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Ericson Core
Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks
Writing Credits:
Brad Gann

Based on the story of Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender from South Philadelphia who overcame long odds to play for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles in 1976.

Box Office:
$40 million.
Opening Weekend
$17,031,122 on 2917 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English PCM 5.1
English Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $20.00
Release Date: 12/19/2006

• Audio Commentary with Director Ericson Core and Editor Jerry Greenberg
• Audio Commentary with Vince Papale, Producer Mark Ciardi and Writer Brad Gann
• “Recreating ‘The Vet’” Featurette
• “Becoming Invincible” Featurette


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Invincible [Blu-Ray] (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 28, 2017)

Does any studio make more feel-good sports movies than Disney? Nope, and in that vein, we greet 2006’s Invincible.

In the summer of 1976, rookie Philadelphia Eagles coach Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear) decides to shake up the team’s losing ways. As a method to stoke excitement, Vermeil announces that he’ll run open tryouts for the Eagles, so anyone off the street can attempt to make the squad.

Most of these “players” do so for fun and stand no chance of actual playing time, but one rises above the rest: Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg), a 30-year-old bartender who struggles to make ends meet. We follow Vince’s journey as he attempts to overcome the odds and succeed as a pro football player.

Does it count as a spoiler to note that Vince makes the team and goes onto a passable pro career? It shouldn’t because a) these facts exist beyond the movie’s “reality” and b) films like Invincible don’t tell the tales of guys who completely flop. Disney wouldn’t have financed the flick if Vince got cut before the start of the regular season.

As such, Invincible follows predictable “feel good” paths that will surprise absolutely no one. The movie throws the usual obstacles in Vince’s way as he overcomes the odds and all like that there.

Just because we know where the story will go doesn’t mean Invincible will automatically flop, for many “predictable” movies still offer entertainment. Unfortunately, Invincible lacks a certain spirit and verve to make it anything more than a fairly sluggish experience.

On the positive side, the film does boast a good story, and it presents matters in a matter-of-fact way that suits it. Sure, Invincible spices up some of the truth behind Papale’s experience to make it more “cinematic”, but it still gives us a tale that feels reasonably true to life.

However, the movie just doesn’t become especially compelling. As much as I want to invest in the underdog story, Invincible never manages to give us material with enough life to engage us.

Though Wahlberg comes across as a credible athlete, he feels bland as Vince, and he fails to develop a memorable character. On the surface, we should bond with Vince, but in Wahlberg’s hands, he seems like such an anonymous cipher that he fails to create an inviting personality.

The talented supporting cast also find themselves adrift, as the script never lets them breathe. Poor Elizabeth Banks gets stuck with the generic – and thankless - girlfriend role, and Kinnear’s Vermeil also lacks the depth necessary to stand out from the crowd.

Honestly, I can’t find much that Invincible does overtly wrong, but I simply can’t locate much that allows it to prosper. The movie offers a serviceable “feel good” sports story but not one that becomes memorable.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Invincible appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. A release from Blu-ray’s early days, the transfer held up pretty well.

For the most part, sharpness seemed good. Some wider shots could be less than detailed, but overall delineation came across nicely. I saw no jagged edges or shimmering, and the image lacked print flaws.

In a world of orange and teal films, Invincible offered one of the orange and tealest – with an almost comical emphasis on orange, as that tint ran roughshod over the transfer. I couldn’t figure out why the filmmakers gave the movie such exaggerated hues, but the transfer reproduced them as designed.

Blacks looked dark and tight, while shadows demonstrated fairly good clarity. A few low-light shots became slightly opaque, but most seemed appropriate. Despite a few minor inconsistencies, this turned into a largely positive presentation.

As for the film’s Uncompressed PCM 5.1 soundtrack, it worked fine for the material. Music became the most dominant aspect of the soundscape, as the many 1970s songs filled the speakers well.

As for effects, these tended to focus on environmental material, though some football scenes opened up to a moderate degree. The surrounds never turned into a really active partner, but games brought out some breadth to the soundfield.

Audio quality pleased, with speech that seemed natural and concise. Effects showed accurate reproduction, and music appeared fairly lively and full. Nothing here stood out as great, but the mix achieved its goals.

When we shift to extras, we locate two separate audio commentaries, the first of which comes from director Ericson Core and editor Jerry Greenberg. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, recreating period details and sets/locations, cast and performances, effects, costumes and cinematography, editing, music, and connected domains.

Core carries the commentary, as Greenberg chimes in infrequently. That works fine, as the director gives us a good array of insights. The track devolves into praise more often than I’d like, but we still learn a lot about the production.

For the second commentary, we hear from Vince Papale, producer Mark Ciardi and writer Brad Gann. All three sit together for their running, screen-specific discussion of story/characters, sets and locations, and the facts behind the movie’s fiction.

For the movie’s first hour or so, we get a true snoozer of a commentary, as the participants do little more than tell us how great the film and all involved are. Once the story embraces the pro football side of things more, though, Papale becomes more animated and invested in the discussion, and he manages to produce some good insights into his life and career.

Even with those improvements, this never quite becomes a great commentary. Still, I like the parts where Papale relates his memories of life as an Eagle, so if you can hold up through the dull spots, some payoff arrives.

Two featurettes follow. Recreating “The Vet” goes for seven minutes, 28 seconds and includes notes from Ciardi, Core, effects supervisor Craig Barron, effects producer Chris Anderson, and inflatables supervisor Paul Foyder.

We learn how the production “rebuilt” the long-razed Veterans Stadium and bring the football scenes to life. Though short, this becomes an informative overview.

Becoming Invincible lasts 25 minutes, 40 seconds and features Papale, Ciardi, Gray, Core, Eagles Encyclopedia author Ray Didinger, former Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil, Eagles radio broadcaster Merrill Reese, former players Ron Jaworski and Dennis Franks, former Eagles GM Jim Murray, broadcaster Vai Sikahema, journalist Bill Lyon, executive producer Victor Constantino, daughter Gabriella Papale, and actors Mark Wahlberg and Greg Kinnear.

“Becoming” covers the facts behind the movie’s fiction as well as the tale’s path to the screen. We already get some of this in the commentaries, but “Becoming” still turns into a good summary, especially because we get to see a fair amount of vintage footage.

As much as I like the core story behind Invincible, the movie itself lacks much zest. While it tells the tale in a fairly respectable manner, it fails to deliver a rousing experience. The Blu-ray brings us pretty good picture and audio along with a moderately informative set of supplements. Invincible winds up as a mediocre underdog movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.3333 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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