Field of Dreams review, Field of Dreams DVD review, Field of Dreams DVD review
Starring
Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta, Amy Madigan, Gaby Hoffmann
Director
Phil Alden Robinson
Field of Dreams

Reviewed by Jamey Codding

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I

magine being a struggling Iowa corn farmer and one day, while tending to your crop, you hear a voice, seemingly coming from the tall, green stalks surrounding you, repeatedly whispering the same mysterious words in your ear: “If you build it, he will come.” Your first question would undoubtedly be: Build what? Then you’d wonder: Who’s “he”? (You may also begin to question the origin of the strange voice, but we’ll leave that one alone.) In one of Kevin Costner's best films, the “it” the voice is referring to is a baseball field, but the person Costner is building the field for is debatable.

In "Field of Dreams," Costner plays Ray Kinsella, a hard-working farmer with a cute little daughter and a supporting wife, Annie, (Amy Madigan) who decides to follow the voice’s instructions and builds a baseball diamond right smack dab in the middle of his cornfield, complete with baselines, a backstop, bleachers and even a few light towers. With the field in place, Ray and his family wait…and wait…and wait…and wait for something, anything to happen. Meanwhile, the bills start piling up as half of their cash crop no longer exists.

Tensions mount and soon Annie begins to question her husband’s sanity until Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta), a Chicago White Sox outfielder from the early 1900s, shows up in the center of Ray’s beautiful diamond months later, ready to shag a few fly balls. Convinced he must continue following the mysterious voice’s instructions, Ray sets off on a cross-country journey, meeting writer Terence Mann (James Earl Jones) and Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham (Burt Lancaster) along the way.

For every baseball fan, "Field of Dreams" is unquestionably a must-see as Costner, Jones and director Phil Alden Robinson treat our wonderful game with the kind of respect and awe we can appreciate. The film is loaded with fascinating baseball history and fantastic interpretations of the game’s rich past. Costner is excellent as Ray, and Liotta fills Shoeless Joe’s…umm, shoes, admirably. But Jones delivers possibly the most memorable performance as his monologue on baseball’s place in American history will send chills down the back of any true enthusiast. And for the casual or non-baseball fan, "Field of Dreams" still delivers the kind of story that’ll keep you entertained while also giving you an appreciation for the game. Quite simply one of the best sports movies ever.


Single-Disc Blu-Ray Review:

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since the release of “Field of Dreams,” especially when the film’s debut on Blu-ray doesn’t appear to be celebrating anything at all. Still, while there’s no new bonus material for HD enthusiasts to dive into, the extras from the 15th anniversary DVD are all here, and they’re just as great as they were five years ago. Along with an audio commentary by writer/director Phil Alden Robinson and a handful of deleted scenes, the single-disc effort also includes two extensive retrospective documentaries (“From Father to Son” and “Field of Dreams: A Scrapbook”) and a roundtable discussion about the film with star Kevin Costner and baseball legends Bret Saberhagen, George Brett and Johnny Bench. Rounding out the set are short featurettes on the actual Field of Dreams and the city of Galena, IL, as well as a Bravo special about the film. It’s also worth noting that the film does look slightly better since its last remastering, even though most people won’t notice the difference.

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