Finally went to see 42 last night, at the best theater in the Twin Cities, the Riverview. Split a big buttered popcorn with my honey, and sipped on an ice-cold Mr. Pibb. Delicious!
42 was pretty good, but also pretty standard Hollywood fare.
I particularly enjoyed the digital re-creation of the old ball parks, Ebbets field, the Polo Grounds, Shibe, and Forbes. (Here’s a link to a little article about that…) They did a really nice job of portraying the friendly confines of these cozy old ball parks. (Okay, the Polo Grounds was not entirely cozy.) Below is a shot of Engel Stadium in Chattanooga, where Jackie Robinson actually played some ball, and which they used as a basis for the digital reconstruction of Ebbets Field.
Harrison Ford and Chawick Boseman were both excellent in their roles. I was pleasantly surprised to see Max Gail playing Burt Shotton, who took over as manager of the Dodger’s when Jackie came up to the Majors. I always enjoyed Max in Barney Miller, as detective Wojciehowic. Nice to see him again. I thought more could have been made of his role, but I suppose, with all the characters in this story, they had to pick and choose which stories to develop. Nicole Beharie also did well as Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s wife. I would have liked to have seen more done with her role as well.
The most electric personality in the movie, I thought, was Leo Durocher, portrayed by Christopher Meloni. He didn’t have a lot of scenes, but each one was great. I thought they filmed these scenes in an interesting way; initially they don’t give you a full view of the Durocher, in the first scenes he’s kind of shadowy and wise-cracking. And then comes the scene where he address the team in the kitchen, where he’s dynamite. And then he’s gone. Nicely done, Chris Meloni.
Quite a shift from Durocher to Shotton; I wonder what that story was like? I’ll have to read more about that season.
Overall, then, a very good movie, and well worth the $2 I paid at bargain night at the Riverview. The film had a digital polish to it, as most movies do these days. The music is a bit overbearing, and tells you when the big scenes are, and how to feel; it could have been toned down a bit. And it’s trying to tell a long and pretty complex story in only a few (okay, 128) minutes, and so, naturally, it kind of mostly skims lightly over the story. But it’s a story worth telling and the actors carry the story and make it real.