42 Quick Review

mattCR

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No matter how many times you tell a story, if the story is good enough you'll listen again and again. I've seen quite a few versions of the Jackie Robinson story, but the facts of the story still make it appealing.. every time.

42 isn't a perfect film, there are more than a few moments of clunky dialog, but the film itself and the central story remain great and so it was enjoyable to watch.
The standout here is Harrison Ford who turns in a great performance as RIckey,

This isn't a great film, but it's a good one; and many fans of baseball are going to have a pretty good time.

A solid "B"
 

Colin Jacobson

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Agree that Ford was excellent - hope he gets Oscar consideration.

The whole cast was good, but the movie's too - for lack of a better term - black and white. It has good or bad, with nothing in between. Sure, some "bad" characters become "good", but there's little to no nuance here.

It's far too sentimental and contrived for my liking, and it focuses too much on Rickey, too. It threatens to turn into "The Branch Rickey Story" and might leave one with the impression that Robinson was little more than his puppet. We get the sense that Robinson couldn't control himself without the soothing presence of Rickey - which might've been true, but it leaves a bad taste as depicted.

This is basic, rousing entertainment - it's an enjoyable film. I just would like one that feels more real and less like mythology...
 

Robert Crawford

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Seeing this in the morning, I can't wait as I'm very aware of this story. To be fair, Robinson was Rickey's experiment and if he failed, integration in baseball and perhaps other sports would have been set back for years as most owners were against it.
 

Patrick Sun

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While overall, a satisfying telling of the journey of Jackie Robinson's early years in Major League Baseball in the 1940s after WWII, "42" reaches for verbal barbs and showcases sheer segregational attitudes and situations on the level of "The Passion of the Christ" sometimes, rendering it very uncomfortable viewing, but necessary to shine the light of racial inequity in the the game of baseball (and life in general in that era), and how the tides have changed in stark comparison to the racial landscape of MLB today, all due to the intestinal fortitude of Jackie Robinson to remain on the high road, and to the vision of Branch Rickey to press the issue and overcome decades, if not centuries of prejudice and racial injustice.

I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.

P.S. Be forewarned, lots of racial epithets get spewed and racial inequities displayed to show the conditions that Jackie Robinson played in at the time.
 

Robert Crawford

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Patrick Sun said:
While overall, a satisfying telling of the journey of Jackie Robinson's early years in Major League Baseball in the 1940s after WWII, "42" reaches for verbal barbs and showcases sheer segregational attitudes and situations on the level of "The Passion of the Christ" sometimes, rendering it very uncomfortable viewing, but necessary to shine the light of racial inequity in the the game of baseball (and life in general in that era), and how the tides have changed in stark comparison to the racial landscape of MLB today, all due to the intestinal fortitude of Jackie Robinson to remain on the high road, and to the vision of Branch Rickey to press the issue and overcome decades, if not centuries of prejudice and racial injustice.

I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.

P.S. Be forewarned, lots of racial epithets get spewed and racial inequities displayed to show the conditions that Jackie Robinson played in at the time.
Not enough in my book. It should've been more uncomfortable as it only gave a glimpse to what he actually went through. Hopefully, Ken Burns who is supposedly working on a Jackie Robinson film in a couple of years will really show how terrible it was for him.

With that said, I'll give the film a B- as I agree with Colin that they showed too much of Rickey.
 

mattCR

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I was talking about this today with someone and gave it my passive review, and as we spoke, I remembered HBO's special a few years ago "Soul of the Game" which seemed like a better film, all around than this.. but that doesn't mean that 42 is bad, it's just not as good as it could have been.
 

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Robert Crawford said:
Not enough in my book. It should've been more uncomfortable as it only gave a glimpse to what he actually went through.
I can see it both ways. I think they wanted to make a movie that's more or less for the whole family and tell a story where one man changes things for the better. I'm sure they dialed things back considerably so it could remain a basically family friendly movie. If more of the characters had acted like Alan Tudyk's, the movie probably would have been more realistic but also nearly unwatchable since it would have been so harsh.
 

Colin Jacobson

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TravisR said:
I can see it both ways. I think they wanted to make a movie that's more or less for the whole family and tell a story where one man changes things for the better. I'm sure they dialed things back considerably so it could remain a basically family friendly movie. If more of the characters had acted like Alan Tudyk's, the movie probably would have been more realistic but also nearly unwatchable since it would have been so harsh.
Not sure I'd call the Tudyk character "realistic". While he spouted offensive comments, Tudyk essentially played the character in a comedic fashion - he never gave the role any real bite or realism, so the character always felt like a cartoon...
 

