Secretariat - Blu-ray Review
By Jeff Swindoll Feb 3, 2011, 13:01 GMT
Get the Best in High Definition for your HDTV with Blu-ray Movies!Behind every legend lies an impossible dream. Witness the spectacular journey of an incredible horse named Secretariat and the moving story of his unlikely owner, a housewife who risked everything to make him a champion. Out of the gate with never-before-seen bonus features, Secretariat is hours of pulse-pounding entertainment for the whole family! ...more
And they’re off… What might put some out is that this race has in a way been run before and the horse in question was called Seabiscuit.
However, just as that horse inspired race fans the tale of Secretariat also causes you to stand up a cheer for this magnificent animal.
Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) is the stereotypical housewife caring for her family, lawyer husband John (Dylan Walsh), and the biggest controversy on her plate is her second eldest daughter Kate (Amanda Michalka) appearing in a anti-war play. She gets bad news from home when she hears her mother has died.
She goes to Virginia to find her father (Scott Glenn) slipping into senility and the family horse farm in debt. Her brother Hollis (Dylan Baker) and John are all for selling the farm, but Penny has many happy memories of it
She’s advised by her father’s best friend Bull Hancock (Fred Dalton Thompson) that the farm has two pregnant mares sired by valuable racehorse Bold Ruler.
Her father traditionally has had a coin toss with millionaire Ogden Phipps (James Cromwell) with the winner choosing the offspring. Penny “loses” the toss but in reality she wins because she gets the horse she wants.
She hires eccentric dresser and horse trainer Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich), with the assistance of stable hand Eddie Sweat (Nelsan Ellis), to bring up the horse.
That animal will eventually be named Secretariat, by longtime secretary Miss Hamm (Margo Martindale, great character actress), and a horse that will make history.
I’m not much into horse races, but if you asked me to name famous racing horses I’d certainly be able to name two – Secretariat and Seabiscuit (and maybe Barbaro – who most recently was in many news stories thanks to his injury – remembered the incident but had to Google to find the name).
Perhaps that both of those thoroughbreds have had movies made about them didn’t hurt either. Seabiscuit was famous in the 1940s, but Secretariat gained fame in the early 1970s. However, both would rally a nation to both of their stories. Secretariat might be more a tale of the underdog as Penny was a woman navigating through the male dominated sport.
Diane Lane portrays her as a headstrong woman who knows what she wants and is determined to get it. John Malkovich adds another eccentric to his list of them as the flashy dresser who has retired from training but is brought in by Penny to bring up Secretariat.
The film has a host of familiar faces (Cromwell, Thompson, etc.) and has the feel of an old fashioned film – not that that’s a bad thing. The kind that Hollywood doesn’t make with regularity anymore, but used to. That in itself was some fodder for controversy since it was shopped by Disney with the faith community as a film the whole family could see.
Even leading to some loopy and vitriolic reviews. I wasn’t offended by Secretariat at all (Seabiscuit did beat him out of the gate) but found it an enjoyable picture. One that the whole family can enjoy – from the youngest to the oldest. There’s nothing controversial (save for Malkovich’s eye watering clothes) and it’s just a great movie about a great horse.
Secretariat is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer (2.35:1). Special features are presented in high definition.
They include a commentary from director Randall Wallace, a simulation of the 1973 Preakness race, the 15 minute “Heart of a Champion” making of, a 21 minute interview with Wallace and the real Penny, a 6 minute bit about how the recreated the races, 10 minutes of deleted scenes with optional commentary by Wallace, and a 4 minute music video.
Disc two is a DVD copy of the film.
Secretariat was truly a great animal whose drive made records that other horses only dream of. His Kentucky Derby performance may never be bested. His determined owner was just as driven as he was. It’s a great movie that deals with both of them.
Visit the DVD database for more information.
FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CDiane Lane Biography -
Diane Lane Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesJohn Malkovich Biography -
John Malkovich Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesKevin Connolly Biography -
Kevin Connolly Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesScott Glenn Biography -
Scott Glenn Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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