The Jackie Robinson story. A great story. The first black man in baseball, a true hero who triumphed over racism and general nastiness not by punching someone in the nose, but by Gandhi-ing them. Turning the other cheek. Being the best gentlemen he could be. By being an shining example.
The movie should have been awesome.
The problem was, it wasn’t. It was boring. Old fashioned. Slow. And worse, they used overly melodramatic and ham-fisted emotional scenes to try and manipulate us. Boo! Booooooo!
Not that there weren’t things to like.
In fact, if you ask me, (go ahead, ask me,) it was as much his story as Jackie Robinson’s. Or the reporter’s story.
And there-in lies the problem. This wasn’t so much a movie as a bio-pic. A series of linear events that work great if you’re Ken Burns, but not so great in today’s demanding movie environment.
Perhaps they were hampered by history, but history didn’t stop Mel Gibson from making Braveheart, an almost completely fictitious account of William Wallace. Freeeeeeeeeeedooooooom!
And the fact that in the beginning credits, they said this movie was based on true events should have meant they took a bit of license with history to make a great story.
Maybe have him defend the world from Zombies? Maybe have him fight off North Koreans attacking the White House? Maybe he kills a giant shark?
Personally, being a know-it-all, I would have chosen just one year in his life. That’s it. The first season with the Dodgers. That part of the movie was the best. It had the pilot from Serenity spitting abuse at him, it had entire stadiums full of people yelling at him, hotels that wouldn’t let him stay, evil runners who spiked him, evil pitchers who beaned him in the head, and all the while Indiana Jones stands beside him, rooting him on.
Number 42, deserved better.
He really did.