Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Cast: Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney
Release Date: February 8, 2022
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Armed with a clear vision and a brazen 78-page plan, Richard Williams (Will Smith) is determined to write his daughters, Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton), into history. Training on Compton, California’s abandoned tennis courts – rain or shine – the girls are shaped by their father’s unyielding commitment and their mother’s (Aunjanue Ellis) balanced perspective and keen intuition, defying the seemingly insurmountable odds and prevailing expectations laid before them.
Based on the true story that will inspire the world, “King Richard” follows the uplifting journey of a family whose unwavering resolve and unconditional belief ultimately delivers two of the world’s greatest sports legends.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
Based on the touching true story, ‘King Richard’ follows Richard Williams (Smith), father of future tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams and chronicles his unwavering dedication to a 78 page plan for the two girls he wrote out and has every intention of sticking to. Following the man and his family from the days of dangerous practices in Compton to their quest to find a coach willing to step in free of charge and train them, and accompanying them through good and bad as he pushes against all odds to make his daughters two of the greatest tennis players to ever step on the court.
Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (Joe Bell, Monsters and Men) from a screenplay by Zach Baylin (the upcoming ‘Creed III’), Green does a spectacular job at the helm of ‘King Richard’ guiding along this moving true tale with passion and care. The film also benefits a great deal from the well selected cast which includes Will Smith (Bad Boys for Life), Aunjanue Ellis (TV’s Lovecraft Country), Saniyya Sidney (Hidden Figures), Demi Singleton (TV’s Godfather of Harlem), Tony Goldwyn (TV’s Scandal), Jon Bernthal (Ford v Ferrari) and more, with nearly all delivering quite solid performances in each of their respective roles, especially Smith who is truly outstanding as Richard and repeatedly steals the show throughout.
‘King Richard’ is a powerful and richly rewarding look at the true story of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams and their journey to greatness carefully orchestrated by their father and his written plan for their success and stardom. An inspirational tale of one man’s dedication and the time and relentless approach he dedicated to accomplish something for his daughters that most considered to be ridiculous or laughably unattainable, yet never did the doubt and negative input ever result in him wavering from the plan he spent years fighting to make a reality. The true tale is beautifully guided along by director Reinaldo Marcus Green and his capable work at the helm is only immensely complemented by the stellar performances in front of the camera, led by Will Smith who is nothing short of phenomenal as Richard, offering one of the best performances of his career and faithfully capturing everything from the real Richard’s dialect down to his mannerisms. I would strongly urge everyone to try and find the time to give ‘King Richard’ a chance whenever possible. It’s a truly beautiful and moving piece of cinema that’s almost guaranteed to touch your heart and features Will Smith at the absolute top of his game, earning him a well-deserved Oscar nomination for the performance. Whether you’re already interested in this one or not sure it’s up your alley, you might just be pleasantly surprised at how thoroughly enjoyable and moving it actually is.
Overall, ‘King Richard’ is a beautiful true story layered with hope, struggle and an unwavering dedication to never give up on dreams, showcasing the early days of the famous tennis superstars, the Williams sisters and the almost surprising tale of the lengths their father went to ensure that his plan for them become a reality. Backed up by a powerhouse performance from Will Smith who is absolutely astounding in his portrayal of Richard, ‘King Richard’ really is something quite special that I wouldn’t suggest overlooking. I can’t possibly recommend ‘King Richard’ strongly enough. It’s a marvelous adaptation of the true story that hits all the right marks while touching your heart and spirit throughout. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of this moving film it should be well worth your time and the price of a rental. At the absolute least it’s definitely worth checking out when it returns to HBO Max in the not too distant future.
The Blu-ray release of ‘King Richard’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and delivers a clean, sharp, colorful and nicely detailed presentation from start to finish, with no unexpected issues arising along the way. It holds up impressively even during the various darker lit and heavily populated sequences throughout and never allows anything that’s occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or problematic. Overall, this is a quite wonderful high definition video presentation that should more than please fans of the film and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack offers a sharp, crisp and well balanced audio presentation throughout. While it may not be extremely active in the surround department due to the film’s dialogue heavy nature it does utilize all seven available channels in order to send music, along with background dialogue, crowd chatter and some tennis related effects throughout the various speakers at every logical opportunity and always keeping the dialogue and other audio elements clean and fully audible. Overall, this is a solid Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that more than delivers in every way required of it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘King Richard’ includes a few extras that fans of the film should enjoy. Included on the release are a couple ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 3 minutes in length altogether), along with a few Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of bringing the true story to life, featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are ‘Following the Plan: The Making of King Richard’ (running approximately 9 minutes), ‘Becoming King Richard’ (approximately 6 minutes) and ‘Champions on Screen’ (6 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
‘King Richard’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
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