Matthew McConaughey is typically remembered for his romantic comedy roles...anything where he can take his shirt of and be "sexy" in. Obviously We are Marshall is not that type of film and it is truly refreshing to see him in in something with some real depth and emotion to it.
Marshall University has suffered an incredibly horrific tragedy. A plane carrying nearly the entire football team, coaches, and several townspeople crashes, devastating the entire town of Huntington, West Virginia. Fighting through their grief, students and the remaining players lobby for President Don Dedmon (David Strathairn) to keep the program running, quite a difficult feat when freshman were still not allowed to start in games. Despite the challenges ahead, "the Thundering Herd" keeps going in honor of the lost players...they start from scratch with the team and get ready to play football again.
Coach Jack Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey) takes over as Marshall University head coach and has Assistant Coach Red Dawson (Matthew Fox) help him with recruiting. With only a couple seniors to start his team, he needs to do everything humanly possible to enlist some good players. But with everyone already taken, and nothing new to offer, Lengyel and Dawson need an edge. With the help of the President Dedmon, they get the right to recruit freshman, and start freshmen on the team. But even with a full team, they are inexperienced and there is lots of work to do in training. Lengyel and the Marshall players soon find out that winning isn't everything and that it takes more than strength to win games...it takes heart.
Matthew McConaughey does a fantastic job as Coach Jack Lengyel, especially considering everything from the way he talks, to his field presence, and interaction with the players. Lengyel was a man with great passion...he had a dream and he wasn't going to let anything get in the way of that. McConaughey was the perfect actor for this role, and I had an absolute blast watching him do it.
Sure We are Marshall is not a perfect film. There were predictable moments and some times where it felt like they bumped up the plot to create more drama than was needed. But overall, We are Marshall is one heck of an emotional ride. It is painful, heartfelt, and a journey that is well worth watching.
Here we get a 1080p VC-1 Codec with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The colors here are truly wonderful, especially with greens that pop. The skin tones are spot on, the blacks are strong with only minor detail being lost in darker scenes. There are times when the contrast seems just a little too high, and colors are thrown off a bit. Everything else is fantastic with great detail and very little grain. All and all an extremely clean transfer that won't disappoint.
We are given a 5.1 Dolby Digital track and a 5.1 Dolby True HD track. The TrueHD is a wonderful track with beautiful surrounds. The surrounds consistently have voices, hard hits, and everything in-between filling the room. The bass and highs are evenly mixed and easy on the ears, along with a great dialogue track that is mixed perfectly. The sound track is also very pleasing and easily engages us throughout the film. Overall a fantastic audio track that is well worth a listen. As far as differences between the two, the TrueHD definitely excels in the audio department with the 5.1 having the highs twang and the lows sound a little more mudded. Other then that the two tracks are both fantastic.
Here we get only two features, both of which are on the SD-DVD. The Legendary Coaches feature seems to be in 1080p but feels more like an upscaled 480p. The other feature, Marshall Now is unfortunately only in 480i.
Legendary Coaches: This is actually a fairly good feature that interviews coaching greats, Jack Lengyel, Pat Summit, Bobby Bowden, Lute Olson, John Wooden and George Horton...they talk about overcoming adversity, such as seen in the film. If you are a sports fan this is definitely the feature for you.
Marshall Now: This is an unexpected come-to-our-school promo ad for Marshall University. Seems out of place.
We are Marshall excels not as a sports film, but as a film about overcoming adversity. Marshall University had an incredibly tough past and We are Marshall captures that emotion and engages us the entire time. With a great video transfer and an even better audio track it is easy to recommend. But unfortunately the extras are extremely lacking and for this I hope that there will be another release coming soon. I've got to Recommend this one even with the weak extras package.