Cue the ridicule and prejudice. And you know how the rest goes: Jackie proves himself to be one of the best in the game, helps shatter segregation in baseball and becomes one of the most important figures in sports history. Throughout his career, Robinson was rookie of the year, the NL MVP and a six-time all-star. In his first year of eligibility, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and, on the 50th anniversary of his debut season, his jersey was retired by all of MLB.
Written and directed by Brian Helgeland (better known as the writer of Mystic River and L.A. Confidential), 42: The Jackie Robinson Story is exactly the kind of movie youíd expect a movie about Jackie Robinson to be. There are struggles then victories, then more struggles, then more victories. Then some more victories. 42 is one of those biopics designed solely to make you feel good. There, of course, isnít anything wrong with cheering by the end of the picture, but when the story itself is so well known and documented, thereís no room for risk outside of those taken by the historical figures. This is a movie so broadly brushed and safe that itís hard not to imagine what Spike Lee or Robert Redford would have done with the material.
Boseman and Ford must have known just how thin the story is in terms of cinematic drama, but they, along with Helgeland, still cared enough to want to be the ones who help bring it to the big screen for the first time since The Jackie Robinson Story which, as it was released while Robinson (who played himself) was still a Dodger, was an incomplete effort. And even though the movie is about as compelling as any of its TV movie counterparts, both actors do a fine job in their respective roles: as Rickey, Ford balances the line between doing whatís right and making a profit; as the lead, Boseman shows he may be more capable of an actor than his safety zone suggests.
Full-Contact Baseball (10:05): This featurette looks at both baseball in the 1940s and the castís training.
The Legacy of the Number 42 (9:17) touches on Jackie Robinsonís times and significance.
Also included a DVD and UltraViolet.