Let me begin my first official movie review for this site by saying “I don’t like sports movies.”
That being said, I can also now continue by saying that Secretariat is not a sports movie.

Oh sure, there’s a horse and some incredible horse racing, but the story in this movie is about more than that.  This is the story of Penny Chenery Tweedy and the incredible odds she overcame to bring us a champion racehorse.  One that, nearly 40 years later, the likes of which the world has yet to ever see again.

What started out as trying to save her family’s farm following the death of her mother became the story of one woman’s struggle to navigate the world of a male-dominated sport.  A struggle that, while at times seemed exhausting, she seemed to handle like it was second nature.

The picture and sound quality on the Blu-ray I watched was great.  For those of you with a Blu-ray player or Playstation 3 (which is what I use) I highly recommend it.  This is an excellent film for the whole family.  John Malkovich’s portrayal of trainer Lucien Lauren at times had me rolling, especially his character’s “attempt” at retirement early in the film on a golf driving range!

Since this is a review, but I realize that some of you may not have seen this movie yet, I’m not going to give away the whole story here.  Story is what makes this a great film.  Director Randall Wallace does a stellar job to bring us a story that is as accurate as possible (since this is based on actual events).
Admittedly, he did take some creative liberties in setting the mood in some scenes where Mrs. Tweedy’s reactions or dialogue may not be entirely accurate.  Watch the bonus feature A Director’s Inspiration: A Conversation With The Real Penny Chenery and you’ll see that the real Penny Chenery Tweedy doesn’t disapprove of this and gives high praise to actress Diane Lane for her portrayal of her in the movie.

Outstanding cinematography by Dean Semler (for which he received a 2010 Satellite Award nomination) and sound editing by the team of Kami Asgar, Sean Mccormack, David Daniel, Kevin O’Connell and Beau Borders (also nominated for a 2010 Satellite Award) really set the tone for the actual horse races.  Races that were actually choreographed (not an easy task when dealing with horses that want to run) to try and accurately recreate what we see on the screen.  I have to admit they did an excellent job at filming and editing what turns out to be the end result of what the movie brings us!

DISC BONUS FEATURES:

BLU-RAY:

The same as the DVD, plus…

Choreographing The Races – This piece looks at how director Randall Wallace and the filmmakers used innovative tools and technology to accurately and excitingly recreate the Triple Crown races that make the viewer feel like they are standing on the backstretch themselves.

A Director’s Inspiration: A Conversation With The Real Penny Chenery – Director Randall Wallace sits down with Secretariat owner Penny Chenery to review the movie and some of the key scenes. Penny reflects on what it was like to have been a woman in a male dominated sport and to have been part of horse racing’s most exciting moments in history.

Audio Commentary By Director Randall Wallace – View the film with optional audio commentary from Director Randall Wallace.

Deleted Scenes With Optional Audio Commentary By Director Randall Wallace – The same deleted scenes as the DVD, plus four more…

o Alternate Opening
o Introduction
o “Are You A Golfer?”
o No Time To Rest

Secretariat Multi-Angle Simulation – Relive Secretariats triumphant 1973 Preakness race by viewing the race from a number of perspectives as well as listening to commentaries from fans, announcers and even the jockey who rode Secretariat to their record finish.

DVD:

Heart Of A Champion – This feature takes a look at one of the most famous thoroughbred horses ever known. Secretariat was a horse with style as well as amazing speed and an unsurpassed racing record. We interview all the key players from the day as well as today’s filmmakers to learn more about the horse affectionately called “Red.”

Deleted Scenes With Optional Audio Commentary By Director Randall Wallace

o Director Introduction
o Memories
o Seth Joins The Team
o Too Soon To Celebrate

Music Video – AJ Michalka “It’s Who You Are”