Plot: What’s it about?
In 1950 the United States put together a soccer team for the World Cup and by “put together” I do mean that it was randomly put together. Made up of a few guys from St. Louis and some east coast players, the team was a mish mash of amatuer, part-time soccer players who tried out for the team. This film is the recollection of a reporter, the only reporter from the US that found anything special about this team. He even fronted his own money to pay for the trip down to Brazil to cover the story. Reporter Dent McSkimming (Patrick
Stewart) believed that the US was going to do great things in Brazil, he had to be there. Flashback to 1950 as we meet a group of guys from St. Louis. None of them are professional soccer players and when the idea of trying out for the team is even mentioned to them, some of them are quick to show skepticism. Despite having their doubts a group of them fly out the east coast to attend the tryouts and without much suspense, 5 of the St. Louis boys are picked for the team. After joining the east coast players in a few practice matches they begin to realize that the way they had played back in St. Louis was not the same way they played on the east coast. After getting frustrated during one of the practice matches, the team begins to wonder why they are even bothering to fly down to Brazil to play, they feel they are going to make fools of themselves and disgrace their country. But after flying down to Brazil and having to face the team from England in the first round, they knew they were going to look bad. But this story has a movie made about it so obviously things couldn’t have turned out that bad, right? Right! The little team that could, ends up knocking England out of the tournament in the first game, 1-0, one of the biggest upsets in soccer history. Here’s England, the inventors of the game and they get beaten by a team that was thrown together weeks before. Although it is a feel good movie about our country doing something that was never expected of them, there are always a few down sides of these types of stories.
The movie didn’t really keep me interested. I knew how it was going to end and getting to that point wasn’t interesting enough to make me actually care about the characters and the team itself. Maybe it’s just me, but thats how I felt. Coming from the writer/director team of such movies as Rudy and Hoosiers I expected more. It’s basically the same formula just a different sport, so what went wrong? Well according to imdb.com, the director was forced to cut a lot of scenes, that seemed like they may have added to the character development, when his budget got cut from $65 million down to $27 million.
Apparently almost a full half hour of the movie was scrapped due to production costs. Do I think these scenes would have saved the movie completely? Probably not, but it wouldn’t have hurt. Even the soccer scenes themselves weren’t very suspensful, again, because I knew what was going to happen and it happens in the first game. In my opinion the movie could have been a lot better. Even with the non A-list actors the acting itself was fine, we even get to see Zachery Ty Bryan of Home Improvement playing on the US soccer team (which he also played on Home Improvement). And an odd choice for the head of the English soccer team is Gavin Rossdale of the rock band Bush, but even he wasn’t half bad with his 3 lines near the end. My point is, obviously the money wasn’t spent on A-list names, so why the movie couldn’t have been made a little better I’m not sure, maybe the story itself just wasn’t as exciting as they thought it would be.
Video: How does it look?
Here’s a positive about the movie, presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, the video presentation looks wonderful. There is definitely a feeling of the 50’s, but with a modern quality presentation, and it looks amazing. I was very impressed with the deepness of the blacks and the perfect depiction of the color palettes of that time period. If anything here is where most of their budget went, a good D.P. and good equipment.
Audio: How does it sound?
All we’re given on this disc is a 5.1 Dolby digital track, which is all we really need these days. I wish studios would put the
5.1 Dolby digital as the standard and give us a DTS track as a bonus, which most of them are these days, but some of the low budget features we’re still stuck with a 2.0 Stereo track only. The sound was OK on this one. I wasn’t blown away and I wasn’t turned away. I don’t think the rear channels are utilized as well as they could be, but the dialogue and sound effects are crystal clear and loud.
Supplements: What are the extras?
None, unless you consider the random trailers at the very beginning of the disc, extras.