Blu-ray Review Flicka: Country Pride Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    A genuinely sweet and well-meaning but completely by-the-numbers family drama, Flicka: Country Pride marks the second made-for-home video sequel to the original 2006 feature film featuring the amazing wonder horse Flicka with a new family to bring her special brand of magic into. This G-rated saga of a family struggling with debts and treachery doesn’t offer a single surprise, but it’s more than competently acted, has some lyrical moments of beauty involving the various horses connected to the story, and leaves one with a buoyant heart when it’s over thereby accomplishing exactly what it set out to do.



    Flicka: Country Pride (Blu-ray)
    Directed by Michael Damian

    Studio: 20th Century Fox
    Year: 2012
    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1   1080p   AVC codec  
    Running Time: 92 minutes
    Rating: G
    Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 French
    Subtitles: SDH, Spanish, French

    Region: A
    MSRP: $ 29.99


    Release Date: May 1, 2012

    Review Date: April 27, 2012




    The Film

    2.5/5


    With her family’s Cheery Creek Ranch on the verge of closing, Lindy (Lisa Hartman Black) and her daughter Kelly (Kacey Rohl) don’t want to face the prospect of losing everything. Into their lives comes Toby (Clint Black), a new short term stable manager who’s boarding five of his horses including the remarkable mustang Flicka at Cherry Creek while his ranch is being repaired. About the only tenants left in the stables are the Meyers family whose eldest daughter Stephanie (Siobhan Williams) is a champion equestrian competitor representing Cherry Creek in various competitions. But this year the team is one member short, so Kelly’s school friend and fellow equestrian contestant Briggs (Max Lloyd-Jones) convinces her to rejoin the team after having given it up when her father died. When she agrees, Stephanie’s jealousy over losing the spotlight to Kelly and possibly losing Briggs as a boy friend drives her to leave the team and take Cherry Creek’s trainer with her to a new equestrian club. Now Kelly and Briggs will have to find two more riders and a trainer to make up a team that can compete in the contest and hopefully score well enough to bring new horses and riders to Cherry Creek.


    Jen Robinson’s screenplay contains every possible plot line you’d expect from a competition movie of this type: a series of catastrophes that the family must endure and still keep their hopes up, romances for both mother and daughter (chaste to be sure, but there nevertheless), montages of training with the horses, and, of course, the climactic competition where it comes down to the final rider (Kelly) to determine the outcome of the contest. Director Michael Damian has done nice work editing together shots of his stars riding and below the saddle shots of the stunt doubles doing all of the difficult aspects of the competition. For those who know nothing about equestrian competition, the film does a good job explaining the rudiments of its three components: dressage, cross country, and show jumping, and the eventual thirteen-minute sequence of the contest, while not seat-gripping, keeps things tight and moving. Of course, the usual mean girl/bullying stereotypes are firmly in place. Children who are gawky or different are scorned by the rich and beautiful Stephanie, and she makes sure Kelly’s magical night at a dance ends in disaster for her thus making her character’s instant psychological reversal at the end all the more poorly handled and dramatically inept.


    Kacey Rohl does the best acting job in the film as Kelly even if her character must do an awful lot of crying for much of the film’s ninety-two minute running time. The film is a real family affair for the Blacks with Clint reprising his role as Toby from the last Flicka sequel (a competent performance but guilty of far too much forced smiling, even at inopportune moments), wife Lisa Hartman Black doing more than adequate work as the belabored Lindy, and daughter Lily Pearl Black just fine as the Meyers’ youngest daughter who much prefers Kelly to her own spiteful sister Stephanie. It’s not Siobhan Williams’ fault that the role of Stephanie has been written as such a one-note spiteful person (apart from that illogical transformation at the end); she has solid technique playing the role. Max Lloyd-Jones as the love interest for both teen girls is attractive and just at ease enough before the camera to get the job done.



    Video Quality

    4/5


    The film has been framed at 1.78:1 and is presented in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Sharpness isn’t quite as strong as one might have expected (and that’s not counting Lisa Hartman Black’s glamour close-ups which are slightly soft-focused), but color saturation levels are just fine and never allow the abundant greens to take over or grow too electric. Flesh tones are very realistic and quite appealing. Black levels are excellent (Flicka’s black coat really resonates in the transfer). The film has been divided into 24 chapters.



    Audio Quality

    4/5


    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix has a strong presence across the front soundstage, but the rear channels seem only to be receptacles for Mark Thomas’ music score and a rich array of pop tunes that are used to punctuate specific scenes of the narrative. There is some dynamic bass used to punctuate the arrival of Flicka’s thundering hooves at Cherry Creek, but that’s the only major use of that particular sound technique in the movie until the climactic maneuvers in the equestrian competition. Dialogue is always easily discernible and has been placed in the center channel.



    Special Features

    2.5/5


    All of the featurettes are in 1080p.


    “The Legend Continues: Creating the New Chapter” is an 11 ¼-minute EPK featurette featuring brief interviews with director Michael Damian, producers Connie Dolphin and Janeen Damian, and stars Clint and Lisa Hartman Black, Kacey Rohl, Max Lloyd-Jones, and Siobhan Williams, among others, talking about making the film and the great atmosphere on the set which substituted Canada for Wyoming.


    “Black Is Back” details how the making of the movie was a family affair for the Black family with husband Clint, wife Lisa, and daughter Lily Pearl all taking part. Director Michael Damian and his wife producer Janeen Damian also comment about the family atmosphere on the set in this 7 ¾-minute featurette.


    The “Let Go” music video is performed by Holly Kay and runs for 4 ¾ minutes.


    The disc offers promo trailers for Tooth Fairy 2, We Bought a Zoo, and Cowgirls ‘n Angels.



    In Conclusion

    2.5/5 (not an average)


    Flicka: Country Pride (which actually has the title Flicka 3 on the film itself and in all of the references to it in the bonus features) is a domestic drama that’s safe for every member of the family. While there’s nothing especially new or different contained in the movie, the wholesomeness and joyfulness of watching the horses in competition may help animal lovers or families with young children who love horses decide to give this a rental.




    Matt Hough

    Charlotte, NC

     
  2. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    The Blu-ray and DVD releases of this film are Walmart/Sam's Club exclusives on street date (5/1/12).
     

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