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Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton
Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Bill Pullman, Andrea Riseborough
Writing Credits:
Simon Beaufoy

The true story of the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and ex-champ/serial hustler Bobby Riggs.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$3,408,594 on 1213 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Russian DTS 5.1
Czech Dolby 5.1
Hindi Dolby 5.1
Hindustani Dolby 5.1
Hungarian Dolby 5.1
Polish Dolby 5.1
Thai Dolby 5.1
Turkish Dolby 5.1
Quebecois French
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 121 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 1/2/2018
• Raw Footage
• “Reigniting the Rivalry” Featurette
• “Billie Jean King: In Her Own Words” Featurette
• Galleries
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Battle of the Sexes [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 3, 2018)

Reigning Oscar-winner Emma Stone returns with another potential award-nominated performance in 2017’s Battle of the Sexes. Set in the early 1970s, female tennis players feel underpaid, as their matches sell tickets as well as the men’s, but they earn much less money.

Led by top pro Billie Jean King (Stone), the female players’ complaints get them nowhere, so King and a few others splinter into their own organization: the Women’s Tennis Association. However, this new league struggles to get by financially.

In the meantime, 50-something former men’s champion Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) encounters his own financial challenges. While his wife Priscilla Wheelan (Elisabeth Shue) maintains a fortune, Bobby runs afoul of her due to his gambling addiction.

Riggs tries to raise his own funds – and his public profile - via a gimmick: he’ll play the top female tennis pro. Chauvinistic Riggs does this not only to make money, but also to “prove” the superiority of men above women, as he believes even a middle-aged former champion like himself can beat the best the females can offer.

All this leads toward a climactic 1973 match between Riggs and King. We also follow King’s private life, as a relationship with hairdresser Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) challenges the player’s presumed heterosexuality.

Because I was born in 1967, I maintain only a faint memory of the King/Riggs rivalry. Honestly, I’m not sure I truly “remember” any of it – I suspect my awareness of it came mostly from a 1974 episode of The Odd Couple on which King and Riggs guest-starred.

Still, I maintain enough knowledge of these events to view Battle as an intriguing property. The 45 years since the events depicted have allowed King to grow in stature as a pioneer, so a chance to see the “behind the scenes” elements acts as a draw.

The basic tale on display allows Battle to become a reasonably engaging film, but I think it disappoints, mainly because it bites off more than it can chew. For a movie that clocks in at barely two hours, it attempts to cover an awful lot of ground, and it can’t take in all that territory in a substantial manner.

Really, Battle could easily break into at least three – maybe four – different movies. In addition to the events connected to the King/Riggs match itself, we could go through a full film about the struggles of the women players as well.

The lives of the two lead characters could form their own flicks – especially King, as we get so much of her personal journey. All these elements offer plenty of room for dramatic exploration.

Unfortunately, 121 minutes just doesn’t seem like enough to adequately explore all of those domains, so Battle tends to come across as superficial. It rushes through events and situations to feel more like a “greatest hits” overview than a satisfying examination of the subject matter.

More than a few ham-fisted elements don’t help, partly because Riggs and the men tend to be so piggish that they feel like cartoon villains. No, I don’t deny that the sexism depicted here was alive and well in 1973 – and still in 2018 – but these parts come across as awfully heavy-handed.

Some awkward dialogue doesn’t help. For instance, Marilyn asks Billie Jean “what do you want?” when they first meet. This simply relates to King’s choice of hairdo, but of course, we’re intended to read it as a Grand Allusion to Billie Jean’s hopes and dreams.

At its worst, Battle remains entertaining, and a solid cast gives it a boost. In addition to Stone, Carell, Shue and Riseborough, we find talents like Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming and others. All offer perfectly positive performances.

Unfortunately, the actors can’t overcome the movie’s inherently superficial nature. While it gives us a decent overview, the film just doesn’t connect with the material in a meaningful way.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

Battle of the Sexes appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The series’ visuals looked quite good.

The shows offered solid clarity. Only a smidgen of softness materialized, so definition was usually positive.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws failed to mar the presentation.

The film opted for a palette with a definite orange/amber tint as well as the usual teal. Within those parameters, the colors seemed fine.

Blacks were pretty deep and tight, while shadows appeared positive, with only a little opacity on occasion. Overall, the film provided appealing visuals.

The DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack suited the movie but won't win any awards. The soundstage appeared nicely broad at the appropriate times and could be moderately engulfing on occasion. It's a talky little film, so the focus was mainly up front, but the audio expanded when necessary.

This occurred mostly via music and environmental ambience – especially in terms of score and songs, as those used the various speakers well. Tennis matches and a few other sequences added some range as well.

Sound quality seemed fine. Dialogue always appeared crisp and natural, and I had no trouble understanding it. The score was warm and distinctive.

Effects also seemed realistic and adequate for the tasks at hand. Battle won't be anyone's demo track, but the mix worked well for the film.

A smattering of extras appear here, and we start with Raw Footage. “Billie Jean’s Grand Entrance” goes for two minutes, 17 seconds and offers silent film from the climax of the movie. It seems a little odd that we get no sound, but this becomes a moderately interesting reel anyway.

A more traditional featurette, Reigniting the Rivalry runs 18 minutes, 52 seconds. This show offers notes from Billie Jean King, directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, coach Lornie Kuhle, cinematographer Linus Sandgren, costume designer Mary Zophres, production designer Judy Becker, producers Christian Colson and Robert Graf, and actors Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Alan Cumming, Sarah Silverman, Andrea Riseborough, Jessica McNamee, Austin Stowell, Fred Armisen, Bill Pullman, Eric Christian Olsen, Natalie Morales, Martha MacIsaac, and Elisabeth Shue.

“Rivalry” looks at story and characters, cast and performances, visual design and period details, costumes, sets, and connected domains. While “Rivalry” goes fluffy some of the time, it still manages to deliver a decent array of insights. I’d like more of the circa 1973 footage, though, as we only get a few glimpses.

Billie Jean King: In Her Own Words goes for 10 minutes, 30 seconds and offers the athlete’s memories of her career, with a focus on the period depicted in Battle. King brings us a nice encapsulation of the topics and adds useful background for the film’s material.

Under Galleries, we get two domains: “Unit Photography” (24 images) and “Set Design” (20). Neither stands out as great, though I do like the way “Set Design” lets us see details of the period recreations.

The disc opens with ads for Step, Gifted and Goodbye Christopher Robin. Sneak Peek adds a promo for The Mountain Between Us. No trailer for Battle appears here.

A second disc offers a DVD copy of Battle. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

With a strong cast and an intriguing concept at play, Battle of the Sexes should become a winner. However, it commits to too many subjects and can’t flesh out the chosen topics in a deep manner. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio along with a few supplements. Battle offers a watchable overview but it doesn’t satisfy in full.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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