Major League appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While often quite appealing, the film suffered from some issues typical of late 1980s flicks.
Sharpness manifested a few flaws, but not too many. Much of the film seemed accurate and well-defined. Occasionally the movie tended to be a bit iffy, but those instances didn’t pop up with frequency. No jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and edge enhancement remained minimal. Source flaws were more intrusive, as I noticed occasional specks and marks throughout the movie. Though these never became heavy, they showed up more frequently than I’d like.
Given that many 80s flicks demonstrate runny colors, I expected the worst here. While some shots did look a bit flat, the hues usually came across with nice vivacity. Heck, some even looked downright vibrant, though most fell short of that level and were simply good. Blacks were similarly decent but unexceptional, as the dark segments could have been tighter. Shadows varied, though they were acceptably concise. Dark-skinned characters suffered the worst, as they got a little lost in the low-light scenes. Otherwise, those shots were fine. The transfer ended up as a mix of excellent shots and not-so-hot images, all of which left it as a “B-“ presentation.
Similar thoughts followed for the Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Major League. I expected a pretty low-key soundfield for a comedy, and the mix usually followed suit. However, it managed to open up acceptably for baseball scenes. These offered good breadth and plopped us in the stadiums pretty well. Otherwise the track stayed subdued, though it managed good stereo imaging for music and a decent sense of atmosphere. Don’t expect anything terrific, but the mix fit the material.
Audio quality seemed good. Speech was concise and natural, with no edginess or other distractions. Music showed nice life and vivacity, while effects were clean and reasonably accurate. Again, there wasn’t much to make the track stand out, but it was good for its era and story.
How do the picture and sound of this Blu-ray Major League compare with those of the 2007 “Wild Thing” Edition DVD? In terms of audio, both seem quite similar, and I expect they both use the same transfer. However, the increased resolution available for Blu-ray tightened things up a bit. The image remained inconsistent and a product of its era, but it often looked attractive.
One note: I was unable to directly compare the two transfers and had to depend on memory and references to my earlier review. In that article, I indicated that I didn’t see many source flaws, while I found quite a few in the Blu-ray. It’s my belief that both discs use the same transfer but the defects simply were easier to see in the Blu-ray; since it opened things up, the specks and marks were more visible. In any case, they remained acceptably infrequent; even if they are heavier than on the DVD, they’re still not a big issue.
The Blu-ray repeats all of the extras from the 2007 “Wild Thing” Edition. We open with an audio commentary from writer/director David S. Ward and producer Chris Chesser. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They cover locations and sets, musical choices, cast, characters and performances, shooting the baseball sequences, cut scenes, and a few other production elements.
Though it offers a decent overview, the commentary never becomes more involving than that. Neither participant seems very engaged in the process, and they reflect basics without great detail. Occasionally the track picks up a bit, especially toward the end; the climactic game presents the best info. We do get a reasonable recap of the main topics, but we don’t find a terribly memorable discussion here.
Next we get a mix of featurettes. My Kinda Team: Making Major League goes for 23 minutes, 10 seconds as it combines movie clips, archival materials, and interviews. We hear from Ward, Chesser, former catcher Steve Yeager (in 1988), and actors Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Corbin Bernsen, Dennis Haysbert, Wesley Snipes (in 1988), Chelcie Ross and Bob Uecker. We hear about the project’s genesis and development, cast, performances and training the actors, shooting the baseball scenes and filming in Milwaukee, and thoughts about the flick’s success.
Perhaps the best aspect of “Team” stems from the presence of the main actors. It’s good to see Berenger, Sheen and Bernsen show up for this kind of retrospective, and the others help flesh it out as well. We don’t get a ton of insight, and some bits repeat from the commentary, but “Team” serves as a decent little recap.
A Major League Look at Major League runs 14 minutes, 27 seconds and features Indians broadcasters Tom Hamilton and Rick Manning as well as ballplayers Paul Byrd, Aaron Boone, Jason Michaels, Jensen Lewis, and Grady Sizemore. They chat about the flick and compare it to their experiences in baseball. This becomes a surprisingly fun look at the movie through real players’ eyes. No, it’s not exactly analytical, but it’s entertaining as the jocks tell us how it matches their real-life experiences.
For Bob Uecker: Just a Little Bit Outside, we find a 12-minute, 43-second piece with notes from Uecker, Boone, Hamilton, Michaels, Sheen, Lewis, Manning, Sizemore, Ward, Chesser, and Ross. We learn a bit about Uecker’s career and his work in the film. At times this threatens to become a puff piece with little purpose other than praise for Uecker. However, he offers many funny comments about himself and his work. Add to that a generous helping of deleted or alternate takes and this ends up as a good program.
A Tour of Cerrano’s Locker fills 97 seconds. In character, Dennis Haysbert lets us see all of Pedro’s voodoo relics. It’s a marginally interesting archival piece.
Though we don’t find a set of deleted scenes, we do encounter an Alternate Ending. This four-minute and 19-second clip casts the Rachel character in a radically different light. Chesser offers some notes to explain why the scene failed to make the cut. He and Ward also discuss this in the commentary, so if you listen to that first, you’ll know what to expect. Personally, I’m very glad they changed this part of the flick, as I think it’s a terrible twist.
Next we find a Photo Gallery. This collection features 120 shots, but don’t get too worked up about that number. Most offer fairly bland shots from the set and promotional images. More intriguing are some pictures from deleted scenes, a notion that makes me wonder why those segments fail to appear on the DVD.
While I wouldn’t classify Major League as one of the better baseball movies, it boasts a charm that makes it enjoyable. Sure, the flick misfires at times, but it does enough right to succeed. The Blu-ray presents decent to good picture and audio along with a smattering of useful extras.
I think that this is a perfectly acceptable Blu-ray, though the visual presentation could be better; a clean-up could eliminate the mix of print flaws I saw. Nonetheless, this is clearly the best the movie’s looked since its theatrical run. I’m not sure that’s good enough to warrant a repurchase for fans who have the prior DVD, though. The audio and extras remained the same, and while the visuals moved up in quality, the Blu-ray’s $29.99 list price means it’s not a cheap upgrade. Go for it if the film is important to you, but otherwise you’ll probably be fine with the DVD.
To rate this film visit the original "Wild Thing Edition" review of MAJOR LEAGUE