I’ll admit that I had never seen Major League from start to finish until I got this DVD. It’s something I’d been wanting to do for years, but knowing that a new DVD edition had to be coming down the pipe eventually, I waited—and it was worth it, in some ways.
Major League isn’t as hilariously funny as I had been expecting it to be after hearing how much people loved it, but the film is really more plot driven than most comedies—and it certainly had more substance to it than I had expected. It’s odd to talk about a comedy that way, but between the handful of cursing and what little slapstick comedy there is, the film manages to create a meaningful relationship between the characters and keep the viewer interested in what happens off the field.
But hey, it’s Major League. This movie has been loved by many since it’s initial release and watching it now, for what essentially amounts to the first time for me, is quite interesting. The main reason for this is because of how many actors they had in this film prior to their big Hollywood days. Wesley Snipes (“Blade”), Dennis Haysbert (“24”) and even a small part for Neil Flynn (“Scrubs”) where he just drops the F-bomb a couple times, but nonetheless it’s quite entertaining.
It seems silly to talk about Major League in any type of critical way considering how long it’s been out. Unless you’re like me and have never seen it all the way through (I doubt very much that many of you are like me), you know the plot and you know just how bad ass the finale is with “Wild Thing” blaring through the speakers. Major League is both a comedic and baseball film classic and should be added to your DVD collection.
Of course Major League should be added to your DVD collection! That’s a no brainer. However, this isn’t the first time this film has been on DVD and this will mark the second release this film has gotten on DVD.
The DVD packaging starts off gimmicky enough, with an “astroturf” cover (mine seemed to shed a bit of turf) that really puffs up the package (and takes up extra shelf space—into the box with the rest of the slipcovers!). Underneath it is a standard DVD cover that’s neither annoying nor unattractive. Interior disc art is extremely plain and no insert is given—oh well. Menus are quick and easy to navigate.
On the transfer side, the audio and video aren’t super strong, but get the job done. Video is a bit shaky in the beginning with some color flickering over the intro, but seems to get better as the film goes on. It’s not a pristine transfer, with some scenes looking a bit soft, but overall it’s satisfactory. This isn’t a film you need to see in HD anyway (despite what recent “now lets see how this bruise looks in HD” commercials might make you believe), so what we get here is fine. I would, however, have liked a bit more power from the 5.1 track, which is quite dull in rear channels (would’ve liked to hear some balls whizzing through or a bit more oomph in the “Wild Thing” finale), but again, it gets the job done. Everything’s clean and clear and at the end of the day, that’s all you need.
With the special features we get a comfortable mix of what you expect from a DVD. The commentary track is lively and full of great insight from the director and producer and really lets you in on their thoughts on where they shot, how the actors were on set and what they would like to have changed if they could reshoot it. It’s a nice track that goes by fast (just like the film) and rarely lags, so it’s easy to listen to and not dull in the least.
Three featurettes are found on this set, one chronicling the making of the film and featuring new interviews with Sheen, Berenger, Haysbert, Bernsen and Ross chime in with their thoughts from the acting standpoint, while David S. Ward and Chris Chesser speak their mind on the film and where the plot came from. This featurette is quick, but for a comedy packs enough information into it and leaves you feeling with a satisfactory behind-the-scenes look in the end.
The other featurette, “A Major League Look at Major League” features interviews with MLB talent speaking about their enjoyment of the film and what the film means to them. This is a cool featurette to watch, as you can see the film really inspired some of the guys on here to become ball players and how some even watch the film as a pre-game ritual.
A final featurette is on Bob Uecker and his inspiration for the character and other stars and MLB talent speaking about their thoughts on the character. Combined with the other two featurettes, these three make for a cool look behind the scenes of the film.
An alternate ending is also given, with the Rachel Phelps character actually being a mastermind behind the new rag-tag Indians team which she had planned to do good in the end after all. This ending, while neat to see, is definitely unneeded in the grand scheme of things in the film, as she’s set up as a character to hate and having to not hate her in the end kind of kills the mood a bit. It’s more satisfactory to see Willy Mayes Hayes slide into home knowing that Phelps will be pissed off than it is to see her celebrating.
A few other special features round out the set, including a tour of Cerrano’s Locker, which looks oddly recent with it’s video quality, but I assume it was shot during the filming of Major League—not sure. A behind the scenes photo gallery is also included, as well as some semi-forced trailers at the beginning of the DVD (you can skip them one by one, but hitting the menu button on the remote does nothing).
Overall the film is a lot of fun to watch and this release is a definite improvement over the original barebones release. It may not be the best treatment for a classic comedy, but it’s certainly satisfactory—especially considering the very low price point (it’s the same price as the bare bones). Whether you own the film on DVD already or not, this one is worth owning. Highly Recommended.