Fenway Park: 100 Years As The Heart Of Red Sox
Nation (MLB/A&E DVD)/Games Of The XXX Olympiad: London 2012
(Gaiam Vivendi Blu-ray Set)/New York
Mets: 50 Greatest Players (MLB/A&E DVD)/San Francisco 49ers: Team Of The ‘80s (Dynasty Collection/Gaiam
Vivendi DVD)/The World Series: History
Of A Fall Classic (MLB/A&E DVD Set)
(Olympics: B-) Sound: C+ (Olympics: B) Extras: C/B/C+/B-/B Main Programs: C+/B/C+/B-/B
Here is a
new round of really good sports releases that cover just about every sport you
can think of.
Fenway Park: 100 Years As The
Heart Of Red Sox Nation shows that it is sometimes better to leave some stadiums standing,
the 96 minutes here are pretty thorough and covers how beloved, key and
enduring the title locale is and how much is means to Boston Red Sox fans
through stills, a generous amount of vintage film & video footage and new
interviews that add up to a solid-enough program. I wonder if they quit too soon or while they
were ahead, but it is well-made and worth a look. The 100th Anniversary Pre-Game
Ceremony is the only extra.
range of sports is covered in Games Of
The XXX Olympiad: London 2012, now in a nice Blu-ray set that is split into
a great montage and mix of extended highlights of every competition with key
and winner moments throughout and a second disc with extras that include
Swimming and Track & Field sections, profiles of Allison Schmitt, Michael
Phelps & Allyson Felix, Misty & Kerri Together Again, Women Of The USA
– History In The Making and the Women’s Beach Volleyball Gold Metal Match. All was very impressively recorded, edited
and presented here, looking and sounding better than even the HD broadcast,
cable and satellite coverage. Never
slap-ash about anything, this is an impressive set that captures the heart and
soul of the event, including opening and closing ceremonies. Impressive!
self-explanatory New York Mets: 50
Greatest Players runs a very short 67 minutes, but is rich and interesting
enough to cover what it sets out to cover, proving there is more than enough
talent in the team and its history to match the Yankees and the many other
teams in the league for the century-plus it has existed. Well edited and with rare footage, this is one
I thought could have been longer, but these programs assume some knowledge and
connection with local fans, yet this might have relied a little more on that
than it should have. Stil, it is good
enough, but is for fans only for the most part.
Extras include four game clips (1969 World Series Game 5, 1986 World
Series Game 7, 1999 Wild Card Playoff and 2006 Mets Clinch NL East Division)
and featurette Origin Of The Mets.
is a first volume before the Steelers volume we already covered elsewhere on
this site, The San Francisco 49ers: Team Of The ‘80s chronologically
picks up where that volume left off.
With The Steelers in decline, a new team had to rise up and become the
next force to be reckoned with and like the Pittsburgh team, the 49ers were considered a
disaster, though they did come from a great city. Enter Coach Bill Walsh, who comes in and
rebuilds the team into stunning winners and the key is “West Coast Offense” and
some great players.
key is Joe Montana, a quarterback who becomes the greatest of them all since Terry
Bradshaw and the best in all the NFL for his entire career, even when a few
others won Super Bowls or at least tried.
His combination of skill, flexibility, movement and pinpoint throwing
along with his great attitude, teamwork and love of his team guaranteed he
would make several successful Bowl trips and it put the team on the map of the
great ones forever. This is not always
the case with successful quarterbacks, but because he cared and had the heart,
soul and generosity, the 49ers became a dynasty too.
by Tom Wopat, the documentary is a little shorter than the one on the Steelers,
but no less effective as we get to know the players, situations, city and
history in a series of classic, even landmark NFL moments. Even if you are not a fan, this is great
coverage of the team.
also take a moment to pay tribute to the founder of NFL Films, Steve Sabol, a
great man who died when I was watching this.
He convinced the league to form this archive and it is so outstanding
that it rivals all other sports archives and in its dedication to preserving
and restoring its films, even the major Hollywood
movie studios. He leaves behind an
amazing legacy and one that gives the NFL a dimension of greatness and
endurance it would not have without him.
include two vintage NFL Game Of The Week
films: the 1981 NFC Championship and Super Bowl XVI.
we have the four-DVD set The World
Series: History Of A Fall Classic which takes its first two discs to deal
with every series by eras which are almost every decade, but with variations
with consideration to events like WWII. If
you like baseball, have a favorite team with any world championship success (or
even failure and no success), you’ll find them here in this set. I was impressed with how exhaustive,
extensive and watchable this all was and is.
To see film footage going back to the 1900s is amazing and this is all
well done and well edited.
things that come across as flat as Bob Costas narrating this (I wish it was
someone with a less calm tone) and TV documentarian Ken Burns being here seems
like overlap throughout, though he obviously knows the subject. Otherwise, this is a strong set and a
must-have for serious fans.
across the last two DVDs include a silent section of souvenir programs and
scorecards (though they should have also included it in a frame-by-frame form),
Ceremonial First Pitches, Ultimate World Series Lineup, some World Series
Clinchers, Interviews with World Series Participants, Clubhouse Celebrations
and World Series MVP Award Winners.
1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Olympics is easily the playback picture winner here and not just
because it is the only Blu-ray. Color
quality and stability of the image is superior to most HD-shot narrative
releases we have seen over recent years making the ceremony and games look so
good that even if you saw it on HDTV, you’ll be surprised by how nice and clean
this all looks. Yes, there is motion
blur, some flaws and detail issues at times, but breakup and other anomalies
are at a minimum and I was pleased with even a few demo shots in all of
this. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X
1 image on the DVDs are even with mixes of older analog video, vintage film
footage that usually looks great and new interview footage, plus some of the
games are HD shoots where applicable.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix is on Olympics is exceptionally rich and warm throughout with Pro Logic
type surrounds actually present if you wish to try them out, while all the DVDs
offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with their share of monophonic audio
throughout, sounding as good as can be expected.
- Nicholas Sheffo