TonyD

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Saw it tonight and loved it.I read or saw somewhere that Tudyk and Boseman stayed away from each other on Tudyk's advice to make the scenes seem more real so to speak. So they wouldn't be friends on set.Anyway the movie looked beautiful and I loved seeing those old fields in the movie.Wish they could have used Shibe Park too.I thought Chapman came across as rough enough, don't know what more they could have had him do.It's my third favorite baseball movie.4/5 stars
 

Malcolm R

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Robert Crawford said:
Not enough in my book. It should've been more uncomfortable as it only gave a glimpse to what he actually went through.
I agree. I saw the film today and enjoyed it very much, but left with the impression that integration didn't seem like really much of a trial for Robinson. I know this is the Hollywood-lite version, but for anyone who doesn't know or research more of the real story might wonder why it was such a big deal.
 

DaveF

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"42" was an enjoyable fun. A clean, explicit story of overcoming racial inequality. I don't know anything about baseball, but it got me to care about the game during the big moments. It had a family-oriented feel: the overt dialog and straightforward emotions make it accessible to everyone, young and old. It's a movie for people who don't much care for movies. And it's a pleasure, filled with favorite character actors for those of use who love TV and movies. Personally, I loved Alan Tudyk as the tremendous racist in Philly; and a very restrained John McGinley as a radio broadcaster.
 

Michael Elliott

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A major disappointment for me but I actually knew Hollywood would f&*k this story up.

I love baseball and the Robinson story but I really thought this film was pretty poor and didn't do the legend any justice. I thought the first 80-minutes of this movie were incredibly boring, slow, melodramatic and at times silly. I'm sorry but you can't try to "reach" or "move" the viewer every single second of a film. I thought the early scenes showing how the country were in the late 1940s didn't work at all. For starters, I think the filmmakers think today's viewers must be stupid and everything had to be spelled out. I think the racism should have spoken for itself and we didn't need everything blown up and we certainly didn't need the stupid music score going all crazy trying to get more emotion out of what was going on.

I thought the racism scenes were handled much better in the final forty-minutes when the film finally started to pick up. I thought things really got moving when the Philadelphia manager entered the picture. I thought the racism was much stronger here because we get to see the effect that it personally had on Jackie. These scenes were hard to watch and I liked how they showed what the effect had on Jackie's own teammates. Being from Louisville I heard of Robinson because of the connection to Pee Wee. I thought the scene in Cincinnati were incredibly effective and it's a shame that the entire film wasn't handled as well as this. I should also mention that I saw this right across the river from where the Reds played then and now.

I thought the performances were good for the most part....except for Ford. This role was another problem I had with the film as it seems like the filmmakers were pushing and making this role just so Ford would get an Oscar nom. Everything with the character just seemed to be a "highlight" for when Ford's name was mentioned at the show and they had to play a clip from the film. In fact, I thought the performance was rather hammy.

I'm not sure how others familiar with the story felt but there were several times in the film where characters mention that Robinson won't break and they mention how strong he is. I think the film really failed to show the impact that all of this DID have on Robinson as he died young and it appears many believe this was due to the stress and pain of these first few years in the majors. I think justice to Robinson might have been for someone like Spike Lee to tell the story or perhaps the upcoming documentary will do a better job.

** (out of 4)
 

Aaron Silverman

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If your problem with the movie is that it was too unsubtle, then I don't think Spike Lee is the director you're looking for. :)
 

Colin Jacobson

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Aaron Silverman said:
If your problem with the movie is that it was too unsubtle, then I don't think Spike Lee is the director you're looking for. :)
Ha - yeah, you're right about that. I think a Spike Lee take on the subject would be interesting but I kinda doubt it'd be subtle! :D
 

Michael Elliott

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Spike Lee can be a prick but I think he'd respect history enough to deliver something much better than what we got here. I really don't think he'd go over-the-top ala DO THE RIGHT THING but instead be more honest about what things were like and he wouldn't constantly be relying on a score to deliver emotions that are simply right there in the story.
 

Aaron Silverman

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I dunno about Spike and history. . .he directed Miracle at St. Anna, which might be the worst WWII feature ever made (and I generally *like* his work).
 

Robert Crawford

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Aaron Silverman said:
I dunno about Spike and history. . .he directed Miracle at St. Anna, which might be the worst WWII feature ever made (and I generally *like* his work).
As a fellow Brooklynite, I doubt he would do anything to harm Jackie's legacy. As to Miracle at St. Anna, I take it you haven't seen many WWII features then as I've seen much worse. It's too bad, Denzel wasn't 20-25 years younger then perhaps, Spike could've got some financing to do the story right.
 

TonyD

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There's a box cover quote.Robert Crawford: Miracle at St. Anna "I've seen worse."Just kidding.So what's wrong with 42?Not angry enough or upsetting enough?Maybe but what did you want to see?It's not a history lesson or a doc, it's a movie that tells a part of a story and does it very well and entertains as well.
 

Robert Crawford

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TonyD said:
There's a box cover quote.Robert Crawford: Miracle at St. Anna "I've seen worse."Just kidding.So what's wrong with 42?Not angry enough or upsetting enough?Maybe but what did you want to see?It's not a history lesson or a doc, it's a movie that tells a part of a story and does it very well and entertains as well.
Plain and simple, the film is too much about Rickey and not enough about Robinson and the trials and tribulation he and his wife had to endure during those first few years.
 

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