on 5 August 2002
If Frank Capra had been making movies in the late 1980s, he probably would have made Field of Dreams. Many of the best loved movies deal with the hopes and dreams of ordinary folk. More recently, this has been repeated by 'The Shawshank Redemption'and back in Capra's era it was 'It's a Wonderful Life'. Two very different movies dealing with the subject of faith in our own dreams, both of which are universally loved by audiences.
Field of Dreams centres around Ray Kinsella, his wife Annie and their daughter who live on a farm in Iowa. Ray is a self confessed novice farmer whos efforts to keep the business financially viable are becomming pressured.
One day, whilst in his cornfield Ray hears 'the voice' and is told "If you build it he will come". Ray takes this as a sign that he is to build a Baseball field on his farm and that Shoeless Joe Jackson (his deceased sporting hero) will come and play, allowing his hero some redemption for his shame and exile from baseball following illegal 'throwing of games'in his heyday.
Unsurprisingly, Annie thinks Ray is losing grip on reality but gradually warms to Rays idea, sensing that it is something much more than the misguided project of a slightly lost farmer.
The film develops as Ray builds his field and mysterious and magical things begin to happen to those around him.
Along the way he meets many beatifully crafted and played characters. James Earl Jones as a burnt out 60's novelist and Burt Lancaster as a failed Baseball player turned doctor.
Ray is selfless in his persuit of helping those around him achieve their goals and only towards the end of the film does he ask "whats in it for me?".
We all find out whats in it for Ray at the end in a closing scene that will melt even the hardest heart. Ray fulfills his real dream without even really consiously knowing what it was.
Some of the pro-critics have accused the movie of being overly sentimental but the film is a charming and magical jouney through the lives of ordinary folk. Most of us are Ray Kinsellas, with dreams we may never be brave enough to try to fulfill.
If only Hollywood made more films of this class rather than the endless stream of mindless action movies maybe that seem to bombard us from every angle.
Dont be put off by the baseball theme, just sir back enjoy the story, the beautiful Iowa cornfields, the acting, the superb musical score and you too will believe that dreams can come true.
on 9 November 2006
For years my dad kept telling me to watch this film, and for years I ignored him. Foolishly. I bought this DVD about a year ago and have lost count of the amount of times I have watched it. It is, in my opinion, the best sports film I have ever seen (and I love sports films!)
Whilst the soul of the film is about dreams and always believing in yourself no matter how hard it is, for me the real strength lies in the tenderness with which it addresses not just baseball, but sport as a whole. The simply stunning Terrance Mann (James Earl Jones) speech about baseball near the end of the film, for me sums up what sport is all about. I am only a small fan of baseball and had no idea about it when originally watching the film but am a huge football fan, unfortunatly being an avid Wolves supporter! Yet although the speech talked about baseball, the meaning behind it, the spirit of what the game encompasses is true for all sports, football especially. Being a wolves fan has been passed down through the generations of my family (all being wolverhampton born) and as the speech says, its the one thing that has stuck through the ages, the one thing that unites us. I am 19 and will never for the rest of my life forget the magical day we beat United in the premiership, and this speech recalls the importance of sport in our hearts and in our memories from when we were young. It is the way sport is addressed in this film, that makes it just amazing.
PLus as an earlier reviewer rightly said, if you are not touched by the last 15 minutes of the film, you have no soul. The line which always gets me being "No Ray, it was you" *sniff* I promise you this will be the one of the best DVD purchases you will ever make. A brilliant film, which will be around for years to come.
on 18 May 2005
This is one of those films that you always seem to forget about until you're reminded, and then its 'Oh yeah...'. It was the same for me until I caught it mid-afternoon on tv one Sunday, and since then I've purchased it and even now I still watch it on a regular basis. I've heard it called a 'guy film', but I think that pigeonholes it in an area it doesn't deserve to be; anyone can watch and love this film, but its guys (and maybe guys of a certain age...) that will truly 'get' this. I consider myself fairly tough when it comes to emotional stuff, but this film leaves me blubbering like a baby - my girlfriend doesnt understand why, but from like-minded male friends who've watched this it provokes the same reaction. Everytime its over, I feel like picking up the phone and calling my dad just to talk (although I never seem to do).
