While sports movies don’t necessarily have universal appeal, DRAFT DAY certainly comes pretty close to appealing to all kinds of groups. With the versatile Kevin Costner taking the lead as Sonny Weaver Jr, the General Manager of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, the football-themed film certainly appeals to many demographics.
The action in DRAFT DAY centres around, not surprisingly, NFL Draft Day. For the uninitiated, draft day is the day where aspiring football stars are drafted by professional league teams in a massive televised event that takes place in New York City.
With Sonny’s Cleveland Browns ending the previous season with poor performance and an injured quarterback, the pressure is on for Sonny and his team. Pressure from the owner of the team (played by Frank Langella) complicates Sonny’s plans to improve the performance of his beloved team.
The film takes place within the 24 hours of draft day, with a running clock appearing throughout the film to remind viewers that the time is ticking by and of the desperation as the time begins to run out. Of course, Sonny comes across various distractions throughout the course of the day, mainly in the forms of Sonny’s love interest, Ali (played by Jennifer Garner), and his mother (Ellen Burstyn). Ali is a lawyer and number cruncher working with the team to help ensure the salary cap isn’t exceeded. She’s also pregnant with Sonny’s baby. Sonny’s mother, on the other hand, misses his recently departed father and has decided that she wants to spend time with her son, even with the day being such an important one for Sonny. While other reviewers have commented that the storylines involving the two main female characters were poor attempts at connecting with a female audience, I’m inclined to disagree; the female characters add a much-needed balance to the film.
In addition to the subplots that have the potential to disrupt Sonny’s mission for the team, Sonny struggles with other teams to balance trades against new drafts. The movie is at its absolute best when it lets Sonny focus on what matters most here — draft day. Even those who aren’t sports fans will find much of the film enjoyable, getting sucked into the excitement of the draft.
DRAFT DAY comes with great video quality that you’ve come to expect from Blu-ray and Summit Entertainment. Rarely are their instances that you feel aren’t intended. The genre of this film doesn’t even beg for pure perfection in the VQ department, but still you’d be hard-pressed to find any true issues with this transfer.
DRAFT DAY hits Blu-ray with a DTS HD Master 5.1 audio track that’s a touchdown on all accounts. The score is more of a supplemental score that adds depth to the high-dialog film. That being said, the center and fronts carry most of the load while the rears get some play when the symbolic NFL themes carry over and throughout other parts of the film. Overall, there’s nothing to complain about in the AQ department as it does all that is needed for a film of this genre. Granted a 7.1 track would have been nice.
The Supplements include the “On the clock: The Making of DRAFT DAY” Documentary and “Welcome to Primetime” Featurette. In addition to some deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer is an audio commentary with the writers. The package also includes the DVD and Ultraviolet digital copy.
DRAFT DAY tries to be football’s MONEYBALL and, while the writing cannot match Aaron Sorkin’s Oscar-nominated screenplay, it is good in and of itself. Sports fans will enjoy what seems to be a behind-the-scenes peek at one of football’s biggest days, while fans of film in general will enjoy Costner’s quality work. DRAFT DAY does not pretend to be anything more than what it is and those looking for more should look elsewhere.
The VQ/AQ and Supplements are more than satisfactory for this release.