The Natural (DVD, 2007, 2-Disc Set, Director's Cut) Reviews
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The Natural (DVD, 2007, 2-Disc Set, Director's Cut)

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The Natural --- Starring Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, and Kim Basinger

Feb 27, 2006
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:great cinematography, very strong story, superb acting, best baseball movie ever.


The Bottom Line: The Natural is a flat out great movie that has everything from superb acting to a strong story that covers all of the human emotions.

There are arguably only a handful of films that are categorized as the best baseball films of all time. Depending on who you are, the top of the list will include Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, and The Natural. It is my humble opinion that The Natural is at the top of that list, and though the other two were really well made movies, there are things that set it apart in my opinion. The Natural came out back in 1984, and was directed by Barry Levinson. At the time, he was not very well known, and really hadn't proven himself in Hollywood. He later directed films such as Rain Man, Good Morning, Vietnam, and Wag The Dog, but it was with The Natural that he really got off the ground. I cannot give all the credit for the great film to Levison though, because it was based on an equally good novel written by Bernard Malamu. If you have read the book, and seen the movie, you already know about the differences, so I won't blow that, but lets just say that they take a different approach on how the audience gets to view the main character. In the film version we are shown an all-American boy who is going to realize his dreams of making it to the big leagues.

Robert Redford is Roy Hobbs, a man from nowhere, who seems to have no past, and appears one day to play for a New York ball-club. He is not your average rookie, as he is in his mid to late 30's, and doesn't look at all like a new baseball player should. The coach wants nothing to do with him at first, but when he is given the chance to stand in the batters box for the first time, he shows exactly why he is around. Hobbs possesses an awesome bat speed that generate some thunderous power in his swing. He starts cranking hits over the outfield walls, and suddenly everyone has to stop and stare at this old man who keeps hitting home-runs. Aided by a bat he claims to have constructed himself, he is putting on quite a show for everyone in the stadium. The starter of his position though, is the star of the team, and he won't be seeing any playing time, even if he can hit the cover off the ball. That is, until fate steps in, and the right fielder is seriously injured from a collision with the wall. Hobbs is going to have his chance to prove what he is worth in the big show now, and the only thing stopping him from being successful will be his own demons.

Now lets take a step back from the basic plot of the story, to actually look at what this film is really about. Beneath the obvious baseball theme of the story, The Natural strives to be much more than that. Using a mixture of deep-threaded plot lines, as well as the mystery surrounding Hobb's past, a very in-depth story about Roy Hobbs starts to emerge. Rather than spoon feeding us a story about his past that we should focus on, and instead of telling us what our opinion of him and other characters should be, the story evolves in a way where each audience member can come away with their own view of what the movie is actually about. Viewing a film like The Natural, you can get lost in the developments of the story, and you can see that there is a deeper meaning behind the actions of each of the main characters. There is something waiting to be discovered about what makes each of them tick, and the actors/actresses that are in the film all do a great job of portraying their roles. When you look at what a protagonist or an antagonist actually is, you may find yourself unable to fit most of the people into this story into one or the other, or you may find yourself pulled in one direction.

Outside of Hobbs as the main character, I alluded to the fact that there are many other great supporting characters. One such character is a reporter named Scotty Carson, played by Robert Duvall. He is a very colorful man, who often draws up cartoons to go with the articles that he writes. Feeling that he is a true master of his own craft, he thinks it is role in life to dig through stories until he finds the meat that holds them together. With Hobbs, he has come across a mysterious man, who has no past, yet reminds him of someone he has met before. Unable to place a name with the face, he puts himself on a quest to get to the bottom of who Hobbs really is, without a care about what consequences might entail, or who may get hurt along the way. We then have Kim Basinger as Memo Paris, a women more or less "owned" by the owner of the team, who takes a liking to Hobbs behind his back. She is not quite as she seems though, and twists another facet into a plot that has so many sub-stories that you may lose track that it was a film about baseball to start with. Finally, it what could be her best role, we have Glenn Close, who even in silent parts of the film, brings a ray of light to the film. Yes, that is a true play on words that you will understand by seeing The Natural.

There is something important that I should point out if you are going to view The Natural for the first time, and that is my opinion that you should do so without any interruptions. There are so many things to pick up on this film, that I feel the best way to enjoy all of it, is to focus through its entire length. The DVD comes in at 134 minutes, so you don't have to worry about it being too long, but I think that if you devote the necessary time to the film, you will come away enjoying it even more. The Natural is one of those films that is shot so that you know which scenes are going to have an impact. Character lighting, as well as scenery plays an important role in how you view segments of the film. When I first watched, I was actually in awe about some of the sub-text, and when I watched it a second time, I was further impressed by just how well the story is developed from beginning to end. The baseball scenes are made exciting by the actors involved, and in just about every other instance Robert Redford carries the film for us. I have enjoyed this film more every time I have viewed it, and it is a timeless classic in my opinion. I highly recommend this film based on the strong story, the great acting, and the time that was spent making the camera angles and coloring work so well.

This film made my list of The Top 10 Movies of All Time

Recommend this product? Yes

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Farm boy Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) is the best baseball player anyone has ever seen. His bat, handmade from the wood of a tree felled by lightning fo...
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