Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sasaki Time's Blu-Ray Review for McFarland, USA

McFarland, USA is another in the long line of inspiring sports films to come from Disney. I have seen every sports film that Disney has made and will continue to do so. I love watching inspiring true stories of the underdog coming out on top. How does McFarland, USA stack up to the likes of Cool Runnings and The Rookie? Let's find out.

The movie stars Kevin Costner as Jim White, a coach whose shortcomings have led him to one final shot at both teaching and coaching. His last incident has taken Coach White and his family to the small rural community of McFarland, California. This is a poor farming community where the future is bleak. The town and it's people have given up hope and struggle through each day.

After an incident at McFarland High, Coach White finds himself not coaching and running out of options. After watching his P.E. class he notices that he has several fast runners and has the wild idea of starting a cross country team.

His cross country team is made up of seven young boys who lack discipline and respect for one another. Slowly, the team comes together and Coach White even takes it upon himself to see what a day out on the field with some of these boys means. This opens his eyes to the struggles that not only these boys but the entire community are going through. Coach White begins to embrace all that is around him and the community begins to embrace him as well.

All the time Coach White is spending building his team, he is also spending less and less time with his family. But as his eyes open to his team and community, his eyes also open up to taking care of his family. He begins to repair the damage he has caused.

The McFarland cross country team is now the most watched cross country team in the state. All appears to be going in the right direction for Coach White, his family and the entire community until a fateful accident happens that threatens the safety of his family. This accident makes Coach White start to think if there are better opportunities out there for not himself but for his family.

During this the McFarland team makes it to the first ever state finals. The team realizes that their coach may leave after this race. What will happen?

Video Quality

The 1080 AVC/MPEG-4 encoded video is another perfect video transfer that we have come to expect from Disney. The details from faces to clothes are sharp and crisp. Colors just pop and are bright and vibrant.

Audio Quality

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is a little less perfect. While the dialogue and the music is crystal clear the audio mix doesn't take advantage of the surround sound leaving the majority of the audio to the center channel.

Bonus Material

McFarland Reflections: My favorite and most substantial of the bonus material. You get interviews with the cast and crew along with the real life people that the movie is based on.

"Juntos" Music Video

Inspiring McFarland: Interviews with the crew and some of the cast discussing the movie's story.

Deleted & Extended Scenes: A collection of scenes that help round out Bello's character as well as some of the runners.

Closing Thoughts

Another great sports film from Disney. The underdog strives through adversity to come out on top. Fantastic performances from not only Costner but the entire cast. Some decent bonus material round out a stellar visual blu-ray. This film will not only warm your heart but convince you that the American Dream is for everyone.

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