Zac Vierra – Co-Editor-in-Chief
Most Americans know the story of how Jackie Robinson integrated Major League Baseball. Most baseball fans know that Robinson was an extraordinary player. But Robinson’s story was about much more than baseball. It was about a change in this country toward equality. This story is beautifully shown in the movie “42,” which stars Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford.
The movie starts with Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey (Ford) searching for the “right” African-American to sign to his team to break the color barrier. Robinson (Boseman) is chosen and invited to spring training with the Dodgers and eventually makes the Dodgers minor league team, the Montreal Royals.
The movie chronicles Robinson’s 1946 season with the Royals and then the 1947 season in which Robinson makes the Dodgers after changing positions to first base.
“42” focuses on the racism that Robinson had to endure by spectators, opposing teams, and teammates. It also chronicles the relationship between Rickey and Robinson as Rickey proved to be a mentor for Robinson and a spokesman for equality in baseball.
One of the most impressive aspects of the film is its ability to bring the viewer back to the mid 1940’s. The impressive special effects help perfectly recreate old ballparks such as Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds and really make you feel as if you are back in those now extinct ballyards.
The movie also does a great job of showing a country that is much different than it is today. In one scene Philadelphia Phillies manager Ben Chapman (played by Alan Tudyk) heckles Robinson with about every racial slur imaginable. It is a powerful scene that reminds you of the scarred past that we once had in America.
As deep as the movie is, there are also many humorous scenes including a hilarious bit in which one of Robinson’s teammates tries to get him to shower with the entire team.
The baseball scenes are quite authentic and are not exaggerated. The movie does not constantly show Robinson hitting home runs which makes it feel much more genuine and real.
In one scene Robinson dances off third base causing the opposing pitcher to commit a balk, a rare play in baseball and one that is even rarer in baseball films.
“42” will appeal to baseball fans, both casual and die hard, but also to people interested in an important aspect of the history of the United States of America. “42” is must see for all Americas to be reminded of the troubled past we once had and to learn the story of Robinson, a hero who not only changed the game of baseball but helped change the country as a whole.