Jackie Robinson is one of the most legendary figures in sports. He played a good role in getting African Americans a step closer to equal right by proving his mettle in Baseball. It may seem like participating in a sport is hardly an important feat in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly was. Robinson showed that regardless of his skin color, he could keep up with any of the other players. He endured the ridicule and taunts of opposing players and it paid off. I am certainly familiar with Robinson’s life through several books, but it is fun to see it in movie format. (There are probably several more, but this is the first one that I have seen on Robinson) The film does a great job of chronicling his life.
It starts off with his induction into the major leagues as he starts from the bottom and works his way up, before concluding with the end of the season. While Baseball is a big part of the film, there isn’t a whole lot of Baseball action. That can be a good or a bad thing for viewers, but minor issue regardless. I would have liked more Baseball action myself, but it certainly doesn’t stop the film from being really good. The actual story is the important part after all.
Jackie is a likable main character. My only gripe with him, was his treatment towards the reporter. I felt that it was rather uncalled for and the reporter really tried to be a nice guy. Robinson gave a reason as to why he acted in such a way, but it still felt a little out of character. It is an issue that you would expect a person to keep on the inside as opposed to letting it out. Still, Jackie Robinson recovered from this and ultimately got along with his reporter. He was a fun lead.
The owner of the Dodgers, Mr Rickey, is the character who stole the show in this film. He was an incredible owner and I am glad that the film showed his Christian values. Rickey quotes the Bible on several occasions and he is a really upstanding character. It goes without saying that he was my favorite character in the film. Without him, Robinson may have never gotten a chance in the pro leagues and if he did, it wouldn’t have been this soon.
Naturally, we also have some characters who are here to stir things up. Several of Robinson’s teammates signed a petition to get him off of the team and a manager from another team harassed Robinson the whole game. A lot of these characters don’t change their tune, but some do and that’s the important thing. Slowly, but surely, Robinson got people to come around and root for him instead of against him. Pee Wee Reese was one player who had Robinson’s back during the film and it always makes a difference to at least have one ally on the team. Another vocal player helped Robinson out when he was being harassed by the other team. Whether it was because the guy felt bad for Robinson or because he felt like he needed to help a fellow teammate, it was a good act.
There really isn’t much of a soundtrack here, but that is really to be expected. I suppose that this film didn’t need one, but a few good songs during a film have never hurt one. Perhaps a theme from Rocky or an inspirational theme from that style would have been fitting. We never got to see Jackie train aside from one brief scene so that would have been good. The film would have just needed to add on a few extra minutes although it was already over 2 hours.
One reason why the film was so enjoyable was that it was focused. The average film would have started off with Robinson as a kid and then cram in the rest of his life into the 2 hours. This film decided to wait until he was ready to be scouted and that’s good since we get to have a more detailed encounter with this period of time. We even see some scenes with danger as Robinson had to get out of town right away. There were certainly many dangerous mobs back in the day and we can thank Robinson’s reporter once again for getting him out of trouble. (Rickey as well of course)
If there’s one thing that can help to break down racial barrier quickly, it’s sports. Once a player is doing well, his fans will start to accept him. After all, they want wins no matter what and if the Dodgers end up winning the World Series with an African American player, the fans will still want to keep the World Series. I believe that this is one of the reasons why things started to work out for Robinson. If he had been a terrible player, the whole strategy would have fallen flat. Naturally, Robinson trained his heart out to make sure that he did well and it really paid off. It’s certainly way different from nowadays when sport athletes are incredibly diverse. There will always be some racial elements around, but by and large, things have certainly gotten a lot better.
Overall, 42 is a great film and I highly recommend watching it. This is a story of perseverance and an example of how one person can always make a large difference in society. The cast of characters is good and the epilogue was fun to see because a lot of the figures were actually real besides the well known ones. 42 is a number that you will likely not forget after watching this film and this will be the example that I use when telling people how to effectively make a film based on a true story. Films based on true stories typically have a reputation of being dull or simply uninspired, but that shouldn’t be the case. Real Life can be
just almost as exciting as fiction and when handled right, that ends up being the case with films. I’ve seen interesting documentaries on GMOs, so I’d expect one on Baseball to be even much better. Furthermore, this is a film and not a documentary so it should be another step above that. Now, we just need a film to be made on the Dallas Cowboys!