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The Game Plan

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: PG (For Some Mild Thematic Elements)

Running Time: 110 Minutes

Starring: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Kyra Sedgwick, Morris Chestnut, Roselyn Sanchez

Screenplay by: Nichole Millard & Kathryn Price
Story by: Nichole Millard & Kathryn Price and Audrey Wells

Directed by: Andy Fickman

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Deleted Scenes with Optional Introductions by Director Andy Fickman, Bloopers with Marv Albert,  Drafting The Game Plan, ESPN's Sportscenter: The Rock Learns To Play QB, ESPN's Sportscenter: The King In Search Of A Ring, Peyton's Makeover Madness Set-Top Activity

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (20 Scenes)

Released: January 22nd, 2008

 

 

"The Game Plan" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen (a full screen version is available separately). It's a solid, if flawed, transfer. I suppose I'll get the bad out of the way first: contrast and what I think are filters makes the image distracting at times, as there is a lot of mosquito noise and edge halos throughout the film. There's a little bit of grain too, plus the slightest hint of edge enhancement.

Other than that, everything's smooth sailing. The image quality is very sharp, fleshtones look great and color saturation is deep and bold: be it the greens of the football field or the steely colors of Joe Kingman's condo. Detail is quite good too, and the transfer is seemingly spotless when it comes to dirt and blemishes. I'm not sure if the kids will notice or care, but if you're an adult and have to watch it with them, you might as well enjoy the picture quality.

 

The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track isn't astouding, but it does a good job. Dialogue is very crisp and easy to hear, and the music - such as the Elvis songs and Nathan Wang's genial score, has a strong showing through the channels. Subwoofer use is good, and the surround effects have a bit of a punch to them, even if they aren't always discrete. Still, some of the comical hijinks use the rear speakers well, not to mention the roars of those football fans in the stadium. Best of all, everything is evenly mixed and not one sound element overpowers the other.

Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in French and Spanish are also included, as are subtitles in English, French and Spanish. 
 



Given the film's success, it's no surprise this disc comes a bit packed. First up are nine Deleted Scenes, with Optional Introductions by Director Andy Fickman. Some of these are actually extensions, but no matter: Fickman gives very detailed accounts of why he trimmed the movie. There aren't any great losses here, but I imagine some kids will like the extended ballet sequence. Without the introductions, the scenes (in anamorphic widescreen), run 16 minutes.

Famed sportscaster Marv Albert comments over three minutes of Bloopers. The mess-ups are pretty amusing, but I did enjoy Albert's riffing.

Drafting The Game Plan is an enjoyable 20 minute look at the film's production. It's entertaining, and really covers a lot of ground: Fickman discusses parts of the movie and the actors discuss their characters. Key components are discussed too: how The Rock was looking to do a family-friendly movie with a sports vibe, casting the young actress, Fickman's work ethic and more.

ESPN's Sportscenter: The Rock Learns To Play QB is a three minute, 33 second is a promo-esque piece that shows how The Rock learned how to look like a real quarterback (it should be noted though that The Rock actually played defense for the University of Miami in the early 1990s). There's also ESPN's Sportscenter: The King In Search Of A Ring which has the cast (in-character, I guess) discussing how great The Rock's character Joe Kingman is, as well as some issues they have with him. Eh.

Finally, there's a cute game for the younger ones: Peyton's Makeover Madness Set-Top Activity. It's actually an easter egg, but is easy to find on the main menu (just hit the remote on the table). Now everyone at home can re-decorate Joe Kingman's apartment into a mecca for eight year-old girls.

 

"The Game Plan" was a surprise sleeper hit during the fall of 2007, grossing over 90 million dollars domestically, and I'm sure the DVD will be an even bigger hit. The film's presentation looks and sounds quite good, and I'm sure the kiddies will enjoy much of the extras (though older fans might want to look for the Blu-Ray version of the movie, which has a commentary with The Rock and director Andy Fickman). I'm sure if you have a family then you'll be adding this to your collection, but given the quality of the disc, it's a justified purchase.