Close-up detail is fantastic and pixel-perfect and – if the camera ever stays still for long enough to let you observe them – the backgrounds are all very well-rendered, too. Fast action is always delivered with a sharp dynamism that is way too quick for any digital demons to plague, and for eagle-eyed spectators, those cheerleaders are definitely worth the numerous inserts Berg bestows them. Black levels are well up to scratch, offering tremendous depth and vivid contrast changes that are perfectly captured. Edge-enhancement is evident – particularly on distance shots of the stadiums, or the long caravans of fan-vehicles – but never to a distracting degree. Some grain does show up during the rock-shooting scene, but this may actually be intentional. Overall, a great and clean transfer that offers an image that is gripping and immediate.
There are ten Deleted Scenes that play one after the other in a seamless series lasting for 21.45 mins but only a couple really add anything. One detailing Boobie’s uncle LV turning up at Gaines’ house is quite nice and there are some cool snippets of fan-to-camera quips.
Tim McGraw: Off The Stage is a six-minute featurette detailing the singer’s take on his character and his desire to become an actor. He is likeable and interesting – poles apart from his essay of the real-life character. Player Cam is nothing more than four minutes of the cast of football players goofing around between takes. Fun, but filler. Another filler is the minute-long explanation as to why the burger-bar sequence was added to the film in Peter Berg Discusses A Scene. This snippet then seamlessly branches into the complete scene from the finished movie.
The Story Of The 1988 Permian Panthers does exactly what it sets out to do in a nostalgic look back upon the players and the events of that turbulent season. Lasting for 23.30 mins this mini-doc allows us meet the real people as they tell us their stories, and then films them as they reunite for the first time since playing ball back in the old days. Touching and amusing, this is gold for fans of the tale. The real-life Boobie Miles looks back wistfully on what could have been, his authentic trauma still upsetting to hear. But he offers the most poignant advice of all, stating that he is living testimony “that you gotta have your plan B,” in life. Boy, is he right. Far too short, but heart-warming and pleasantly intercut with the actors and the filmmakers, this is a wonderful epitaph to the guys that put their all into making everyone else’s dreams come true.
We also get filmographies for the cast and crew and some DVD ROM stuff and previews for Ray, The Motorcycle Diaries, Miami Vice Season 1 and Las Vegas. There’s also supposed an Easter Egg on here somewhere – but, as yet, I haven’t found it.
A great sports movie that goes well beyond the formula and brings us a clever and insightful examination of the hysteria and bigoted importance heaped upon a silly game with even sillier rules. The life-lessons to be learned are many and varied, but it is the stark portrayal of a community gone mad and the detrimental effect this has the next generation of would-be heroes that stays with you long after the crowds have left the stadium. Full of wonderful performances from a cast of relative unknowns, Friday Night Lights captures the imagination and convinces with its gritty, sweat and blood fuelled fury. A great film for sports fans, but uniquely, an even better film for non-sports fans. Who’d have thought it?
Universal’s disc is tremendous in the AV departments and the extras almost go the distance, too. The Commentary is a gem and the true-life meeting with the real players adds immeasurably to the package. Sorry, but I’ve got to say it … Touchdown!
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