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Field of Dreams 15th Anniversary DVD Release Event

Atmosphere at the DVD Launch party
for "Field of Dreams"

Chris Polk/FilmMagic.com
If you build it, they will come. 'You', of course, being Universal, 'it' being a giant faux-cornfield in West Hollywood Park and 'they' being heaps of press, media, filmmakers, guests and-oh yeah-Kevin Costner.

Fifteen years after its release in theaters, the classic baseball fantasy/drama Field of Dreams gets a special edition released on DVD. In celebration of this event, Universal Studios Home Video hosted "A Moonlight Screening Under the Stars" event on June 8th, 2004, complete with uniformed baseball players playing catch, wandering candy vendors and folding chair bleachers. The atmosphere was comfortable, yet energized; clumps of people shuffled around the tiny baseball diamond like attendants of a summer night's little league game with a formal dress code. Even the cornstalks themselves were fantastic; I had to step up close and touch one just to find out it was artificial. While the cornstalks weren't real the food was ranging from petite hot wings to deep fried crab cakes. I couldn't help but smile when someone announced "Hot dogs! Popcorn! Peanuts!" and meant it. Smells of cookout food lingered in the air all night. (The party planners receive extra high marks for outfitting all the event staff in baseball jerseys and caps.) The most popular man of the night may have been the cotton candy machine server.

The pressroom was set up inside a huge, canvas tent, on top of plush green grass--which I promptly felt with my toes to make sure was real (it was.) Playing on two nearby flat-screen TV's were the extras on the DVD. Soon enough, the real stars of the show entered: the cast and crew. Composer James Horner was the first to discuss his feelings about the long-delayed release of the film on DVD. He expressed that he was flattered to be remembered, though he admitted he didn't mentally stay connected with the project all these years. When asked what has made the movie so enduring, he attributed the power of the "story within the story."

Other members of the crew, like producer Lawrence Gordon, also praised the better-late-than-never release. "This is like a revival of a great Broadway play," he declared. From writer/director Phil Alden Robinson's proud smile to Dwier Brown's (John Kinsella, Kevin Costner's father in the film) nostalgic musings, it was clear that everyone involved knew this film was, and is, something special.

Kevin Costner emerges from rows of cornstalks
Chris Polk/FilmMagic.com
And then came Costner (who played leading man Ray Kinsella in the film), beaming like a teenage heartthrob, eliciting sighs from masses of women, young and old. As he walked out onto the field from among the cornstalks (an endearing, albeit cheesy, touch) to make his speech, I wondered if he dressed in the same attire as he wore on the film's poster on purpose, or if it was merely a coincidence. He did have some wonderful things to say about the film, though. He first thanked Robinson for his dedication to the little project that could (the film was passed around the every studio numerous times before someone decided to take a chance on it back in the late-1980's.) "It took a non-athlete [Robinson] to capture what we love best about the game," Costner said. He also talked about his personal love for baseball, telling stories about his childhood when he stayed up all night playing till the streetlights came on and he had to sneak home.

When asked the popular question about the movie's continuous recognition, he recalled that he did have a feeling about its power while he was filming it. "You should make a movie with the idea that people are going to watch it 20 years from now," he said. And since DVDs are the newest way to preserve film, he applauded their ability to carry a movie "through time and generations." Finally, in a refreshing display of chutzpah, Costner described the evening's setting. "This is great," he said, "Looking around, this is a production designer's mushroom trip."

Dwier Brown, Timothy Busfield, Lawrence Gordon,
Kevin Costner and Amy Madigan

Chris Polk/FilmMagic.com
The actual two-disc anniversary edition DVD is a gift from the gods for all Field of Dreams fanatics. Aside from its widescreen splendor and sharp Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, the DVD is filled with bonus features, such as a roundtable at Costner's home. There is an impressive tour of various locations related to the film, including the hometown of legendary baseball player Moonlight Graham and the actual Iowa cornfield where the much of the movie was filmed. Of course deleted scenes, feature commentaries, and lots of facts, photos and baseball trivia are included as well.

Everything about that evening was magical. The magnum opus, however, was the actual screening of the film on a 30-foot movie screen set up in the middle of the cornfield. There were even cornstalks peeking above the bottom of the display, which made for quite an interesting, realistic effect. I got the impression that a majority of the audience (including myself) hadn't seen the film in years. It was a joy to sit among enraptured spectators and join in their surprise laughter and hushed weeping that this timeless film produced. And although West Hollywood Park is situated next to a busy Los Angeles boulevard, you would never know it from the celebration in and of a Field of Dreams.

- Rachel Gold

Read the DVD Talk Review of Field Of Dreams (15th Anniversary Widescreen Edition) DVD


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