Jungle
42

I want to say that I loved 42. I kind of did. There is a lot of laughs to be had and it’s so easy to root for Robinson, and anyone else in the film for that matter that stands up against the ugly face of racism. Unfortunately, after the film was over I realized that the film wasn’t really about Jackie Robinson.

Robinson (played by Chadwick Boseman; Persons Unknown) is portrayed as this infallible character in the film that doesn’t do anything wrong, ever. When he’s on the field he is nothing short of amazing, minus a scene in the film where a manager barks racist comments at him non-stop, but who Jackie Robinson outside of baseball is never covered, nor is his character really fleshed out on the field.

42 plays it safe making the majority of its characters a bit 1 dimensional, relying on the fact that almost everyone hates racism and any decent main character is trying to put an end to racism. I acknowledge the accomplishments of the people in this story, but I also feel like the story is lacking substance outside of its gimmick of using racial tension as it’s only motivator.

As a popcorn feel good movie it works. As a biopic about Jackie Robinson, it really could have done better. If anything, this film should have been called Ricky Branch (Harrison Ford). The way the film promotes Branche’s bravery at pushing an African American baseball player seems to trump the few times we see Robinson on the field being nothing but perfect. I would expecting more a film like American Pastime, but got something far lighter.

PICTURE QUALITY:
Nothing short of amazing. Detail is incredible. In one scene, as Robinson tries to hail a taxi, the entirety of the scene is so finely detailed and clear that it makes the scene and everything in it look fake, a quality that I recall when TV went HD. The only time the film looks anything less then spectacular is when the film is showing off some archive footage, but that’s to be expected and is no reason to complain when the rest of the film looks so organic and real. You just can’t go wrong with this BD presentation.

BONUS FEATURES:
~BD/DVD/UV Versions
~Stepping Into History: We see Ford and Boseman transformed into their characters.
~Full-Contact Baseball: A look at baseball in the 40’s and how tough it was compared to today.
~The Legacy of the Number 42: How disappointing that this is listed as a short feature. We get interviews from the living member so Robinson’s Brooklyn Dodgers, some other players, and other athletes who talk about Robinson and Branch and how their alliance broke the color barrier and what it did for baseball. 

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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