Coach Carter Studio: Paramount Year: 2005 Rated: PG-13 Length: 136 Minutes Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Audio: Dolby Digital English 5.1 Special Features: 2 featurettes, deleted scenes, music video Estimated Street Price: around $20 USD Release Date: June 21, 2005 Someone pulled out an old, dog-eared playbook for this film, an all too familiar sports film / “teacher takes a stand” film. I don’t have enough fingers on both hands to count how many times this formula has played out before - and I do have a full complement of digits. Though based on a true story from not so long ago, this film offers nothing fresh in the plot department. It is reasonably competently directed, and there are some good performances offered by actors who are able to deliver regardless of the depth of the material. Samuel L. Jackson makes this film watchable, turning in a solid performance as Ken Carter, the new coach of the Richmond High basketball team. The real life Carter gained media attention a few years back when he locked the team out of the gym and canceled games because of their poor academic performance. Carter was harshly criticized by most in the community, who thought that the only chance their kids had was with basketball. Carter sticks to his guns, however, and gains the respect of most of his team for standing up for his beliefs. The game sequences are nicely choreographed, resulting in some exciting plays caught on film in new ways. Unfortunately, the play sequences are cut together in a way that don’t inspire any anticipation for the ultimate result - a downfall second only to the tired formula for the film. Coach Carter isn’t a bad film. It is competent, for the most part - and performances are strong all around. It’s just that the formula has played out. Its time for a new playbook. The Transfer Coach Carter is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and it is anamorphically enhanced. The image features good detail and sharpness, with only a rare instance of visible enhancement. Compression artifacts are rare, mild, few and far between. Contrast is outstanding, offering solid black levels without losing detail. Whites are bright without being blown out. Colors are nicely saturated and natural in tone. Overall, quite a nice transfer of a clean source print. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Frequency response is very good, with solid bass and clear highs. My only complaint is the heavy bass in some of the music, which sometimes blocks out detail in the dialog. I doubt, however, that this is a fault of the Dolby mix on DVD - it seems likely that this is a good representation of the source. Much of the music is simply not to my liking - and that may be part of the problem. Special Features The featurettes are not anamorphically enhanced. Featurette: Coach Carter: The Man Behind the Movie This 20ish minute featurette is a visit with the real coach Carter, his family, and some of his former players. Included are comments from Samuel L. Jackson and others. This is the real story behind the movie. Featurette: Fast Break at Richmond High This is a “behind the scenes” at the basketball camp that got the actors and extras in shape to play the game on film. Includes raw rehearsal footage, on-set footage, and the creation of animatics that helped to determine camera positions and lens choices. Deleted Scenes Six deleted scenes, anamorphically enhanced, with a “play all” feature. Some of these are really good scenes. I always wish for a director’s commentary on deleted scenes so I can hear the reasoning behind the cuts. Sadly, there is no commentary here. “Hope” Music Video by Twista featuring Faith Evans Final Thoughts Fans of Jackson, and fans of this genre in general may well enjoy this... others may want to pass. If you like the film, Paramount has delivered a solid transfer - and thrown fans a bone with a couple of extras.