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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Comedy > Sports > Football > Invincible (2006/Blu-ray + DVD)

Invincible (2006/Blu-ray + DVD)

 

Picture: B/C+†††† Sound: B/C+†††† Extras: B†††† Film: B

 

 

Rivaled only by Superhero genre films these days are Sports films.That does not make them all good, but at a time when things are so bad for the U.S., it is no surprise that people have an interest in seeing good people win and triumph over all kinds of adversity.Of course, that does not make every film good and makes laypersons not familiar with film wonder if that is all the studios can come up with.Yet, both cycles continue to produce hits, even surprise hits, the latter of which is exactly what happened with Ericson Coreís Invincible.

 

Taking place in the 1970s when the Philadelphia Eagles were a wreck of a team, an overhaul was taking place and many went out to try for the team, a team that even its own fans will boo if they mess up.One man who was interested was a bartender named Vince Papale, who had the then-perceived handicap of being age 30!God forbid!!!

 

Papale (Mark Walhberg, pulling off a good performance, no matter how familiar some of his tone is here) is a good guy who loves the game and always dreamed.Still wanting to go out for the game and hearing about the open tryouts, he goes.To the shock of himself, his family and his friends, he makes all the initial cuts.Then comes the final cut and after being told he cannot do it and being harassed by young tryouts, he makes the final cut and is an Eagle!

 

Of course, if he did not make it, there would be no film, but the Brad Gann screenplay is exceptionally smart and makes the story constantly compelling with nuance and attention to detail of the working class at that time that it makes the while film that much more palpable.Like any good sports film, the events just keep happening and coming at the audience without MTV editing or stupid biopic breaks.It has the kind of heart, soul and energy the better sports films (Miracle, We Are Marshall, Glory Road) offer and will be remembered when the cycle ends as one of the most interesting of all.

 

The supporting cast is also a big plus, including Greg Kinnear as the coach Dick Vermeil who takes the chance on Vince, Elisabeth Banks as a love interest, Kevin Conway as Vinceís father Frank, Michael Rispoli and Michael Nouri.Oh and if you still do not understand the title, think ďin-Vince-ibleĒ.Get it?

 

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is a bit more of an improvement than usual over the anamorphically enhanced standard DVDís 480-line version which has some breakup and digititis issues, especially when viewed on larger screens.Director Core is a cinematographer (Daredevil) and lensed this as well, using some filters along with other darkening techniques to give the film a semi-urban character that does not always translate into a 1970s look or sports look, but works more often than not for the film.Why the DVD has these issues is unknown, but Blu-ray is the way to go.

 

That extends to the sound, with the PCM 16-bit/48kHz 5.1 mix richer, fuller and even warmer than the standard DVDís Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.Both may be favoring the front three speakers, but this has surround moments and the use of hit records from the time is interesting, especially when heard in PCM.When songs surface, they do not just show up one and go away MTV style, they sometimes show up again when people play them again on a vinyl 45s jukebox or the radio repeats it because it is on rotation on the local Pop/Rock FM station.Though not as clever as what Kubrick or Scorsese might do with the music and narrative, this is more realistic in the way we might think of Michael Ciminoís use of Frankie Valliís classic Canít Take My Eyes Off You in his masterwork The Deer Hunter (1978, reviewed elsewhere on this site).

 

Great records included here are Jim Croceís I Got A Name, Steely Danís Do It Again, Carole Kingís Itís Too Late, Dobie Grayís Drift Away, Bachman-Turner Overdriveís Let It Ride, Edgar Winterís Free Ride, Lee Michaelsí Do You Know What I Mean and Aceís How Long.I note these in particular so audiophiles and fans can compare the PCM from the Blu-ray with their CD and vinyl copies.Mark Isham also turns in one of his better scores of late.

 

Extras in both versions include two really good feature length audio commentary tracks.One has Core and editor Jerry Greenberg, while Papale is joined by screenwriter Gann and producer Mark Ciardi on the other.We also get a good featurette entitled Becoming Invincible Ė The Vince Papale Story showing the real life Papale in action with new interviews and vintage footage of his classic games.The Blu-ray offers addition access options and another featurette entitled The Vet.With all that, the Blu-ray beats the DVD across the board, but if you cannot play that format yet and have not seen this film, catch it as soon as you can because it is one of the best films we have seen in the recent Sports cycle that has been going on these last few years.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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