Secretariat (Blu-ray + DVD Combo)

DVD Reviews | By on Jan 24th, 2011

Starring: Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Amanda Michalka, Margo Martindale, Dylan Walsh, Scott Glenn, Kevin Connolly, Dylan Baker
Written By: Mike Rich
Directed By: Randall Wallace
Studio: Disney/ Buena Vista
Buy On Amazon.com

Secretariat is a movie I wouldn’t necessarily go out to see in the theaters, but it’s definitely one I’d watch at home…which I did. The film is uplifting (no surprise) and a typical sports/Disney film, which isn’t really a bad thing in my mind.

The film Secretariat is about the race horse of the same name and the owner Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) of the horse. Penny is called to her hometown in Virginia because her mother passed away. Her Father is also ailing and can’t take care of the stables anymore. Penny decides to take things over, despite her lack of knowledge in horse racing. Instead of selling off the farm and Secretariat (also known as “Big Red”), she decides to keep it and gets help from a veteran horse racing trainer Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich). Not to be a spoiler or anything, but the horse becomes one of the greatest race horses of all time!

I don’t know much about horse racing or the stories behind it. It’s exciting to watch movies about it, especially ones like this one. I’d imagine it was tough for Randall Wallace to direct scenes during the racing scenes and try to match what really happened. Secretariat had one of the most impossible leads of any horse racing match and the record hasn’t even come close. I guess the horse had a heart double in size, so that could explain that record? I’m not sure if everyone will like this movie, considering it feels like every Disney or sports movie that has come out like Seabiscuit, Miracle, The Rookie, Invincible and other movies. You get the idea. But I enjoyed it and like movies like Secretariat. For me, movies based on real stories are usual more enjoyable sometimes.

Randall Wallace and the great ensemble cast brought the story of Secretariat back to the forefront with this movie. It didn’t make any noise at the box office but it will probably do well in households. I didn’t know the story of Secretariat, although the name sounded familiar, so it was nice to watch this movie and get familiarized with the story. The camera angles and shots were nicely shot, because it felt like you were right there riding the horse. It had a Saving Private Ryan feel to it, only it was for horse racing. The one thing I didn’t like about the movie was the use of the gospel songs. Haven’t we heard that oh Happy Day song in enough movies already? I think having a better, more uplifting score might have been better than using some gospel songs.

The Blu-Ray/DVD combo has a decent amount of bonus features. There’s featurettes about re-creating the races, a conversation with the real Penny Chenery, audio commentary, multi-camera angles featurette, a music video, deleted scenes and a few other things. The re-creating the races and the Heart of the Champion featurettes were my favorite in the collection. The DVD only has a few things on it but since I saw the Blu-Ray, I didn’t watch the movie on DVD. The film looked great on Blu-Ray, which it should since it’s a new movie.

Secretariat is a good horse racing movie that may or may not have be enjoyed by all. I never really knew this story before so I enjoyed it despite the movie being a little flawed in areas. I think it’s something to watch on a cold Sunday afternoon though.

Features:
Choreographing the Races – Discover How the Filmmakers Used Innovative Technology To Re-Create Breathtaking Races From Days Gone By
A Director’s Inspiration: A Conversation With The Real Penny Chenery – Randall Wallace Sits Down With Secretariat’s Owner As She Shares Astonishing True Stories
Audio Commentary By Director Randall Wallace
Secretariat Multi-Angle Simulation – Relieve Secretariat’s Triumphant 1973 Preakness Run From Numerous Perspectives
Heart of A Champion – An Inside Look At Secretariat, One of the Most Famous Thoroughbred Horses Ever Known
Music Video – It’s Who You Are by AJ Michalka
4 Additional Deleted Scenes

Video:
Widescreen 2.35:1 Color

Screen Resolution:
1080p

Audio:
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1
SPANISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles:
English, Spanish, French

Bottom Line: An enjoyable movie about the life of Secretariat and Penny Chenery
Running Time: 123 mins
Rating: PG
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating:

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