Article: 42: A Review
Posted 14 April 2013 - 08:35 AM
Overall, it was a decent movie that lacked emotion and softballed Robinson's time in Montreal (he struggled for quite some time adapting to his "experience" and the fact that his manager despised him) and even made his time in Brooklyn look relatively easy. Instead of showing how the fanbase was extremely mixed, many of his teammates hated him (more than was shown), and how Jackie was completely alone, the movie opted for the socially acceptable white man's viewpoint and made the turning point of the movie about Robinson's white teammates instead of about Robinson himself.
I left the theatre feeling "meh". The movie could have been so much more than it was but it didn't have the balls to show just how bad it got for Robinson and how much he did it by himself.
But kudos to Ford, who played a far more convincing Branch Rickey than I ever expected to see. Easily the best performance of the film (though Boseman's performance as Robinson was quite good as well).
Posted 14 April 2013 - 11:33 AM
how was baseball, a sport so steeped in tradition and history, at the forefront of integration? Because of the work of two men: Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson.
Edited by handler, 14 April 2013 - 11:42 AM.
link to article's original location
Posted 14 April 2013 - 11:49 AM
He says its basically a Disney movie with the N word.
No substance or depth.
I'm still going to see it, but that's disappointing if true, Jackie Robinson deserves better than that.
Posted 15 April 2013 - 07:12 AM
Wow! A lot of negative critiques. Both metacritic and rotten tomatoes are very positive on the film. Personally, I'm looking forward to it.
It's not a bad film by any means. The performances range between acceptable and very good and there are no glaring weaknesses in the film.
But as someone who knows a little more about the story, it feels flat (and my fiancee, who knows nothing about Robinson that wasn't told in Burns' documentary, said the same thing). The emotional impact that should be there... Isn't. Instead of really delving into the character of the man (his court martial, his activist nature), he just comes off as frustrated for most of the film. The film glosses over his time in Montreal and how much his manager didn't want him there and it implies that Brooklyn fans either embraced him or were indifferent, which wasn't necessarily the case (obviously). The film completely skipped the agreement between Robinson and Rickey, where Jackie agreed to turn the other cheek for three seasons but after that point, was allowed to "fight back", which he did (quite gloriously). The movie needed to either start earlier in his life or end later. The time frame chosen left out too many important points of the man, what he did, and why he did it. Instead, we only got a small snapshot of Robinson that ignored many of the key moments that led to Rickey choosing him and what happened after that fateful rookie season.
This is one of the greatest stories in American history. This film, while decent, didn't do that story (or the man) justice. It felt, for a lack of a better term... White-washed, in more ways than one. A "let's feel good about ourselves" instead of showing the true ugliness of the situation and how Robinson fought through it and ultimately died from the stress of that choice just a few years after his retirement.
Posted 15 April 2013 - 01:38 PM
Posted 15 April 2013 - 01:56 PM
I think bio-pics lately have been lacking overall. Not that there hasn't been some good ones (J Edgar), but Lincoln for example. It wasn't about Lincoln. It was about the struggles to get the 13th amendment passed. I felt it lacking on so many levels based on what I expected it to be. '42' has undoubtedly had the same affect on many for the same reasons.
Lincoln was a much better movie, though (I never saw J Edgar). I quite enjoyed Lincoln until immediately after the "I wish I could stay... But I cannot." line, which was brilliant.
Then the movie went into fifteen minutes of attempting to wring emotion out of me and achieved the exact opposite. Speilberg had gold in a final line and then tried to force emotion onto the audience and failed miserably. Someone should have stopped him and told him that audiences already know that Lincoln was going to die and ending the film with the implication that he knew he was going to die was much more powerful than ramming images of crying children down audiences' throats, which damned near ruined a powerful movie for me.
But for most of the film, audiences got a feel for who Abraham Lincoln was as a man, artificially constructed or not. 42 did not give me that same feeling upon leaving the theatre.
Posted 15 April 2013 - 08:55 PM
Here's another way to consider the distinction--movies like Lincoln and Amazing Grace (another excellent movie about slavery) address the political dimensions of racism. There is very little action in either movie.
42 suceeds by addressing socio-political change through the medium of sports, and action. The live-action scenes are quite good, and the feel of a 1950's ballpark is recaptured. There are ugly moments too. The script is effective in capturing the cruel way that one man can use language to vilify his fellow man, and how small acts of compassion--and humor--can defuse hate.
My wife and I took our two boys, age 9 and 8. They love baseball, and I think they caught something more than just an entertaining movie. At their age, I'm not sure Lincoln would have been as meaningful, or memorable.
When the credits rolled, the moviegoers clapped, and some cheered. I can't remember the last time I heard a theater full of people do that. I'm not afraid to say that I was clapping, too.
Posted 16 April 2013 - 11:48 AM
I just saw the movie yesterday and I thought it was fantastic. I didn't actually know that much about the story beforehand, and it was really eye-opening.
Yes, it could have gone into more depth and covered a lot more stuff, but the movie is already 2:20 long.
I took my wife to see it, an she isn't really a baseball fan but she loved it. I plan to take my daughters to see it as well.
The bottom line is, that this movie is targeted towards the general audience, not hardcore baseball guys. People who may not really know much of anything about the story. It may not include all of the context, and it certainly tones down the actual threats and language hurled at Jackie, and the struggles he had. Again though, you can only fit so much into one movie, and as near as I can tell most of the changes are by omission rather than actually changing the events that happened.
Like reading the book before watching the film, if you come in knowing a lot about the events and the characters, you may be sorely disappointed. But if you are new to the story, this is a fantastic way to discover it.