Pros:Great real-life drama with a powerful message.
Cons:A bit corny at times.
The Bottom Line: Definitely not your normal Hollywood -- great cast, great film, and a great story with meaning. Hard to find nowadays.
Recommend this product?
I thought this was an excellent film and was well done in several aspects. First off, the talent is top notch with the phenomenal Denzel Washington in the lead as Coach Boone. Not to be overlooked and a very unappreciated talent is Will Patton as Coach Yoast. Both actors play off of each other well and I believe Patton has the more difficult role as someone who starts out against the protagonist, Coach Boone and gradually comes around. I also thought his accent was top notch.
The youngsters they found for the football players were outstanding with Wood Harris as Julius Campbell and Ryan Hurst as Gerry Bertier getting special mention. They too have difficult "transitional" roles where their characters start out cold and set in their ways and gradually turn around. Both of these young men do an excellent job.
The football scenes were great in an action sense. I love football but I'm hardly a tactician of the sport so I can't tell you how realistic they were. However, the film does a great job of lending import to the games but making it clear the games were not the focal point of the journey these characters, and their real-life counterparts, took together.
The direction was well done in virtually all aspects. I thought the final victory scene looked too contrived but this is a common fault in most films. Overall an excellent job was done for this "low budget" film. It certainly doesn't seem low budget when you're viewing it.
First of all, there are TWO different DVDs for this movie so please don't complain about there not being a widescreen version because there definitely is one. In fact, the Widescreen Edition is stellar with both Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks. A big plus just for that alone given my preference for DTS.
The extra features on the Widescreen Edition are stellar. About the only complaint I have is the disc doesn't let you change audio while watching the movie, you have to go back to the menu to change it (a minor annoyance).
This is more than made up for with the supplemental material which includes some great featurettes and, best of all, commentary tracks from the real-life Coach Boone and Coach Yoast. This is a great way to find out what in the movie was real, what was exaggerated, and what was made up. Much to the surprise of many cynics you will find they approved of the film and there is little that was changed for dramatic purposes.
All-in-all this is an outstanding film and an outstanding DVD, I highly recommend it. For those who didn't think it was "realistic" or the language was toned down, I say hogwash. Sit your kids down and MAKE them watch it. Films like this will hopefully inspire future generations to better their relations with people of another race, another culture and another creed. Certainly we need more films like that.