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HTF REVIEW: "The Rookie" (with screenshots)

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#1 of 13 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 15 2002 - 10:25 AM

Posted Image

The Rookie

Studio: Disney
Year: 2002
Rated: G
Film Length: 128 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)

It's never too late to believe in your dreams.

Leave it to Disney to make a movie that pulls on
as many emotional strings as it can and succeed
at doing so. Such is the case with its recent
release of The Rookie, based on the true
story of a major league wash out who gets another
shot at the big leagues.

Posted Image

Jimmy Morris (Trevor Morgan) hasn't had an easy
life. Growing up the son of a work obsessed Navy
CPO (Brian Cox) who is constantly moving the family
from one place to another has diminished his dreams
of becoming a baseball player. He gets very little
support from his father whose not even there for
Jimmy's Little League debut as a pitcher who
strikes out 13 players.

Posted Image

Nonetheless, Jim (Dennis Quaid) follows his dream
and plays in the minor leagues until a shoulder
injury ends his brief career. He settles down as
a high school baseball coach and chemistry teacher
in a small Texas town. This high school team is
sort of an amusement and inspiration for Jim, as
this rag tag team tries hard, but never seems to
win any games.

One day Jim makes a bet with his team. If the
team comes together and wins the district
championship, he will try out for a major league
team again. The kids are inspired by the
greatness they see in Jim, and go on to fulfill
their end of the bargain.

Posted Image

The second half of the film deals with Jim
fulfilling his end of the bargain when at the
age of 35 he becomes the unlikeliest of heroes --
the second-oldest rookie in Major League baseball.
This story is effectively and triumphantly brought
to the screen mainly in thanks to Mike Rich's
screenplay and the superb performance of Dennis
Quaid who brings much sincerity to the role.

How is the transfer?

The transfer comes across with stunning clarity
that isn't marred with any film grain, noise, or
blemish. Picture is a little soft, but benefits
from its warmness. Colors are absolutely dead-on
accurate -- especially in the facial tones of its
characters. You can rest assure that all the
beautiful colors of baseball are faithfully brought
out from the deep greens of the outfield grass to
the vivid reds and yellows of the player's uniforms
to the deep red stitching of the baseball.

The 5.1 Digital Surround track is about average.
The film's soundtrack is evenly distributed amongst
the 5 channels, with the front channels taking on
most of the burden in providing very robust and
bass-heavy delivery. There is much emphasis
put on the sound of a cracking bat, the woosh
of air and a deep firm thud as the ball slaps the
mitt. The film's diverse musical track with the
sounds of Elvis, Willie Nelson and Duane Jarvis
come through clearly with toe-tapping bass. The
rear channels seem to provide the least amount of
support only adding the occasional sounds of
wind in the film's opening moments and the roar
of a baseball crowd in the film's later moments.

Special Features

Posted ImagePosted Image

The DVD contains a full-length commentary
by Dennis Quaid and Director John Lee Hancock.
You can tell that the Director has a real love
for his film, talking about the realistic look
he wanted to give -- especially for the small
Texas town this film takes place in. The
Director does most of the talking here, pointing
out all the little side action that may be missed
if you don't look fast enough. He talks about
the people he selected to play the towns people
and the importance of making them look real
instead of cartoonish. Both Quaid and Hancock
recall some of their own memories of growing up
and how this film reminded them of those special
times in their lives. Quaid tells a very funny
story about how he had to goad one of the baseball
players, Angus, into dancing in the locker scene.
This is an extremely personal commentary by a
Director who truly loved the project, and gives
an extremely detailed account of what he was striving
for from his actors and production designers.

Posted Image

Meet the real rookie, Jim Morris, in The
inspirational story of Jim Morris
which is
the true story of a high school coach who made it
to the big leagues. We travel to Big Lake Texas
as cast members, filmmakers and even former
Owl players talk about the game of baseball in
that town. Writer Mike Rich talks about coming
to the town in search of a story and what finally
inspired him through that search. Jim Morris
and his Mother Ollie recall the dream that started
when he was a child. Through interviews with
scouts, sports agents and trainers we learn of
Jim's rise to the major leagues. Standing in a
ballpark where it all happened, Jim re-enacts some
of the finest moments in his life against archived
footage of his actual game. His story inspired
many, including those who wanted to buy the rights
to his story, put his life into words and eventually
make this film. This is a terrific documentary that
is as inspiring as the film itself.
(length: approx. 20 minutes)

Posted Image

Any kid who is interested in improving his or her
game will be greatly interested in Spring Training
Baseball Tips
. Baseball coordinator Mark Ellis
gives some sure-fire tips on pitching, catching,
infielding, outfielding and hitting. A bonus
tip humorously covers signaling as well as the
proper way to dress your hot dog with mustard.

Director John Lee Hancock personally introduces
each of the 7 deleted scenes presented
on this DVD. These scenes include:

* A young jimmy floating in the pool complaining
about all the places he has had to move to and from.

* A nightly beer baseball league game where
Jimmy gives the pitch that ultimately scores a
run for the other team.

