Plot: What’s it about?
Coach Grant Taylor (Alex Kendrick) has just finished another football season and as always, his team wasn’t able to compile a winning record. The Shiloh Eagles might have had some talented teams with dedicated staff and players, but the past six seasons have yielded more losses than wins. But Taylor isn’t just struggling as a coach, as his personal life has also held some tribulations. He and his wife Brooke (Shannen Fields) don’t make much money and even with their combined salaries, barely make ends meet. They tolerate appliances that work only part of the time and make the sacrifices to get by, but this takes a toll on them both. Not to mention that for four years they’ve tried to have a child, but had no success. At the same time that Taylor deals with his own problems at home, he faces the reality that after six losing seasons, his job isn’t secure. The town knows and likes him as a man, but they want to see their team win. Soon Taylor watches as boosters pull back support, players leave the team, and almost everyone seems want him out of his coaching position. But even as things begin to look inevitable, Taylor works through his own doubts and limitations, finding a deeper faith. In this dark hour, can he find a way to overcome the steep odds against him?
If you were to take a group of volunteers from a local church, draft a script, and shoot a motion picture, more than likely, it wouldn’t find distribution. You might show it from time to time, as an example of what the church’s congregation could achieve, but that is probably the best you could hope for. But the Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia didn’t want to make a movie just for the eyes of its members, instead Facing the Giants was to be seen all over the world. As expected, the movie tries to inspire viewers through the message of faith, but don’t expect a fire and brimstone sermon. I usually avoid live action family friendly films, especially ones with religious ties, but Facing the Giants surpassed my expectations. I never would have guessed this was a mostly volunteer production, as the look is very professional, even shot in HD. The cast is solid, but these aren’t top level actors, so some of the performers aren’t as good as others. The Christian values found here aren’t subtle, but at the same time, this is better than Left Behind or similar attempts to combine faith and entertainment. The story is basic and predictable, but works better than it should. I didn’t think I would like Facing the Giants, but I did and I recommend to those in search of worthwhile family entertainment.
Video: How does it look?
Facing Giants is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a rock solid transfer, but the visuals are held back by the film’s budget and equipment limitations. The image still shows great detail and overall, ranks as above average. The depth might not dazzle, but it is a marked improvement over the DVD. I saw no issues with contrast or color either, so we’re left with a more than adequate presentation here.
Audio: How does it sound?
The soundtrack is also restrained by the inherent limitations of the production, so this Dolby TrueHD 5.1 option leaves a lot to be desired. The track packs little punch even in the most active of scenes, which means the audio doesn’t bring much to the table at all. Even the football game sequences have minimal presence, so that is a missed opportunity also. But it isn’t the fault of this mix, just limitations of the material. That’s not to say to that the film sounds bad, it just sounds mediocre. This disc also includes French, Spanish, and Portuguese language track, as well as subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This is a loaded edition, with all kinds of supplements included. The audio commentary found here really confirms how personal this project was and how much those involved believed in the movie, which shows on the screen. There is pride in the end result, but this isn’t non stop self praise, just a sense of pride in what people can accomplish with faith. You can also check out some deleted scenes, as well as a reel of outtakes and bloopers. This disc also includes a tribute to the volunteers, an interview the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, a look behind the scenes of the production, and the film’s theatrical trailer.