“42″ Movie Review

So two things happened for me this past Monday, April, 18th. The first was I pulled an all-nighter going Sunday into Monday because I had to give an informative speech about Oriole Park at Camden Yards amongst a couple other assignments. I then planned to take a nap after I got done with classes, but I wanted to eat lunch and prepare for the baseball game I would attend late that night. Then, of course, I would actually go on to actually attend the game. After that, though, I made plans to go see “42″ with Sean for Jackie Robinson Day. I initially called him right after the game, but he didn’t respond. Once I was at the Metrodome, I got a phone call back and Sean told me to get off the bus. He then picked me up and within fifteen minutes, we got pulled over for speeding over a bridge. It was now Sean’s second ticket since bringing his car up after spring break; more than he had gotten ever in Illinois. So he wasn’t happy to say the least, but I found it interesting that we were ticketed for going 42 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone on our way to “42″. Eventually, though, we did make it to the movie just as the trailers wrapped up to watch “42″ on the most fitting day we could think of:

42-movie

Let me start with I really did like this movie as a movie. Obviously this movie brings with it the baseball element that I am partial to, but I tried for the sake of this review to distance myself as much as I could from the baseball part of it and tried to just look at it for the movie itself and as one would look at the adaptation of a book. Except in this case the book would be real life and how the events actually played out.

I really don’t have any clue how to order this, so I’ll be going all over the place and just touching on things from the movie as they pop into my mind. Bear with me if it seems like I jump from one thing to another. Actually, you know what; I’ll just bullet/number it so you know when a new idea begins/ends:

  • I really like how Chadwick Boseman portrayed Jackie Robinson really well. He didn’t try to go to big with the character. He also did a good job of preserving the humanity of Robinson. The Jackie Robinson that Boseman was a hero not in his own mind, but in those of others, which is more real than putting Robinson on an absolute pedestal like the temptation might be for a movie like this.
  • While I liked how Harrison Ford played Branch Rickey and he didn’t do a bad job of it, I feel as though he caricaturized him   too much in playing him. There was a lot of scrunching his face and talking with his mouth half-closed. It’s hard to explain, but you’ll see it if you watch the movie.
  • They recreated Ebbets Field beautifully, however they did it:

Ebbets_640_i1gqf1dc_yz17h8h0

At times I could tell that it was a minor league stadium or wherever that they were filming the scenes, but for the most part, I could have believed that the movie was taking place at Ebbets Field.

  • Alan Tudyk did a great job of playing what I think was the closest thing the movie had to a singular antagonist. I say this because this movie really didn’t have a single antagonist. There were really many people in the movie who merely were the antagonist for that portion of the movie until a new antagonist took his place. If it’s possible, I’d say that the concepts of racism and close-mindedness as a whole were the antagonists of the film. Anyway, Tudyk did such a good job of making you hate him as a racist that he stood out from all of the other characters. And then, something I found interesting, is that in the aftermath of the game in which his character, Ben Chapman, verbally abused Robinson, instead of further pushing the caricature of the raging racist when Chapman talks to the press about the things he was saying, he actually sounded calm and reasonable. By his body language and tone of voice, he seems like someone you could agree with. It’s only after you think about what he was actually saying to the press that you realize he is still completely racist. Then, something I found interesting was they had a scene where Chapman was being reprimanded for his actions by his boss (I forgot if it was the general manager or owner) and is being told that he will have to make amends with Robinson for PR purposes. It humanized him in a way that made you *almost* made you sympathize with him. This is again, why there was no true antagonist.
  • The movie was overly-dramatic at times. The moment that sticks out in my mind is that the movie plays  the music you would normally play during the climax of the movie–like, say, when Roy Hobbs hit his home run and rounded the bases in slow-motion as the lights burst from the baseball hitting them–while Jackie Robinson took a shower. I get that it’s a big deal that he was taking a shower with his teammates, but it’s still a shower; there’s no need to make it *so* dramatic.
  • I don’t know if I like or dislike it, but they didn’t go far at all into Robinson’s playing career. I’m not sure how long exactly, but I think they only went about 2-3 years into it.
  • The movie didn’t use any of the quotes either Robinson or Rickey have been known for. I like this because it veers the movie away from being seen as a baseball-lovers movie. What the movie did a good job of was emphasizing the fact that it was a human story told through the means of sports and not just a sports story that happened to have human elements.

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got for the moment, but I really did enjoy the movie, so if you have the chance, go see it. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, I would definitely recommend it. And as a baseball fan, it served as a reminder of what exactly happened. It’s easy to glaze over the history of the game and think “Oh, Jackie Robinson Day. I know that Robinson broke the color barrier and all. Whatever.” But this movie reminds us what exactly that means and why his number is the only number retired in all of the major leagues and why he also has a day dedicated to him. So super short summary: It’s a good movie; go see it.

8 Comments

Great review Mateo. I havent seen it and you really pushed me to do it. I hope you can also review other relevant sport movies here. It would be interesting getting your perspective.

Someone- Wow. I’m glad I could help. Hopefully I recommended a movie you actually enjoyed. As for reviewing movies, I don’t know about that, since again, I haven’t watched many, but I’ll definitely remember that as an idea for entries to write this next offseason when I have more free time.

Solid review. It’s not perfect, but it will make you proud to live in a world that we live in, and that’s what matters.

CMrok93- Wow. That was a very concise way of putting it. I should have just had you write the entry and it would have saved me a lot of time :)

Great review, Mateo. You really made me want to see it and gave it a very warm touch. I also really like the other comment about the audience in the theater and how it was sold out. That’s a testament to the people who know what’s important.

Anonymous- Thank you. And I liked it too. It’s a nice thing when a good story like this gets the recognition it deserves.

It’s funny, I also own “The Jackie Robinson Story” on DVD and it’s so funny how dramatically different the two movies are. For instance, in this movie Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) is a lot manlier, tougher, and has more inner thoughts than he did when Jackie Robinson played himself.

I did notice that Harrison Ford was a bit dramatic with how he acted as Branch Rickey but it was not enough to bother me. Tudyk also did a great job making me hate him.

I also loved at the end where you find out the kid is Ed Charles.

I think this next paragraph a true testament to how this movie is not just a baseball movie. The theater was filled with what seemed like non- (or casual) baseball fans. My twin brother and older sister both saw it and they loved it. Keep in mind that neither can name more than a few baseball players. The people in my theater gave it a standing ovation. I saw it Opening Night, and it wasn’t crowded. This was because “The Place Beyond the Pines” was filmed in Schenectady and the premiere was the same night. There were lines out the door and they had 3 separate theaters showing it. But the next day 42 was sold out.

Anonymous- Interesting. One fault of mine is that I have never watched most baseball movies, so I have never seen “The Jackie Robinson Story” among many others. As I kind of alluded to in the entry, I watched the movie at 11:00 after the Twins game, so there really wasn’t much of an audience, and the audience that was there I couldn’t see since we arrived while the trailers had started, but I might go see it again, so I’ll try to pay attention to who’s there if I do.

Hello, observers of baseball. Let me know what you though of the entry no matter what you thought of it. Additonally, let me know if you'd like to see me do anything in specific or what I'm doing right or wrong when I do write entries.

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