Disney’s latest sports offering Million Dollar Arm was released on blu-ray & Digital HD/Disney Movies Anywhere last week (October 7, 2014). The film is based on a true story and is the story of a sports agent (JB Bernstein) who came up with the long shot idea to host a pitching search/contest in India to identify two major league prospects. He then brings the two winners back to the United States and they train with a coach at the University of Southern California for a Major League Baseball tryout session. Along the way life lessons are learned by JB as well as the Indian players. This is very much in the mold of previous inspirational sports films by Disney, Miracle and Remember the Titans.
The Blu-ray set includes the Disc as well as a Digital HD Copy/Disney Movies Anywhere. On the disc there are a half dozen bonus features, all relatively brief and consistent with most offerings you see now a days. A couple deleted scenes, an alternate ending, outtakes, a quick listing of the music, a look at the actors training for the film and a very short featurette on the real story.
This was my first time seeing the film, I did not catch it in theaters. I found it to be a compelling story and found the cultural/setting differences to be very interesting to see. The movie is more about family and transition than baseball in the end. The story centers around the competition but it is not a “baseball” movie. It is a people movie at its core. You have these two young boys from a village/town in India who have never played or thrown a baseball before take up the sport and move to a Los Angeles to train and have to deal with learning the sport, to pitch, English, a new culture as well as being far from home for the first time. This creates some comic relief throughout.
I did find it interesting that only a couple of scenes were actually filmed at USC. They walk through the center of campus and one in the baseball hall of fame. The field shots are not Dedeaux Field, instead they were filmed in Atlanta (Georgia Tech I believe). For all you USC fans out there, Rey Maualuga also makes an appears as Popo Vanauta in the film.
All in all I did enjoy the film, but think it could have been tightened up a bit.. it clocks in at just over 2 hours running time and at a couple points you could feel it. I thought the bonus materials on this Blu-ray offering were on the light side too.