When it Was a Game 3
HBO
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted June 2, 2001
M O V I E
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version
The Movie:

Although I'll admit that I haven't seen the first in the series, I was instantly amazed and impressed after sitting down for "When It Was A Game 2". There are constantly sports history programs, and you can likely find on on a Sunday afternoon if you flip the dial enough. Yet, none of them really captured the magic of the sport like "When It Was A Game", with not only interviews from the players but personal thoughts from celebs.

"Game 3" focuses on the 1960's, when it was becoming apparent that baseball was shifting away from the old-time sport that many had grown up with and more towards a business. New players like Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax became stars of the day. Interviews here are just as wonderful as the previous edition. We hear thoughts about the game from Bob Costas, Billy Crystal, Kevin Costner (who has the perfect "narration" voice) and even "Eight Men Out" director John Sayles. There's so many great stories to be told about various players and their most impressive moments.

The combination of the elegant score, phenomenal never-before-seen footage and intelligent/informative narration really engaged me throughout the program's hour-long running time. It's a wonderful program that captures the magic of the sport better than many of the sports history programs that I've seen in the past few years, which makes it all the more unfortunate that more couldn't have been done with the DVD's release. I'm not a huge baseball fan anymore, but watching "When It Was A Game" really brought back my memories of sitting in the stands, with the sun pouring in, waiting for "play ball" to be announced. I hope that the series will continue onwards towards present day.


The DVD

VIDEO: Like the other "When It Was A Game" programs, this is old footage that was shot by players and families/friends on basic cameras. That said, I was somewhat suprised at the good condition of much of the footage that was shown. Everything varies, though. Sharpness is very good at times, and at other times, the image looks soft to hazy.

At the same time, flaws go in and out. Some of the footage is in excellent condition with little wear, while other scenes have heavier marks, scratches and other flaws. Pleasantly, there wasn't anything in the way of edge enhancement or pixelation. Some grain here and there, but nothing heavy.

Colors - you guessed it - vary, too. Some scenes provide colros that are rich and vibrant, some present colors that look somewhat faded. Generally though, although there were some problems due to age, I certainly found the entire program watchable.

SOUND: The program is presented in English Dolby 2.0. The program is simply the narration and interviews, with the music being the only element that opens up the sound, if only slightly. The sound is "documentary audio" and delivers what is expected of it.

MENUS:: Menus are animated, with scenes from the program in the background.

EXTRAS: Nothing.


Final Thoughts: The program itself is a very fine one, and die-hard fans of baseball history will enjoy it quite a bit. Recommended.



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