The film follows Iowa farmer Roy Kinsella (superbly played by Kevin Costner in, perhaps, the only role I've ever liked him) as he attempts to turn his corn fields into a baseball field. Why? Because a mysterious voice tells him to of course. And whilst that may sound like a dodgy premise, believe me you'll suspend belief from start to finish. Despite initial opposition from his wife and brother-in-law, Roy (with the help of a collection of baseball players from the past that reads like a who-was-who of American baseball) builds his field and realises his dreams.
The film is not without its faults - namley assuming that everyone on the planet is familiar with American baseball players from the past (in this case namely the 1930's & 40's). Another annoying feature is the inclusion of the typical American overly-cutesy kid (which no American family movie can be without - its written in the constitution), but these faults are minor. The acting is amazingly subtle, and as well as Kevin Costner this film can also boast Burt Lancaster, James Earl Jones and Ray Liotta. The music score is beautiful, and the cinematography alone will leave you breathless; as for the final 15 minutes, well.....if they dont touch your soul, please go see a doctor because you're obviously missing a heart.
This film is a worthy addition to any dvd collection - truly a forgotten classic.
on 25 February 2005
Adapted from WP Kinsellas bestseller Shoeless Joe, Director and writer Phil Alden Robinson captures the esscence of the book beautifully, and perhaps adds a touch of extra magic,too. Magnificently shot, perfectly cast and extemely engaging, this is one of those rare films that will leave you inspired and warm, for the rest of the day at least. Elements of the cosmic, passion and reincarnation are all themes subtly touched upon,and the baseball in the movie is merely a fine backround with far deeper meaning, this movie is one that concerns itself the the what ifs and power of dreams in life,a perfect soundtrack and features a golden appearence from screen icon Burt Lancaster. DVD extras include cast and crew information, bios and feature commentary from its the director and producer. Feature length production footage is a superb addition to the movie, featuring interviews with the cast, director and the author kinsella, it gives the viewer everthing they want to know about the movie and what went into making this modern classic. Recommended to any one whos ever dreamed in life, and even those cold hearted critics. A gem.
on 13 January 2002
Phil Alden Robinson's moving film, about the man who hears voices telling him to build a baseball pitch on his farm land, has lost none of it's emotional punch twelve years on. It is one of those rare occasions when everything falls into place beautifully. The cast is lead by Kevin Costner doing what he does best - performing in somebody else's picture whilst being supported by other impressive actors. James Earl Jones seems to have always been meant to play the writer Terrance Mann, in fact the role was written with him in mind. Ray Liotta has a formidable presence as Shoeless Joe, stealing his scenes with a quiet, hypnotic stare. Composer James Horner's score perfectly compliments the magical atmosphere of the film, along with its themes of nostalgia and loss. But ultimately it is Robinson's script and direction that weaves the real magic with just the right amount of saccharine, as he delivers us what must surely be the 'It's A Wonderful Life' for our generation.
The film alone is worth anyone's money, but the fact that this DVD release comes complete with a director's commentary and an hour and a half long documentary makes it a truly essential purchase.
on 8 September 2015
A magic and simple film that awaken emotions and a sense of belief in something else than mere objectivity, making us feel and see the world with different eyes. It's the miracle the sometimes Hollywood and American cinema was still able to create, through the enchantement of nature, affection, and that leap of faith that can make us change our life.
And it is also a film about a nostalgic desire of reconnecting to the past and win death in order to celebrate what can still keep us alive.
A film that still believes in the american dream, in a refreshing way that finds a new start from our little everyday things, our community, a house in the field, wind at night blowing across the corn.
