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MAJOR LEAGUE ($30) is a highly enjoyable sports comedy that has stood the test of time, remaining popular for twenty years and earning the right to be considered a minor classic of the genre. The plot of MAJOR LEAGUE tells the story of a fictionalized version of the Cleveland Indians baseball team, whose long-standing record is the worst in the league. Said record inspires new owner Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton), to try and exploit a loophole in the teamís contract with the city, as a way of relocating the club to the warmer climate of Florida. All Rachel has to do is reduce attendance at Municipal Stadium to below 800,000 ticket sales, which will automatically void the team's lease.

As a means of achieving her goal, Rachel instructs her general manager to hire the worst team possible- and hands him a list of pre-selected misfits and passed their prime players to fill the roster. MAJOR LEAGUE stars Tom Berenger as over-the-hill catcher Jake Taylor, as well as Charlie Sheen as pitcher Ricky Vaughn, who throws a blazing fastball that he canít control and Corbin Bernsen as overpriced prima donna Roger Dorn, who is more interested in securing endorsements than actually playing the game. The terrific supporting cast of MAJOR LEAGUE also features James Gammon, Rene Russo, Wesley Snipes, Charles Cyphers, Chelcie Ross, Dennis Haysbert, Andy Romano and Mr. Baseball himselfÖ Bob Uecker.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made MAJOR LEAGUE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation isnít likely to set anyoneís world on fire, but it is pretty nice for a twenty-year-old catalog title. Image sharpness and detail are certainly respectable, but MAJOR LEAGUE never appears as crisp or polished as a brand new movie. Of course, this isnít a flaw in the presentation, which reflects exactly how the cinematography should look. Color reproduction is quite pleasing, with some nicely saturated hues and natural looking flesh tones. Blacks are just fine, as are the whites. Contrast is generally smooth, while shadow detail is pretty average for this type of non-demanding material. The elements from which MAJOR LEAGUE has been transferred display a few blemishes, but nothing excessive. Grain is ever-present, which helps maintain an organic quality.

MAJOR LEAGUE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. The sound is of good quality, but as another talky comedy that was produced during the Dolby Surround era, MAJOR LEAGUE isnít going to hit one out of the park. As expected the majority of the sound is localized front with some nice channel separations. Less activity is directed to the rear channels, with an exception of ambience, crowd noises and musical fill. Thanks to the lossless encode, the music portions sounds reasonably nice, but not up to the standard of a brand new movie. Sound effects have a dated quality, but then again, nobody watches MAJOR LEAGUE for the sound quality. Dialogue is cleanly rendered and always easy to understand. French and Spanish Dolby Digital Monaural tracks are also provided. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with writer/director David S. Ward and producer Chris Chesser. Featurettes include My Kinda Team: Making Major League (twenty three minutes), A Major League Look At Major League (fourteen minutes) and Bob Uecker: Just A Bit Outside (thirteen minutes). An Alternate Ending With Filmmaker Introduction, A Tour of Cerranoís Locker and a Photo Gallery close out the extras.

Twenty years down the road, MAJOR LEAGUE is still good fun. While not a demo disc, the Blu-ray presentation should please fans.



Major League (Wild Thing Edition) [Blu-ray] (1989)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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