Mystery, Alaska

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: John Stanley

Plot: What’s it about?

[Editor’s Note: I would like to preface this review by saying that this is not a kids movie! If you think it’s another “Mighty Ducks”, it’s not…while enjoyable, I’d keep it away from the kiddies…] In the small town of Mystery Alaska only three things matter, hockey, hockey and hockey. Now I should let you know before the review that I am a big hockey fan and the New York Rangers are my most hated team, being a New York native my self, im a die hard Islanders fan but I did not watch this movie with any bias. Actually I was pretty excited when I heard about this movies release seeing as how there’s only about 3 hockey based films out there today, this being one of them, Youngblood and Slap Shot the others (I don’t consider The Mighty Ducks hockey films). The film takes place in a small town in Alaska called Mystery, population…well I don’t know…….50? But believe me when I tell you this is a hockey town, from beginning to end all you notice is skating and ice. Russell Crowe (Gladiator, The Insider) plays John Biebe the town sheriff and the teams captain. The town has what they call “The Saturday Game” this is a four on four organized game played every Saturday by the towns best players. Now I don’t know how many of you know the rules of hockey but normal hockey is played five on five (plus the goaltender) with two blue lines a red line (or the center ice stripe) and boards surrounding the ice. The Saturday game is played four on four, no lines no boards no referees. So back to the story, Charles Danner, played by Hank Azaria, was born and raised in Mystery and left the town years back to write for Sports Illustrated. He returned a few months back to do a story on the Mystery boys and it gained some instant attention. There are many sub plots to Mystery Alaska but to be honest there all pretty weak, there’s the mayors wife having an affair with one of the players, the judges son (also a player) played by Scott Grimes (Critters 1 & 2) not able to connect with his father played by Burt Reynolds(an ex minor league player), but the main theme here is simple, the higher ups see a ratings and media circus brewing by having the New York Rangers come to this small town of Mystery to play the local team. The only problem is that it quickly turns into just that, a circus. The main plot of Mystery is not that deep at all, the idea here is original but unfortunately this film plays out like too many others that we have all seen.

Mary McCormack (Howard Sterns’ Private Parts) plays Donna Biebe, Johns wife and mother of three. The couple runs into some problems when the town committee sees John as to old to play anymore and needing to give way to a younger, much faster player. But as luck would have it the team does play the rangers and John does get to play. Like I said earlier, There really is not to much to say about this film its pretty straightforward and one way. If your into hockey chances are you will like this film, but if your not id say at least rent it and give it a chance because as I will note in my audio/video section this is a pretty good disc. The sub plots that run here are just not deep enough to take any attention off the main plot which is not to deep itself, but there’s is good acting thanks to Russell Crowe and Mary McCormack and even a cameo appearance by Mike Myers, yeah baby yeah! The film was directed by Jay Roach who also directed Austin Powers, maybe the reason for the Myers cameo? Hmmmmm. Anyway, Roach does do a good job at making an average script as interesting as possible for a sports movie. But I remember when this film was being promoted all they hype from this film was the same, “unlike any sports movie you’ve seen,” “finally, an original sports based film,” well the idea is original but the whole package of the film is simply not. Now I wont give it away but I will say that even I was surprised at the ending and it does blow away a lot of sports film clich╬ś’s, but I guess I just expected more. P.S please don’t send me any e-mail about how the Rangers rule and the Islanders suck, ive heard it all before!

Video: How does it look?

2.35:1 anamorphic transfer and this movie just looks great! all around good visuals, the image is clean and clear no signs of any imperfections. This is a good example of how DVD should look. I could think of quite a few movies that could have used visuals this stunning since this movie is pretty much just ice whites and light colors but ill give credit where credit is due, this is film was a pleasure to look at.

Audio: How does it sound?

5.1 surround sound, now aside form the good left to right separation from the on ice audio’s there really was not that much going on here to listen to, but again great sound. Crisp and clear all the channel separations were perfect and the vocals came through with flying colors.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Not to much going on here, theatrical trailer and a nice little 4.5 min. featurette, but that’s all. Still more than Paramount gives us!

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