PictureAs per most Walt Disney Blu-ray discs of recent when it comes to video aspects this film is in 1080P AVC MPEG-4 and it's a pretty classy affair all around. Everything is very smooth sharp and colourful and presented in a 2.35:1 ratio. It's actually quite a wonderful filmic presentation throughout. There is absolutely no visible evidence of digital noise or enhancements at all. Colours are always solid and vibrant and there is a real sense of detail and richness to the picture. If I was being picky there would be two complaints from myself. One is that there is a tendency for a push on the red tones, this does make skin tones look rather rosy and unnatural at times. The other is that on occasion blacks could have been deeper. There is however plenty of contrast in most of scenes throughout the film to give the image plenty of depth. All in all there is very little to complain about but for a few very minor niggles that keep it being slightly short of reference material.
SoundThe audio comes equipped with an uncompressed English 5.1 (48KHz/24-bit) soundtrack as well as a 5.1 Dolby Digital in English, French and Spanish. Although both soundtracks are perfectly adequate for the movie there is nothing of the thrilling about either to write home about. The dialogue is presented very smoothly and clearly and most of the focus is continually directed through the centre stage. The voices remain very clear without ever sounding tinny and on the whole the sound is actually very natural. Yes there are some scenes at the baseball games where the crowd erupts and the rears roar into life but this is simply par for the course. The rear channels are never overly used and there is no real call for any use of the spectacular throughout the movie. Consequently sound steering is also generally quite limited and the audio has clearly been down mixed in relatively straightforward fashion. Needless to say you may also find the use of the LFE generally missing throughout the movie, so no rumbles or shakes to talk about here I'm afraid. To be fair I'm probably sounding a bit harsh here, there is in actual fact absolutely nothing wrong with the audio aspects of the movie. It's just that it's simply not as spectacular as the video aspects of this disc and as a complement in that respect it falls slightly short.
ExtrasYou get the choice of 4 sub menus within the extras and there is some a bit of interesting stuff to peruse amongst that. Additionally you also have the Directors audio commentary to accompany the movie.
Audio Commentary - this is a voice over with John Lee Hancock and Dennis Quaid. Proceedings are pretty much dominated by the director throughout yet it's still a pretty full account of all the scenes, challenges in shooting, casting process and the script itself.
Deleted Scenes - John Lee Hancock gives a directors intro of 31secs about the deleted scenes. This is followed by the 7 deleted scenes themselves which all follow a rather mundane format where John lee Hancock talks for half of the time before each scene. The video quality is at a very poor SD level that reduces your enjoyment even further. The scenes are Here we go again ( 2mins 4secs), The Softball game (1min 46secs), Dropping Joaquin off at home (2mins 4secs), The Coach's Turn (2mins 11secs), At the burger joint (2mins 12secs), Smooth & Graceful (4min 9secs), How do you explain it all (3mins 16secs)
Spring Training - If you fancy learning some of the very basic techniques of baseball and gain a few inside tips at the same time then you've got these 6 entertaining short sequences to give you some help and guidance. My favourite is the Bonus Tip, how to lace a Hot Dog with mustard ! Pitching (1min 34secs), Catching (1min 25secs), In fielding (1min 18secs), Out fielding (1min 29 secs), Hitting (1min 29secs), Bonus Tip (1min 1sec)
The Inspirational Story of Jim Morris - here you get to meet the man himself and see actual video footage of his first game with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. This is probably the best of the extras and you can see the real life of Jim Morris and his family. Of course the documentary pretty much mirrors the film itself, after all it is a true story, so it figures if you enjoyed the film you'll like this as well.
Sneak Previews - 8mins 5secs of Walt Disney trailers and upcoming movies if that's the sort of thing that keeps you entertained.
VerdictWalt Disney has produced a truly wonderful film here in The Rookie. Do not underestimate the fact that it is a general entertainment family film and confuse that with being middle of the road entertainment. It's nothing of the sort. It's full of emotional draw and it's made of the stuff that virtually all of us can relate to from within our own lives. It appeals to both young and old and the fact that it's a Disney film shouldn't put you off in the slightest. This is one movie that makes for very open viewing
Sports movies always have a unique appeal and baseball movies have always peculiarly had something special about them when done well. The Rookie is done well, exceptionally well. It is a truly inspiring life story, well made and presented impeccably. This is a great movie that will appeal to a wide cross section of age groups and is well worth the watch for all. The blu-ray disc delivers an excellent video spectacle and is incredibly appealing for all the right technical reasons.
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