Costner is moving and pure in his genuine performance, confirming his self-contained, natural, effortless acting style (which makes a star without glamour), while Lancaster makes his last magic gift to the audience. And that is the real and emotional miracle of the film: something hard to forget, like he decided to leave his heritage through this lovely little story.
Blu ray is quite good and preserve the gentle light of the film
on 13 December 2013
Great film. I can watch this over and over. I used to have the reg. dvd version though and although the blu ray version is sharper than the original dvd there is a massive amount of extras on the reg. dvd compared to the blu ray version. It doesn't bother me so much as I have already watched the additional commentary, etc. previously but if I was watching this dvd for the first time I may feel a little short changed.
on 30 January 2002
A film that is very much underated. Kevin Costner gives a magnificent performance. The film truly is a dream, and everything fits together perfectly to give a masterpiece of a film.
The film starts with Kevin Costner in his corn field hearing voices telling him 'If you build it, they will come'. He soon finds out that he has to build a baseball field so that the 'ghosts' of old baseball players can come back to play the game they fell in love with. Still the voices come demanding Costner time and money.
The film is very very far fetched, but when watching the film, you don't look at that aspect. You just get engrosed in the films magic and fantasy. Truly magnificent performances by all the cast help make this seem beliveable.
Many people I have spoken too have never heard of the film, which truly shocked me, but upon recommendation, these people made sure to see it, and i have not yet heard a bad comment about it.
A must see film that relies on fantasy, magic and a sadness that excellently combine to make this outstanding and a tear-jerker.
on 30 December 2013
Though this film was recommended by my friends years ago, I assumed it was only for baseball fans. I decided to give the blu Ray version a chance and was ageeably surprised. Although it is a fantasy, I think the idea is more about your destiny leading you in unexpected directions. Certainly my own experience of life has been that my basic specialised professional training led me to performing several unexpected and unrelated roles in unexpected countries before returning to the home town of my school days. The film possibly suggests that sooner or later in an afterlife you may get the chance to revisit your career path and try a different fork but at any given time you are where you may be needed.
Coming back to Field Of Dreams over 20 years after its release finds this particular viewer beaming with happiness that the warmth I felt way back when still washes over me in the same way. Director Phil Alden Robinson (All of Me/Fletch) manages to turn W.P. Kinsella's novel, Shoeless Joe, into a multi genre film with deep emotional heart for both sexes to latch on to. It has a beautiful mix of mythology and family values that come together to realise a dream that ultimately rewards those viewers who are prepared to open themselves up to pure fantasy with a deep emotional core.
It was nominated for best picture in 1989 because it struck a cord with so many people, it's not just the thematic heart of the film that delivers, it's also the actors on show who perfectly realise this delightful tale. Kevin Costner is surrounded by great workers in Ray Liotta, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan and Burt Lancaster, and he wisely lets these actors dominate the scenes that he shares with them, it's something that is an often forgotten good point of Costner's performances; that he is comfortable to let his co-stars dominate important narrative snatches. However, he is the glue that binds the whole film together, it's quite a naturally engaging performance that rightly gave him the star status he would achieve post release of the film.
As a born and bred Englishman I don't profess to appreciate just how much a way of life Baseball is to Americans, but I do have my own sports in England that I'm happy to dream the dream with in equal measure, and with that I understand all the themes in Field Of Dreams big time. Most of all, though, I can involve myself with its family values, the dream of dreams, and because it's undeniably pure escapist cinema for those who aren't afraid to let their respective guards down for a wee short while, the rewards are many. With a lush James Horner score evocatively layered over the top of it and John Lindley's photography almost ethereal at times, production is suitably in the fantasy realm.
Never twee or over sweet, Field of Dreams is a magical movie in more ways than one. A film that manages to have its cake and eat it and then closes down with one of the most beautiful endings of the 80's. Field of Dreams, still hitting Home Runs after all these years. 9/10