the task in bringing their characters to life. The film does a phenomenal job of setting the stage with amazing sets and beautiful renditions of Major League fields of the past, all of which are shown with a sepia-hue that gives the film a period feel. The audio presentation is simply stellar with great use of all channels and spot-on dialog. The end result is an incredibly powerful storyline and subject matter that is given the kind of treatment it deserves. This is a must watch film.


Additional Information:

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie
Directed by: Brian Helgeland
Written by: Brian Helgeland
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: Warner Bothers
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 128 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: July 16, 2013


Buy 42 Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: Watch It


 

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Thanks for the review. I didn't catch this movie in the theater and will look forward to catching it on dvd.

I am a fan of baseball docu drama's. Thanks once again for the in depth review.
 

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great review Todd. I missed this in the theater so I've really been meaning to watch this one. Looks really good
 

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For me, these stories of breaking down prejudice in sports never get old. 42 does an admirable job of touching on a lot of subjects... really, it needed to be 2-3 times as long to give all of them proper attention. So I guess, from that standpoint, some of the storyline feels a tad hurried. But a major motion picture only has so long to tell a story and 42 does a good job.

About 15 years ago the Washington Post Magazine ran a story about a man named Daryl Hill... I'll never forget reading it when it was published. He was the first African American to play football at the University of Maryland and the first to play in the ACC. I found the article here, it's published on a different site (the Washington Post archives only give readers access to the last 3 pages of the article, for some reason). Anyhow, for those of you interested, it's an interesting read and full of details that are heartbreaking, scary, and downright crazy.
 

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Thanks for sharing that link. I read it and it is very good read to say the least. Hard to imagine the way people treated certain individuals back then. Just feels like a different world to me. Granted, that was a different time and entire generations had different ideas about people and cultures, etc.

I also like these type of movies about breaking the so called "lines" that for some crazy reason people put up many years ago..
 

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Thanks for the review Todd. This one will be a blind buy for me and I've heard nothing but good things about the film.
 

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Thanks for the review Todd. This one will be a blind buy for me and I've heard nothing but good things about the film.
Same here - heroes can come from many walks of life, but what Jackie did and even more how he went about it should be a story read by every student in school. A great all around ball player - and even more a great man.
 

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I cant believe I still have not seen this movie. The story of Jackie Robinson is so incredible I hope the movie lives up to it. Maybe next week
 

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I watched 42 last night and thought it was outstanding! Great story, acting, and I was very impressed by both the audio and video. In my opinion this is one of the better family movies to come out in quite some time.
 

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I watched 42 last night and thought it was outstanding! Great story, acting, and I was very impressed by both the audio and video. In my opinion this is one of the better family movies to come out in quite some time.
I would like the boys to watch it to understand just how important Jackie was - do you think it's ok for a 12 and 9 year old?
 

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I've got 10 and 8 yr olds... I think we'll watch it together... Bookended by a long talk about what it all means...

It's a close call though... The language is brutal. They aren't ever exposed to stuff like that.
 

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I would like the boys to watch it to understand just how important Jackie was - do you think it's ok for a 12 and 9 year old?
As Todd said the language is pretty bad at times. If it were me and my kids were that age I would have no problems with them watching it with me. Maybe before sitting down provide some background as to how different times were back then. In the end the message is a positive one that's worthy of the entire family receiving.
 

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Thanks for the thorough review. I had forgot about this one already.
Need to find a place to pick this up.
Sport films have a way of simply getting to the heart of humainty. Good or bad.
 

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I watched it and thought it was good nothing I would buy, but the language and terms used I didn't want my 3yr old walking around saying so I had to turn it off and finish it when she went to bed.
 

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For those of you concerned about language and other adult themes you don't want small kids to see/hear but would like to show the Jackie Robinson era to them as a learning experience, I highly recommend Tim Burns "Baseball" epic.. It covers the Jackie Robinson era very well while making the historical facts of the time available to the viewers so they know what the player went thru and what type of person he was, etc.
 

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Finally, over the long weekend, I was able to catch up on this movie. This was a great movie to check out. The acting was superb and I thought the movie was well done. I couldn't let my small kids watch it thou do to the bad language that was used during this time period when folks were yelling at Mr. Robinson while he was playing baseball.. Regardless, the movie is a must see.

I give high praise to Mr. Robinson. Even with all that hatred he faced during that time period, he was strong willed to overcome all those challenges. Not many would have done what he did that is for sure.
 
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