* A scene where Jimmy drops one of his players
off at home sort of shows how caring of a coach
he is.

* As the sun sets upon an empty field, Jimmy
shares a final moment with his son.

All of these deleted scenes are relatively short,
but in all total 17.43 minutes. The Director
explains that the scenes were cut primarily
due to time restraints as well as some negative
reaction from screener audiences.

Final Thoughts

Though The Rookie has been done many times
over as one of those cliche'd overly inspirational
Hollywood films, perhaps this one will pull it off
for its potential young audience who will no doubt
watch it with the same dreams that Jim Morris had
as a young boy.

Posted Image

Disney has done a very nice job putting together
a DVD package whose supplements will entertain both
kids and adults alike.

Worth a purchase.

Release Date: August 27, 2002


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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#2 of 13 OFFLINE   Michael Silla

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Posted August 15 2002 - 11:05 AM

I just may pick this puppy up. I have heard nothing but good things about this film. I rarely blind purchase titles but I am tempted with this one. Thanks again Ron. Michael.

#3 of 13 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted August 15 2002 - 12:43 PM

A word of support for the transfer. We ran The Rookie at the theater I work at and it was a tiny bit soft.

#4 of 13 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted August 15 2002 - 01:55 PM

It is a warm and sweet movie. I took my 2 daughters to see it back in the Spring during a "sneak Peek". I think they were expecting Remember the Titans pacing as this was much slower and methodical. It's a nice family movie and one that I will definitely purchase.

Nice review Ron. Posted Image

#5 of 13 OFFLINE   Eric Fisher

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Posted August 15 2002 - 02:47 PM

I really liked this film. I'm going to pick it up.

#6 of 13 OFFLINE   Bryan Tuck

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Posted August 16 2002 - 01:59 AM

I have to agree on the quality of the movie. It was so nice to see a G-rated movie that didn't limit itself to being just a "kiddie flick" (I hate that term, anyway). It was an intelligent, genuinely inspiring film that just happened to not have anything offensive in it. I'll probably have to get this one.

Also, having gone to school in West Texas, I can vouch for the accuracy of the setting. The characterizations of the guys from the store are spot on. I know some of these people. Posted Image
"Flying a plane is no different from riding a bicycle; it's just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes."

#7 of 13 OFFLINE   HenrikTull


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Posted August 16 2002 - 02:21 AM

I've always enjoyed Dennis Quaid's work so I might just buy this movie.
A Little Slice of Heaven

#8 of 13 OFFLINE   MikeEckman



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Posted August 16 2002 - 06:17 AM

[quote] It was so nice to see a G-rated movie that didn't limit itself to being just a "kiddie flick" (I hate that term, anyway). It was an intelligent, genuinely inspiring film that just happened to not have anything offensive in it. I'll probably have to get this one. [quote] Bryan's summary of this film is practically spot on to how I feel about it. I don't want to critizice Ron's opinion of this film, but in his review, he almost made it seem like this was just a so-so movie, when in reality, its the best "inspirational Hollywood movie" I've seen since Rudy. Definitely worth a purchase IMO.

And as other people have said, Dennis Quaid is a very talented and honest actor and he really shines in this role.
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#9 of 13 OFFLINE   Scott-C


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Posted August 19 2002 - 05:10 AM

I'm definitely adding this one to the collection. I loved this movie in the theater! Thanks for another nice review Ron. BTW, nice license plate!

#10 of 13 OFFLINE   Jaxon's Dad

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Posted September 04 2002 - 03:27 AM

Question for those who have purchased this one. The cover art in Ron's review is, as far as I can tell, the same as for the modified version. Everyplace I've been to only carries the 4:3 travesty...er...transfter. I guess I can conclude that more people are actually buying widescreen versions over pan 'n scan, but my question is this: Where can one find the 16x9 version of this great flick? And will I be able to tell from the front cover?
The Star Wars Special Editions: Just 'cause you can, don't mean you should.


#11 of 13 OFFLINE   Eric Fisher

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Posted September 04 2002 - 06:47 AM

if I recall correctly, there is a small red banner on the spine that says "widescreen".

#12 of 13 OFFLINE   Nathan*W



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Posted September 04 2002 - 08:56 AM

[quote] And will I be able to tell from the front cover? [quote] No.

There are three ways to distinguish the widescreen version.

1. The top security sticker (says widescreen)

2. The spine (has traditional Disney WIDE-SCREEN arching banner)

3. The back cover specs.

A blind purchase that my wife and I really enjoyed.

#13 of 13 OFFLINE   Bryan Tuck

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Posted September 09 2002 - 12:29 AM

Yeah, even though the widescreen banner is pretty easy to see if you look at the box for a couple of seconds, I kind of wish there would have been something on the front that denoted "widescreen." It's a weird labeling decision, and I don't know who it benefits; people who don't look closely are likely to end up with the wrong version, whichever one they want. Anyway, it's a nice disc. Nothing extraordinary, but very solid; I just wish the trailer was on there. Still a very good movie, though.
"Flying a plane is no different from riding a bicycle; it's just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes."

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