Plot: What’s it about?
Jimmy Morris (Dennis Quaid) had a dream of playing professional baseball and he had that dream within reach, only to see it slip past him. He was a minor league pitcher with solid potential, but he suffered a severe injury to his shoulder and with that, his dream was snuffed out. He did find a way to remain involved in baseball however, as the coach of a high school team. He shares his wisdom about the sport with his team, as well as his dream and how close he was. His team prods him to give his dream one more shot, but he refuses, unless they meet his conditions. If the team can make the playoffs, he will tryout one last time. But when his team lives up to their end, what will happen when Jimmy has to live up to his?
I didn’t expect to like The Rookie, as previews made it seem like “based on a true story” schmaltz, a concern not soothed by the fact that Disney was behind the picture. The Rookie does have schmaltz to be sure, even this Disney production with a G rating manages to rise above that. The movie explores the ups & downs of life quite well, with a more insightful look at the heartbreak involved than I expected. In other words, The Rookie is another “feel good” movie, but it does allow us to experience both sides of the coin, at least for a moment. Dennis Quaid is solid in the lead, but no one else really stands out. If you’re a fan of these “impossible dream” sports movies, then you’ll enjoy The Rookie. The movie doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but it uses the tried & true formula well enough. The movie benefits greatly from the high definition visual upgrade too, so if this is one you want to own, this Blu-ray disc is your best option.
Video: How does it look?
The Rookie is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. I wouldn’t call this demo material, but the movie enjoys a marked improvement with this new transfer. This is such a cleaner, crisper presentation, you’ll take one look at the DVD and wonder how you ever watched it. The colors are brighter and bolder, which gives the visuals so much more life, while contrast is accurate and supplies good black levels. The image shows above average detail in most scenes also, with good depth and subtle visible details that give us that high definition look. Like I said, not a flawless visual effort, but The Rookie looks great in high definition and fans should be thrilled.
Audio: How does it sound?
The uncompressed PCM 5.1 option sounds good, but never hits the levels I would have liked. In other sports movies, you feel like you’re on the field yourself, with immersive presence and depth. In The Rookie, the audio is more basic in scope and never puts you inside the action. This is a disappointment, but the movie still sounds good, just not great. The music is effective, while vocals never suffer from volume or harshness concerns.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The same extras from the standard release have been ported over, but nothing new has been tacked on. An audio commentary starts us off, as director John Lee Hancock and star Dennis Quaid discuss the production. Hancock is the main focus, as he talks about the real life inspiration for the movie, the casting process, and general behind the scenes information, while Quaid remains in the background for the most part. This disc also includes a featurette on the real Jim Morris, some baseball tips, and some deleted scenes.