The Good

A well made film that has its heart in the right place.

The Bad

Not a lot of extras. This story is sadly too familiar for some reason.

We Are Marshall tells the tragic, true story of the tragedy that hit Marshall University in West Virginia. The movie begins by establishing this strong football team known as the Thundering Herd. Then, while flying home from a game the entire team is killed in a horrible plane crash. There are debates about what to do, if Marshall is even going to have a football program, and after a strong show of force by the denizens of Marshall it becomes clear to school President Dedmon (David Strathairn) that carrying on is exactly what they need to do. The only problem is that nobody really wants this job.

Enter Jack Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey) a man who not only takes the coaching reigns but rallies Marshall to rise to the occasion. Pushing them hard to believe in themselves this film is more about healing off the field than on. At the same time, after all the talk, uplifting speeches and conjecture, it becomes clear that the only way this film's denouement can happen is on the football field.

Features

Legendary Coaches: How Coaches Overcome Adversity

This piece opens with McG (something tells me he'll change this name when he starts doing "serious" movies) talking about the coaches. Then this piece examines people like Pat Summitt, George Horton, Jack Lengyel and others. They talk about what makes a great coach and words like focus, adversity and maximizing talent are then thrown about. It seems to me that the common core that all these coaches have was an ability to want the best for their players not just in their chosen sports but in their lives.

Marshall Now

Video

Widescreen Version. Presented in a "letterbox" widescreen format preserving the "scope" aspect ratio of its original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for widescreen TVs. McG is nothing if not a visually arresting director. While this movie doesn't have the zany, move the camera all over the place qualities of some of his other films, it is restrained and ferocious at all the right moments. I also felt that even though this was a period piece, I wasn't merely watching actors dressed in period costumes; I believed this world that was created.

Audio

Dolby Digital. English: Dolby Surround 5.1. French: Dolby Surround 5.1. The audio on this release was good. Since it is a football movie it is surely going to be loud and filled with a lot of "raw, raw" spirit. Then there were also those moments where Matthew McConaughey had to rally the troops and the music swelled around like it always does in those scenes. Overall, everything sounds like it should here.

Package

Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox are presented on this front cover in their green, Marshall coaches uniforms. Underneath them is a shot of the team celebrating. The back cover gives us some shots from the movie, a description, Special Features listing, a credits list and technical specs.

Final Word

It is hard to really say a lot about We Are Marshall. This isn't a bad film. It does all the right things, it mixes action with heartfelt emotion, I just felt that I never really saw anything on screen that I hadn't seen before. All that said, this doesn't mean that I wasn't moved by this movie. It is filled with the kind of sequences that could best be described as movie moments. This is both what makes it shine and also presents itself as the films achilles' heel. By that I mean that we are so used to seeing certain things happen in these uplifting sports movies that when they happen, a lot of time they merely feel as if they have been waiting to take place all along.

We Are Marshall might make you stand up and cheer. I felt good after watching it even though I didn't have the most amazing experience doing so.

We Are Marshall was released December 12, 2006.