Cinderella Man (BLU-RAY)

Cinderella Man

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, December 6, 2005
Running Time: 
2 Hours, 24 Minutes

I never saw Cinderella Man when it first came out (has it really already been four years since it’s release??), but I remember seeing the previews and thinking that it looked like a solid flick. I mean, Russell Crowe, Paul Giamatti, and Ron Howard? It’s like a cinematic dream team or something (Howard’s recent contribution of Angels and Demons notwithstanding).

Now that I’ve finally had a chance to see it, I can say firsthand that it is an extremely well made film, if somewhat predictable. Crowe plays the part of down-on-his-luck boxer Jim Braddock, a husband and father who is struggling to support his family any way he can during the height of the Depression. Given that this is an American film, you can probably sketch out the story beats in your sleep. But somehow that doesn’t take away from the power of the story of seeing one man and his family triumph over poverty and dire circumstances. It’s a tribute to those involved that the story is as compelling as it is, especially given the “traditional” aspects of its arc.

Solid sound quality, but there seemed to be a great deal of variance between quiet and loud scenes. One moment Crowe and Zellweger would be sharing a quiet conversation as husband and wife and the next would be an overly loud scene at the docks or in the ring. If you turn up the sound to hear the subtle scenes, the louder ones blow you back, but if you keep loud scenes at reasonable level, you’ll never hear the softer ones. As for the visuals, everything looks fantastic. Great picture with stunning clarity and a good mix of warm tones (of home and the ring) and washed out colors for the scenes of struggle and Depression living.

Bonus features a-plenty here! Check out the abundance:

· Feature Commentary with Director Ron Howard
· Feature Commentary with Writer Akiva Goldsman
· Feature Commentary with Writer Cliff Hollingsworth
· Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
· The Fight Card: Casting Cinderella Man
· For the Record: A History in Boxing
· Ringside Seats
· Jim Braddock: The Friends & Family Behind The Legend
· Pre-Fight Preparations
· Lights, Camera, Action: The Fight From Every Angle
· Braddock Vs. Baer Fight Footage
· Photo Montage
· The Sound Of The Bell
· Cinderella Man Music Featurette
· The Human Face of the Depression
· Russell Crowe's Personal Journey: Becoming Jim Braddock

Obviously there’s an embarrassment of riches here, so if you cheered on Cinderella Man during his first tour in theatres (or even on DVD), chances are good you’ll want to check this version out.

Jeremy Hunt
Review by Jeremy Hunt
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