The Rookie - BRD
(John Lee Hancock, 2002)
Review by Leonard Norwitz
Theatrical: Hollywood Pictures
Video: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Feature film: 1080p / AVC
128 minutes: 21 chapters
Single disc 50 GB
Supplements: 480i High Definition
English 5.1 Uncompressed (48 kHz/24-bit)
English DD 5.1 Surround
French DD 5.1 Surround
Spanish DD 5.1 Surround
Feature: English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: English SDH, French, Spanish
• Audio commentary by Director Hancock and Actor Dennis Quaid
• Sprint Training: Baseball Tips from the Pros
• The Inspirational Story of Jim Morris
• Deleted Scenes w/ introductions by the director
Locking Blu-ray case
Release Date: March 4th, 2008
The slings and arrows of outrageous and occasionally strange fortune are compellingly dramatized in this family movie that digs deeper than your average bear. Dennis Quaid seems tailor made for the role of real-life Jimmy Morris whose dreams of making it to Major League baseball seemed dashed after an injury. Quaid has that disarming smile that could sell a used car to an emir and looks equally convincing drowning in self-pity, of which this story has its share. Also in the cast is another one of those Australian-bred actors who do Americans and the occasional Brit so well: this time around it's Rachel Griffiths, whom you may not remember as the annoying bridesmaid Samantha in My Best Friend's Wedding, but you should remember in her Oscar nominated performance as Emily Watson's sister in the 1998 Hilary & Jackie or as Brenda Chenowith in Six Feet Under. As Morris's straightforward and earnest wife, Griffiths, with not all that much screen time, grounds the movie in terms of the needs of the family while being there for her man at the right moments - for The Rookie is as much a blue-collar story about marriage, fathering, neglect and support as it is about baseball – and a mighty good one at that.
The Score Card
The Movie : 8
"Based on the true story of Jim Morris", we follow his life from boyhood in small Texas town, through a shoulder injury, his marriage and coaching years for a local high school and that team's own interdependent aspirations, to Morris' eventual tryouts for the majors. John Lee Hancock skillfully blends the fixtures, rituals and rhythms of the game into a family drama about dreams lost and recaptured.
Image : 9 (9/9)
The score of 9 indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs. The score in parentheses represents: first, a value on a ten point scale for the image in absolute terms; and, second, how that image compares to what I believe is the current best we can expect in the theatre.
Contrast and color are very much on the mark in this high definition transfer, with no observable artifacts, noise, edge enhancement.
Audio & Music : 8/8
While not nearly as thrilling as a big game movie can be (think Disney's We Are Marshall or Warner's Remember the Titans), the audio mix is perhaps more realistic (if such can be applied to a home theatre experience) – certainly it is scaled properly for the subject.
Operations : 8
Walt Disney Studios Blu-ray DVDs continue their chapter-skipable previews and promos before the endless loading of the feature film begins. As in some other recent Blu-ray DVDs, I found the menu operations to be sensible, listing the length of the various segments along with a brief description. I should also note that this DVD has some of the best looking menus I've seen. Kudos.
Extras : 5
There's a nice 20 minute biomentary of Jim Morris that combines interviews of family and friends, home video, and comments from the movie's cast and crew. The audio commentary lists both Hancock and Quaid, but the actor isn't present all that much, so content yourself with facts, figures, and how-we did-its.
March 15th, 2008