FIELD OF DREAMS (Blu-ray Edition)|
Universal Studios | 1989 | 106 mins | Rated PG | May 26, 2009
Written by David Hillyer
May 28, 2009
Ray Kinsella has a problem. His cornfield talks to him. His cornfield tells him things that would mean little to someone else, but they hit on Ray's issues. Before long he decides to plow under his corn and build a baseball field. He goes on a cross-country journey, kidnaps a famous author, meets a dead doctor, and picks up a young hitchhiking baseball player. Then people start walking out of the corn. Sounds like an interesting horror movie.
Field of Dreams is one of those movies that you either love or hate. It all depends on your world view. If you believe everything has an explanation, a specific cause and effect, there is no spiritual or other powers at play in the world... then this movie will be intolerable for you to watch. However if you believe that there are mysteries left in the world, that life is a journey and there are powers and things going on you'll never understand... this movie will be on your top 10 list.
Casting Kevin Costner in the title role was a huge risk. Costner had just come from Bull Durham (another baseball movie). While the movie really isn't about baseball, it was being marketing as a baseball movie. But they took the risk. They assembled a wonderful cast in Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta, Timothy Busfield and Burt Lancaster. The Blu-Ray brings out every freckle and skin imperfection in each of the actors.... but it makes them all seem more real. Robinson created a masterpiece that will be viewed by many generations to come.
Of course, the 1080p Blu-Ray version of Field of Dreams is much better visually than the previous DVD versions of the film. We can say that of most Blu-Ray movies. So, yes, it looks the best ever. However it also has the side-effects of older filmed movies. The film shifts slightly up and down in the title credits and crane shots. The amount of film grain is also heightened with Blu-Ray. It's not a huge distraction but it is noticeable.
This Universal catalog title uses the same menu template as Friday Night Lights, Cinderella Man and others. While it is easy to navigate and make bookmarks, there is an annoyance. If you pause the movie, the Universal screen saver will come up. When you want to start watching the movie again, logically you would press the “play” button. But that is not allowed. You then might press the “pause” button to “un-pause” the movie. That is also not allowed. Instead you have to use the navigation button/wheel and press 'right' to get it going again. I'm certainly in favor of easy to use menus, but there is also something to be said for menus themed specifically to the movie.
A Diamond in the Husks (standard definition, 17:41) is a short documentary about the Dyersville, Iowa farm that hosted the film. The Lansing family that owns the field has turned it into a tourist attraction. They interview the owners and talk about how they were approached up to present day where they even have a team called “The Ghost Players”. Galina, IL, Pinch Hits for Chisholm, MN (standard definition, 5:35) fetures a tour of the Galina, IL movie set sites and goes through some history of the town. Field of Dreams: A Scrapbook (standard definition, 1:29:51) is an original documentary about the making of Field of Dreams. It is an excellent piece about the background of the movie and what it took to get such an unusual movie into theaters. Bravo Special: From Page to Screen (standard definition, 46:06), hosted by Peter Galligher, is a special from Bravo TV that follows the history of the novel and movie. Much of the interview with the principal actors is seen in other clips, but there are also unique sections talking about the story.
There is also a Feature Commentary with Director Phil Alden Robinson and Director of Photography John Lindley. This is the same commentary as on the DVD and is fascinating if you are interested in filmmaking. There is plenty of inside information and trivia, however there is no commentary from the actors. The Theatrical Trailer (standard definition, 2:24) is complete rubbish and basically gives away the entire movie.
Ray's issues are so common to the experience of most people. He has regrets of things said and unsaid with his father... and perhaps that is where this movie connects with so many. Field of Dreams is one of those movies that has a profound impact on many people. It's a story that brings reconciliation and healing between a father and son. There have been countless people who watch this movie and find themselves in tears at the end. Grown men have found the strength to go and talk with their fathers. Few movies can claim such a legacy.
But the movie is about more than that. It's also about the power we have in each moment to effect those around us. “Moonlight” Graham played one inning of one game. He touched what he thought was his dream of playing major league baseball. But in the end he chose to become a doctor and because of that choice, he found his life mattered in ways far beyond baseball. He moved beyond a life of being a baseball statistic, to improving and blessing the lives of those around him. The questions stirred up by this movie, and the answers that follow are what makes it such a great film and a great Blu-Ray.