Blu-ray Review: ‘Moneyball’

Coming out on a single-disc Blu-ray package, the 2011 sports film “Moneyball” features the story of a former major leaguer’s struggles and triumphs as the unconventional manager of the Oakland A’s. His unlikely approach draws some controversial and critical issues until his preferred system finally gets vindicated by his team’s record-breaking feats. This award-winning motion picture piece adapted from Michael Lewis’ non-fiction bestseller “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” is based on a true story. It is directed by Bennett Miller and it stars Brad Pitt, Robin Wright, and Jonah Hill.

Visuals

“Moneyball” is a flawless Blu-ray transfer coming from the original material in 35mm film. It delivers naturally pleasing visuals with stunning and crisp details. From its pristine-looking present-day scenes to its more worn-out aging clips and TV broadcasts, the crystal clear images incorporated into the story utilize a strong array of colors with no push towards unnatural shades. Steady contrast is seen throughout the film. Consistently solid blacks don’t encounter serious crushing issues.

There is a heavy layer of grain that accentuates the film’s cinematic texture. Skin tones are always accurate. Shots are free from significant banding, blocking, and other eyesores.

Audio

This dialogue-driven piece clearly utilizes a front-heavy audio track. The subtle but effective sound elements play naturally with both discernible separation and immersive integration throughout the film’s running time. These often include scenes of players in action, crowd cheers and interactions, and broadcast commentaries.

Dialogue is always clear and consistent, while directional effects are often smooth and accurate in enveloping the listener with the story’s varying scenes and environments. Channel panning is always abundant and convincing. Aside from the original five-channel audio mix, alternative options in Spanish and French are also available as five-channel mixes.

Supplements

The package supplies a good number of featurettes and deleted scenes that both casual viewers and movie buffs can enjoy. Its highlighted materials include “Blooper — Brad Loses It,” “Billy Beane: Re-Inventing the Game,” “Drafting the Team,” “Moneyball: Playing the Game,” and “Adapting Moneball.” Additional previews of other movies are also included in the disc. Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, Spanish, and French.

Final Thoughts

“Moneyball” features a great success story based on real-life events. The film itself is a pitch-perfect sports drama backed up by masterful direction, exceptional audio-visual elements, and well-developed and likable characters. Its story of hope goes much deeper than what its main plot presents upfront. It is filled with many gripping and emotional moments that both avid baseball fans and those who don’t necessarily like or understand baseball can appreciate. For this particular Blu-ray release, its technical brilliance and valuable content make it a worthy addition to anyone’s home video collection.


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