The Natural: A DVD Review
- Updated: January 28, 2009
What more can be said about the movie that many consider to be possibly the best sports feature film of all time? While it has its competitors, The Natural (Director’s Cut) should no doubt be at the top of the list.
Modeled after the classic novel by Bernard Malamund (The Natural’s book review was featured here earlier this month and can be read in the link provided), the movie follows the story line about as well as movies tend to follow the books they are based off of. While there are no doubt some major parts of the novel left out, or altered a bit, the main plot and many of the sub plots from the novel were very well represented in the movie.
The 144 minute feature includes everything a baseball fan could want in a story line from great pitching to coaches talking about the game to realistic portrayals of how the game would have been played when the novel was written.
Just as he did in the novel, Hobbs uses his own bat that he personally made from a tree in his backyard to wow those with his fictional team, the New York Knights.
As one might imagine, a major part of the movie is Hobbs’ attraction to women. While one nearly permanently derails his career a day before he is to try out for the Chicago Cubs, he shows sixteen years later that he is still susceptible to the touch of a woman as his affairs with one indirectly lead to his hitting slump.
The movie takes a twist when over the halfway point through the movie Hobbs meets the girl whom he was head over heels for has a teenager. While their conversations are awkward, a very intriguing secret comes out of this encounter which leads Hobbs to end his career on the best possible note.
There is no doubt that the movie can be better understood after reading the book and the producers of the film did a great job forming most of the major characters to those in the book.
While the movie is a little juiced at the end for those in Hollywood, it is not unlike most other sports movies where the hero fights through adversity to hit the winning homerun, shoot the winning basket or score the winning touchdown.
The two disc DVD provides some extra features for the viewer that would be of interest. The viewer now has the option of watching the movie with the director’s commentary at the beginning as well as the original version seen in theaters. There are also the normal set of extras on the second disc that those who are really interested in the story would find enjoyable.
There is really no doubt that all baseball fans, or all people for that matter, should take the time to watch this movie at some point. While it does teach some important baseball lessons, it also teaches very prominent lessons about life in general. The entire film is full of nostalgia through various story lines that all intertwine and fit together nicely at the end of the feature.
The Grade: 5/5
Bill Jordan is a contributor to BaseballReflections.com. He can be reached by e-mail at BillJordaniv@yahoo.com.