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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Secretariat [Blu-ray]


(Randall Wallace, 2010)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Disney

Video: Disney Home Video



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:02:58.996 

Disc Size: 42,456,599,460 bytes

Feature Size: 28,173,742,080 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.99 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 25th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3690 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3690 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps

Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -2dB



English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



• Deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by director Randall Wallace
Heart of a Champion (14:56 in 1080P)
Exclusive HD Content
Audio commentary by director Randall Wallace
Choreographing the Races (6:27)
A Director's Inspiration: A Conversation with the Real Penny Chenery (21:12 - in 1080P)
Four more deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by director Randall Wallace
Secretariat multi-angle simulation
Music video: AJ Michalka, "It's Who You Are" (4:02)

Sneak Peeks

Discover Blu-ray 3D

DVD of the film included





Description: Disney presents an astonishing true story bursting with hope, heart, and courage. Diane Lane and John Malkovich lead a celebrated cast in this inspirational motion picture from the producers of Miracle, Invincible and The Rookie.

Behind every legend lies an impossible dream. Witness the spectacular journey of an incredible horse named Secretariat and the moving story of his unlikely owner, a housewife who risked everything to make him a champion. Out of the gate with never-before-seen bonus features, Secretariat is hours of pulse-pounding entertainment for the whole family!


Based on the Novel "Secretariat: The Making of a Champion" By William Nack, "Secretariat" chronicles the spectacular... journey of the 1973 Triple Crown winner. Housewife and mother Penny Chenery agrees to take over her ailing father’s Virginia-based Meadow Stables, despite her lack of horse-racing knowledge. Against all odds, Chenery -- with the help of veteran trainer Lucien Laurin -- manages to navigate the male-dominated business, ultimately fostering the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years and what may be the greatest racehorse of all time.



The Film:

This whole movie feels authentic. Diane Lane, who is so good in so many kinds of roles, makes Penny a smart woman with great faith in her own judgment and the courage to bet the farm on it. Every hair in place, always smartly turned out, she labors in the trenches with Lucien and Eddie, negotiates unflinchingly with the Old Boys, eats the stomach-churning meals at the diners where the track crowd hangs out. She looked at the greatest racehorse in the world and knew she was right, when all about her were losing their heads and blaming it on her.

Of the actors, I especially enjoyed John Malkovich. He has a way of conveying his reasoning by shorthand and implication. He creates a portrait of horse trainer who's slow to tip his hand, which is correct. No role in Mike Rich's screenplay is overwritten, or tries to explain too much. Like "The Social Network," another contender for year-end awards, it has supreme confidence in its story and faith that we will find it fascinating. This is one of the year's best films.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Secretariat looks very impressive on Blu-ray from Disney.  It doesn't really have any visual flaws. Colors are notably vibrant, detail is strong, there is some texture - it's a dual-layered transfer with the 2-hour film taking up over 28 Gig of space with a supportive bitrate. The resolution can be so perceptive at times you can see the heavy make-up to give Diane Lane some added years. Skin tones seem accurate - contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. The many daylight scenes are often beautiful with some brilliant cinematography with many static shots, tucked in here and there. The art direction supports the timeframe exceptionally well and this Blu-ray has certain scenes that make you stare open-mouthed at the screen. They certainly didn't scrimp on production.

















Audio :

There are plenty of effect noises separated throughout your sound system via a convincing DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 3690 kbps. It's more than galloping hooves and snorting horses - the gospel music that keeps finding its way into the film - sounds tremendous. Like the video - without a demonstrative flaw. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked disc.


Extras :

The enclosed DVD in the package offers only 3 deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by director Randall Wallace and an excellent featurette entitled Heart of a Champion running 15-minutes. These are included on the Blu-ray plus a bunch more. Director Randall Wallace offers a standard audio commentary discussing production details as well as history and adherence to Nack's book. It is entertaining if you enjoyed the film. We get about 7-minutes on the monumental task of Choreographing the Races plus more deleted scenes (optional commentary) and a quite interesting piece - A Director's Inspiration: A Conversation with the Real Penny Chenery which is a charming 20-minutes. You can see the video of AJ Michalka, "It's Who You Are" that is played in parts of the film and a 'Secretariat multi-angle simulation' as well as some sneak peeks and an advert for 3D.



This is essentially a bio-pic - and being Disney it is very family-centric. You'd have to have a heart of steel not to get wrapped up in the story, predictably, culminating with 'the' race. I expect that this is all fairly accurate - if following Nack's poetic book. I am always impressed when I see Diane Lane - although her inherent sexuality is drained from the character - she is still marvelous. Malkovich doesn't really give bad performances and the supporting cast are solidly familiar - all-in-all it makes a very enjoyable film even being aware of the conclusion. The Blu-ray is quite perfect in every category and it turns out to be a great way to see the film. I think a lot of people might get more out of this than they bargained for. It is quite a positive film experience. Sometimes you need those too. We recommend. 

Gary Tooze

January 24th, 2011




About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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