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Moneyball Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English & French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), English Audio Descriptive Service, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Run Time: 133 Mins
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 20, 2011
  • List Price: $40.99

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BestBuy.com:
Moneyball - Widescreen Dubbed Subtitle AC3

Purchase Moneyball on Blu-ray+DVD+UltraViolet at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are only are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

Now here is a sports movie that finally touches me on a personal level. Even though I, a native New Yorker born and raised, and a Yankee fan from childhood grow weary at the constant portrayal of the New York Yankees as “the evil empire”. Moneyball is a film that I actually lived through and experienced firsthand. I watched that season when the A’s lost to the Yankees only to ultimately meet their demise at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks. And I remember when the Yankees went out and bought Jason Giambi, replacing Tito Martinez at first base. I was dead set against it. “He’s an awful first baseman who does nothing in the clutch” I thought to myself.

Now, they’ve finally made a film about that miraculous 2002 Oakland A’s team, the one that wasn’t supposed to win, after being gutted of the star players by the likes of the Yankees and the Red Sox, and having a budget too tiny to even compete with those teams. General manager Billy Beane (played here by Brad Pitt; The Tree of Life; Megamind), knowing that there was no way he could go toe-to-toe with the big market teams with the small salaries he had to offer, decided he had to look at the game from a different perspective. That perspective would be stats. That’s right, Billy hires a hotshot young Yale-grad mathematician (Jonah Hill; Megamind; How to Train Your Dragon) from the Cleveland Indians who convinces him to see scouting and putting together a team in a new light. Together, they build a team full of rag-tag cast offs on a budget that everybody, including A’s field manager Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman; Magnolia; Boogie Nights) writes off.

This whole idea is an affront to the old guard of Major League Baseball, but Billy and his assistant general manager plug on anyway, even as the team stumbles out the gate, starting out in last place, and they begin to field the inevitable criticisms. But a miraculous turn of events would see the A’s that year going for an unheard of stretch of winning 20 games in a row – the most in the American League ever, and finishing with the same number of wins as the high-paid Yankees.

Of course, Beane’s once groundbreaking philosophy on building a baseball team has now filtered out to the rest of the league, taking away the advantage that any small market teams once had if in fact they were to try this methodology as a means to tackling the problem of how to compete against the 100-million-dollar plus payrolls, which is the grand irony in all of this. Beane, chastised for even trying it, has become the gold standard.

Everything about Moneyball is perfect, from the casting of Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, Jonah Hill as his timid and nerdy assistant GM, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the grizzled old manager hesitant to change with the times, to the underlying story of making something successful come out of a terrible terrible situation. It makes for perfect entertainment that even someone who doesn’t necessarily like or understand baseball can enjoy.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Moneyball looks beautiful on Blu-ray, simply put. Sony has done yet another great job bringing a 35mm production to the format with an AVC/MPEG-4 encodement that is just about flawless. There are inky blacks with nuanced shadow delineation, great contrast, strong color reproduction, and three-dimensional textures in faces and clothing. Film grain is certainly present, only sometimes jumping just a tad, but for the most part remaining consistent and fine throughout.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Audio in this sort of film won’t floor you with lots of sound effects and booming bass, but the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack does a very strong job putting forth the dialogue with a decent spread of sounds across the front and mild atmospherics in the surround channels.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

There are a good bit of HD extras to sift through here, most of a behind-the-scenes nature, but all worth siting through.

The supplements:

  • Blooper-Brad Loses It (1.85:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:11)
  • Deleted Scenes (1.85:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:53):
    • Billy Tells Art: Play Bradford
    • Tara and Billy Dinner
    • Peter Offered GM Job
  • Billy Beane: Re-Inventing the Game (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:16:02) – This featurette offers interviews with Billy Beane himself and various baseball experts discussing that miraculous and game changing (pun intended) 2002 season.
  • Drafting the Team (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:20:51) – A look at casting Moneyball.
  • Moneyball: Playing the Game (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:19:28) – The filmmakers discuss filming and recreating the game playing sequences in the film.
  • Adapting Moneyball (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:16:33) – The filmmakers discuss adapting the book to the big screen.
  • MLB 12 The Show Preview Trailer
  • DVD
  • UltraViolet Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

A pitch-perfect sports drama with excellent casting and a moving story arrives in an equally compelling high definition presentation on Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Moneyball hits a home run on Blu-ray!

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B0060ZJ78U[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Moneyball - Widescreen Dubbed Subtitle AC3

Purchase Moneyball on Blu-ray+DVD+UltraViolet at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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