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42 (Blu-ray+UltraViolet )
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History was made in 1947, when Jackie Robinson broke the professional baseball race barrier to become the first African American MLB player of the modern era. 42 tells the life story of Robinson and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford).]]>
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The film-version '42' written & directed by Brian Helgeland feels very authentic and provides the viewer with a window into the immediate post-WWII American time-period. It is obvious that writer/director Helgeland has great respect & appreciation for Jackie Robinson = embodying both astounding-athlete and courageous-vanguard/'barrier-breaker'
Actor Chadwick Boseman* is a perfect choice for the role expressing the drive-determination-intelligence and uncanny 'equanimity' that allowed Robinson to weather the violent storms swirling all around (i.e. by those not ready to judge people solely on their abilities and 'content-of-character') - It is interesting how cool, calm, collected the real Jackie Robinson always appeared in old news-reels, or even in later interviews - and Chadwick Boseman seems to evoke Robinson's 'inner-strength-of-spirit' throughout the film.
Nicole Beharie is also fantastic as Rachel Robinson = Jackie's wife who is portrayed as intensely-intelligent and 'rock-solid' in terms of lending vital moral (and morale) support to Jackie whenever he needed it most - it's also interesting to note that in real-life, Rachel became an RN and even a professor at Yale Nursing-School.
Harrison Ford takes a surprise turn (but a very good one) as 'Branch Rickey' who was a powerful baseball-Executive and General Manager for the Brooklyn Dodgers during the watershed year of 1947. Ford portrays Rickey as a man with a genuinely 'good' moral-center who feels it unjust to exclude talented black players from the Majors - but also a good-business man who sees great potential to vastly expand the popularity (and ticket-sales) of baseball games by including the very Best players (regardless of race)
I greatly enjoyed this film '42' and I wish I had seen it earlier on the big-screen, but it's most definitely worth watching (or re-watching) at any time of Year = very uplifting and even enlightening, created by filmmakers and actors that obviously care very deeply about the subject matter involved (e.g. Jackie Robinson + racial-equality + Baseball !!!!!)
note: trivia for MARVEL Cinematic Universe fans = Chadwick Boseman will portray the role of hyper-cool-covert Marvel super-Hero "T'Challa/ aka Black Panther" soon to be introduced in the highly-anticipated 'Captain America: Civil War' movie this May and then onto his own standalone film in 2018 (the 'Black Panther' in comics was originally created by Jack Kirby & Stan Lee in the mid-60's and has since had long & auspicious historical-alliances with both the Avengers and Fantastic Four ==> and has been one of Marvel's most intriguing/and complex characters for decades nearly matching Tony Stark's technological-brainpower combined with Cap's strategic-combat skills + benevolent ruler of the 'vibranium' rich African-nation of Wakanda = about time for a starring role in films!)
In the words of George Will as stated in Ken Burns' documentary "Baseball" Jackie Robinson, played by Chadwick Boseman in an academy-award caliber performance, was the first heroic figure of what will become the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Robinson, according to Will, was nearly as important to the movement as Dr. King. This outstanding biopic chronicles the man who challenged current status quo while playing highly competitive athletic competitions amidst jibes, curses, and epithets. To understand what Robinson endured and still be able to compete in professional baseball at the highest levels, is no less than an extraordinary achievement in the human drama of any age of history, according to Wills.
The story is presented from three perspectives: mostly from Jackie Robinson's eyes, occasionally from his wife's (played by Nicole Beharie), and from the perspective of the man who made the controversial move, Branch Rickie, played by Harrison Ford in possibly the finest performance of his career. (My hope is both Boseman and Ford will be nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor Oscars, respectively.) According to the film, Robinson had two gifts, his ability as an outstanding athlete by any standard, and his ability to take the blows of hatred without retaliation. In Ricky's words, Robinson had to be man enough and big enough to turn the other cheek, as Gandhi did in South Africa and India, and as Martin Luther King Jr and the civil rights protesters did shortly thereafter.
On one level the film is a triumph of the human spirit but also a sobering indictment of what America had been prior to the Civil Rights Movement: a racially intolerant nation. Some of the most heroic moments are when Robinson is the target of such vitriolic abuse that he nearly breaks down but finds the courage to rise and take the field again amidst the mockery of opponents and spectators. Nearly as compelling are when his teammates begin to stand up for him and point out the cowardice of his abusers. Even Branch Ricky in one memorable scene, acknowledges that he doesn't know the pain of the abuse thrown at Robinson, and he supports Robinson as if they are both enduring these tests of character together to some degree. In a poignant moment, Ricky reveals why he made the first step towards integrating White Major League Baseball. "42" is without question the best offering in film thus far in 2013. Hopefully, the Academy of Motion Pictures will bring deserved nominations to all the leads, and hopefully the film will garner a few wins. Robinson deserves another home run because he made American Baseball truly the "national" pastime rather than the segregated sport it had been.
If you need my recommendation, it makes sense to get the UV+Blu Ray version package. It sets easily to my vudu collection which is accessible anywhere you can stream video. This is a nice feature when you are at a friends house and want to watch something you own.