Champions (2023) (Collector’s Edition) [Blu-Ray]
Director: Bobby Farrelly
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Kaitlin Olson, Ernie Hudson
Release Date: May 2, 2023
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Woody Harrelson stars in the hilarious and heartwarming story of a former minor-league basketball coach who, after a series of missteps, is ordered by the court to manage a team of players with intellectual disabilities. He soon realizes that despite his doubts, together, this team can go further than they ever imagined.
Please Note: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Champions’ joins a struggling minor-league basketball coach who after causing a scene that leaves him fired from his job and is subsequently arrested for a DUI is ordered by the court to serve 90 days of community service coaching a team of players with intellectual disabilities. Initially intent to simply get his time done and never look back, he soon begins to develop a bond with the players and after a little bit of focus and some teamwork discovers that not only do they have some actual talent, but they have the potential to be real champions with a little guidance.
Directed by Bobby Farrelly (co-director of Kingpin, There’s Something About Mary) who does a nice job at the helm of ‘Champions’ smoothly guiding along this touching and humorous story. Based on the film “Campeones” by Javier Fesser; written by David Marqués and Javier Fesser, from a story by David Marqués and a screenplay by Mark Rizzo (TV’s Green Eggs and Ham). The film’s cast includes Woody Harrelson (Zombieland), Kaitlin Olson (TV’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Ernie Hudson (TV’s Quantum Leap 2022), Cheech Marin (The War with Grandpa), Matt Cook (The Greatest Beer Run Ever) and more with the majority each offering capable and fitting performances in their respective roles.
‘Champions’ is a beautiful, touching and funny good time that will keep you glued to the screen throughout while warming your heart and eliciting laughs every step of the way. It may not offer anything groundbreaking in its story, general approach or style, but it fully embraces its kindhearted nature with countless moving moments that are almost certain to win over audiences. Perhaps most unusual is that the film’s balance of heart and kindness is accompanied by a surprisingly raunchy comedic style (it seems to be a rarity for a PG-13 comedy film these days and of this sort to be so focused on sexual humor and raunchy jokes) that feels at home with the Farrelly Brothers movies of previous decades, but even while it seems to somewhat clash with other elements at times, it works better than you’d expect for its majority. Carefully guided along by director Bobby Farrelly with a great cast led by Woody Harrelson to help propel it along and win you over with its charm and often silly nature, ‘Champions’ is definitely a winner in its own right and does a tremendous job of accomplishing what it sets out to, while leaving us feeling satisfied, touched and amused in the process.
Overall, ‘Champions’ serves up a massively enjoyable, thoroughly heartwarming and consistently funny tale of one unlikely team’s journey from a struggling group of individuals each doing their own thing to a potential group of champions, and the ex-coach forced to guide them along who discovers they might just have a few things to teach him in addition. ‘Champions’ is definitely recommended, especially for anyone that’s a fan of Harrelson or just appreciates a hilarious and charming tale that will leave you feeling all warm and nice after. With plenty of rewarding and touching moments balanced with an almost surprising amount of relatively raunchy humor, ‘Champions’ has no trouble delivering a rewarding viewing experience from start to finish that is well worth checking out just for the heart and laughs alone. If you’re at all interested in this one already then it should easily prove well worth your time and the price of a rental to give a chance.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Champions’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks spectacular as a whole from start to finish and provides a clean, well detailed and sharp video presentation that holds up beautifully every step of the way and never suffers from any faults or unexpected issues. Nearly every element within looks great including character details and clothing, along with the locations and backgrounds utilized which all show great clarity and detail, which altogether should have both fans and first time viewers thoroughly pleased. Overall, this is a great high definition video presentation that never disappoints and looks satisfyingly sharp and clean throughout.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack offers a clean, sharp and occasionally quite immersive audio presentation throughout. It consistently utilizes all five available channels in order to send crowd chatter and nature content, along with bits of dialogue and music, plus plenty other tidbits throughout the various speakers at every fitting opportunity, while never resulting in any dialogue or other audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously becoming distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that does its job well and delivers nicely in every way required of it.
The Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of ‘Champions’ features a few entertaining extras. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Bobby Farrelly’, in addition to a collection of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 18 minutes in length altogether) and a few brief Behind the Scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are ‘Keeping It Friendly’ (running approximately 5 minutes), ‘Woody and the Team’ (approximately 3 minutes) and ‘Casting The Friends’ (approximately 5 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: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
‘Champions’ Arrives Home on Blu-ray & DVD May 2, 2023 & is Now Available on Digital from Focus Features & Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
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