How weird has 2016 been? Consider that, for the 2016 World Series, the Cleveland Indians had not won a World Series in 68 years, and over the course of seven games, were on the brink of providing Cleveland with its second sports championship in 4 months, after not experiencing a title in any "Big 4" sport since 1964. And if you lived outside Cleveland, chances are you were rooting for the other team in the World Series, the Chicago Cubs.
Why? Well the Cubs' predicament was dire in and of itself. The team had not appeared in a World Series since 1945 (the Indians appeared in two losing efforts between 1948 and 2016). Again, that's APPEARED. Not won, just running-up. The drought, while experiencing 100 loss seasons near routinely, was something Cubs fans endured through the years, decades, nay generations. That it was not hard to find the stories of sons going to games with their fathers during the Cubs' run, and the fathers' expressing some sadness that THEIR fathers weren't around to experience this, was a testament to the team's popularity through the years.
When the Cubs got to the Series, while folks basked in the glow of it in Illinois, the Indians took quick advantage, with shutout wins in Games 1 and 3 of the Best-of-Seven. The Cubs won Game 2 5-1, and in Game 4 the Indians held a close lead before blowing things open en route to a 7-2 win. So the Cubs tried to regain some form of face and win a World Series game at Wrigley Field, doing so in Game 5 3-2 before going back to Cleveland. Game 6 saw the Cubs score 7 runs in the first three innings to win 9-3 and level the Series for Game 7, and the Cubs saw a three-run lead evaporate late in the game, which prompted dread from fans. But not so fast, as following a brief rain delay, the team came out and scored 2 in the 10th inning. Cleveland got a run back to keep things tense, but the Cubs closed it out for a 8-7 win and their first Series in 108 years.
The World Series film is narrated by Vince Vaughn (The Internship), a longtime fan of the team who sung "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch in Game 4 (the song and its timing is a Cubs tradition). The film follows the formula of similar productions by Major League Baseball and Shout! in that the film spends 12-15 minutes on each game of the Series, focusing on moments in it or including interview footage or candid audio from the players or managers in the locker room.
And when one deals with the Cubs, and their winning of the Series, one would expect that the narration and editing would be done in such a way to let the moments breathe, which they do, particularly for Game 7 when the Indians tie the game and the recounting of the final out in same. Is the ending of the Series emotional for an outside viewer? I think so. Would it be for a Cubs fan? Damn right. With the recollections and thoughts from players and fans alike, one cannot help but feel some sway towards them. "The Curse" may not be fully explained for the viewer but it doesn't really need to be when so many people know about it, right?
The Official World Series film chronicling the Chicago Cubs' run to the 2016 Championship captures everything that you would want it to I think. It compels you to go back in and reacquaint yourself with the struggle and the triumph if you're a fan, and if you were one of the few who didn't see it at the time, the film does a good job of illustrating the caliber of play in the games and the sense of relief Chicagoans had with a Cubs win.The Blu-ray:
The World Series film is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and looks good. The production uses Fox' broadcast video from the event, but also includes interviews with the players and they look fine (colors look natural, image detail is average), and the on-the-street/in-the-bar looks and interviews with people also look natural without noise or saturation problems. The sit down interviews don't include any haloing or artifacts and any flaws in the game footage are presumably inherent (if you can spot them anyway). Solid work here.The Sound:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless for the Blu-ray. Not much to complain about here, it is an accurate audio replication of the events on TV and in both cities where large groups of the fans showed up. There is no bass to provide any additional moments of ‘oomph', the directional effects and channel panning are scarce, but the source material does not get too involved with those things regardless.Extras:
A grab bag of video from the season, including regular season highlights (5:25), moments when the Cubs clinched their pennant, Championship and World Series wins (2:44), some World Series highlights (9:44) and the subsequent parade (2:12). The Cubs share thoughts on David Ross, the team's catcher who retired at the end of the season (1:35).Final Thoughts:
As a casual fan of the story surrounding the Cubs and the sport they play, I enjoyed watching Vaughn lay out the effort needed by the players, who as you'll see in the film felt a sense of obligation to their fans to deliver this to them. In a way they came off less as players and more as servants, attempting to slay an enormous aging dragon in front of them. The beast is vanquished, the curse is over, and the Cubs are champions, and the film effectively shows the roller coaster ride it was.