Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"The Rocket" Review

Palm Pictures, the company which made the movie "The Rocket: The Legend of Rocket Richard" asked me if I might like to review a copy. After getting through the Christmas holiday and all the mess that goes along with that, I finally had a chance to view it.

Quite honestly, it's a great flick. The hockey scenes are well done, the plot moves along, and it tells a great story: How Richard went from being a machinist in a Montreal factory, who was turned away from the military due to various injuries suffered in Juniors, to the greatest goal-scorer of his era, and one of the greats to ever play the game.

Richard is a guy that I didn't know that much about, beyond the fact that he was a great, great player. I didn't realize that he had to deal with rampant prejudice because he was a French-Canadian, even one playing in Quebec. The theme of this picture is Richard's fight for acceptance, from the Canadiens, from the NHL, and even from his father-in-law. The film does a great job of presenting the bias against French-Canadians as well as Richard's decision to finally fight back.

One of the coolest features of the film, at least to me, was seeing the depiction of the old rinks (with the fencing above the boards rather than glass) as well as the old hockey sweaters and skates. So awesome!

The film was originally made in French and dubbed into English, but I never really noticed that the lips weren't matching with the speech. That speaks highly for the quality of the movie, because generally things like that irk me to no end.

It covers a breadth of the famous moments of his career: The "Richard Riot", hockey's version of Willis Reed, the time he spent the entire day moving and scored 5 goals that night, as well as the time he was forced to defend himself against threats and cheap shots and made Bob Dill of the Rangers pay. Dill was played by Sean Avery in a brilliant bit of casting if I've ever seen one. It also includes performances by Vincent Lecavlier, Pascal Dupuis, Ian Laperriere, Mike Ricci, and Stephanie Quintal.

This thing cleaned up at the Canadian Academy Awards, and it's easy to see why. It's a really well-done movie.

I have a hard time believing that any fan of the game wouldn't enjoy "The Rocket". You can purchase the DVD at the Palm Store for just over $18. It's well worth it. I'd also recommend heading over to the official site to play the very hard, but extremely fun, Flash game. You're trying to score goals, but there's a pesky defenseman in the way blocking shots. I didn't score many, but that defenseman isn't going to have a pleasant evening. I also believe you get a discount on purchasing the movie if you play the Flash game.

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