Thursday, April 11, 2013

42 (B-)

Bottom Line: Swinging for the fences and only ending up with a double, this compelling and yet often flat and somewhat disjointed account of the breaking of Major League Baseball’s race line would have been more informative via a sixty-minute, same-subject DVR recording on The History Channel.  Ford and Boseman crackle with chemistry as the team owner and player who set a course to see the season through  (and make some money in the process) – but this formulaic yet still inspiring cinematic tale of tolerance and perseverance only strikes a few minor chords in terms of intrigue, sympathy and a simple love for the game.  It’s almost always engaging but never fully moving – I never truly felt the full weight of hatred or that the stakes, with each passing game, had risen.  42 may be a bit anticlimactic and lack a full range of inherent, sports movie emotional depth, but it’ll still please a crowd and hit a homerun in terms of box office success.
Starring: Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford
Directed by: Brian Helgeland (A KNIGHT’S TALE and PAYBACK)
Rated: PG-13
Running time: 128 minutes
Story: Hero is a word we hear often in sports, but heroism is not always about achievements on the field of play. "42" tells the story of two men-the great Jackie Robinson and legendary Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey-whose brave stand against prejudice forever changed the world by changing the game of baseball. In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) put himself at the forefront of history when he signed Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the team, breaking Major League Baseball's infamous color line. But the deal also put both Robinson and Rickey in the firing line of the public, the press and even other players. Facing unabashed racism from every side, Robinson was forced to demonstrate tremendous courage and restraint by not reacting in kind, knowing that any incident could destroy his and Rickey's hopes. Instead, Number 42 let his talent on the field do the talking-ultimately winning over fans and his teammates, silencing his critics, and paving the way for others to follow. (c) WB

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