Beautifully shot and filled with exciting horse racing moments, Secretariat is Disney doing what Disney does best: making feel good movies. While the horse’s journey is a significant part of the overall film, the movie also focuses on the strong-willed woman who helped make Secretariat into the miraculous champion he would become.
Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) was a woman entering a male dominated domain in the late 60s, early 70s. Her gutsy can-do attitude and her ability to play with the boys helped her achieve her goals despite her family – and even her own husband – going against her wishes.
Lane portrays Chenery as a gutsy gal who never takes no for an answer and even in her weakest moments comes across as a woman who will do whatever it takes to make things happen her way.
Along for the ride is a very entertaining and reliably quirky John Malkovich as Chenery’s horse trainer Lucien Laurin. His suits and hats alone make him stand out, but his performance is also worth watching.
Secretariat’s on-screen moments are exciting and enjoyable. The races are exciting and definitely the highlight of the film. I say this because there are times with the human story lags a bit and can become a bit tedious and drawn out. But when the stakes are up and the race gates swing open, that’s when Secretariat gets its burst of much-needed energy.
The Blu-ray version of the film includes the following special features:
Heart of a Champion
This is a pretty good behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, but also delivers insight into the real-life story.
Choreographing the Races
Like a car chase in an action movie, the races had to be coordinated and mapped out in great detail. This one’s interesting due to the variety of camera techniques they used to make it feel like you’re up close and personal during the races.
A Director’s Inspiration: A Conversation with the Real Penny Chenery
See and hear from the real-life Chenery.
Secretariat Multi-Angle Simulation
This simulation has mini-featurettes, then allows you to take on the role of different people involved with horse racing. You can be a jockey and see what it’s like to ride a horse during and race, and several other roles as well.
Music Video: A.J. Michalka – “It’s Who You Are”
Audio Commentary By Director Randall Wallace
If you enjoy inspirational and uplifting films that are safe for the whole family, I recommend Secretariat. It’s definitely a movie that will make you stand up and cheer.
Disney’s Secretariat is available Tuesday, January 28, 2011 on DVD and Blu-ray!